Refugees, Zoombinis and Persona dolls


Syrian refugee crisis

The world is shocked by the plight of the refugees being forced to flee from their homeland in Syria to escape from horrors of war in their country.

When the refugees finally reach a place where they can settle they will be faced with adapting to a new country with new customs and conditions. And the people in the country receiving them will need to learn understanding and show compassion for the new arrivals.

Play therapy can be useful in helping children deal with Post Traumatic Stress and adapting to new conditions and can also be used as an introduction to help children understand a little of what the refugees they will meet have experienced.

The book War, Conflict and Play by Tina Hyder
McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 1 Oct 2004
contains a section about the use of Persona Dolls in education and play therapy.
An excerpt can be read at
About the Author
Tina Hyder has worked with young children and their families in London for many years. She has written widely on a range of equality and children’s rights issues. Formerly a lecturer in early childhood studies, she is currently Diversity Adviser for Save the Children,UK.

Some descriptions of the use of Persona dolls with refugees can be found

Persona doll training in practice

Case studies

Zoombinis is a classic computer game which has been updated and can now be played on iPad, Android and Kindle Fire tablets as well.
The Zoombinis are small blue creatures, each with distinct personalities and appearances. They are fleeing from their homeland to escape from the evil Bloats, who have taken over their land.
Players take on the role of guide and help the Zoombinis reach the safety of Zoombiniville.
Throughout the Zoombinis’ journey, the player has to solve logic puzzles involving deductive reasoning, pattern recognition, hypothesis testing, etc. to help the Zoombinis overcome many challenges to get to their new home.
A PDF file about educational materials to accompany the game can be found at

I can see the game also being valuable as a teaching tool for discussing what it means to be a refugee.

This is a post for Lisa Rivero’s challenge to write 30 blog posts for the month of September. To read all about her challenge see


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