Stress, anger, sadness, and many similar emotions are part of a person’s life. Even a child faces these strong emotions. It’s human tendency to vent out feelings. Yelling, screaming and crying are ways for those emotions to come out but they are not healthy ways for a child. So how can our little ones express these overpowering feelings?
Around the world, many people use art as a form of expression to deal with stress and unhappiness or just to find some peace and calm. For some, art just adds meaning to life. They are able to express more through art than using words. This is known as art therapy. Even many famous artists have poured their feelings and emotions onto paper.
Art therapy is a specialized area of mental health that uses art materials and the creative process to explore emotions, reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem, and resolve other psychological conflicts. It helps people explore self-expression and find new ways to gain some personal insight and develop new coping skills. It can be used by children, adolescents as well as adults just to explore their emotions.
Curious about how art therapy can help your child?? Try out some of the interesting exercises below just to refresh them and nurse their mind, body and soul back to good health.
I worked with my 7-year old child on these art therapies just to pick her mind and also to have some different sort of art activities for her. Since they are all related to expressing feelings, I was curious yo know what she felt.
Draw your emotion
In this exercise, the focus is on what one is feeling and then to draw or paint it. Excited, emotional, happy, angry, sad, alone, whatever your child feels, let them express it in their own way. Don’t forget, there is no right or wrong way to draw these feelings. It will be their own expression.
Creating emotion color wheel
Emotion color wheel can help visualize group feelings. A circle is divided into a pie chart with 6 sections and each section represents a specific color which signifies an emotion. One is supposed to draw what they feel for each emotion. If your child is doing this exercise, talk to them about where in their life do they feel those emotions and how strongly.
Send out a balloon into the universe with a message
Get rid of a negative emotion or spread positivity. Ask a child to write or draw their emotion on paper and stick it on a balloon and set it free. One of the most engaging and fun activity that your child will enjoy.
Paint to music
This is a perfect way to let your creativity flow with response to music. Let the feelings flow and just relax. Provide your child with an easel or just stick a drawing paper on the wall. Provide some paints and brushes. Providing only their favorite colors also works well. Make a playlist starting off with some upbeat music. Pick songs with different tempos and mood and also add some instrumental music. Make sure not to interrupt your child and just sit back and observe.
There is nothing as soothing as Mandala. Many of you already know about it and are using this therapy into daily lives. You can easily find some books on mandala for kids on Amazon and introduce it to your child.
Draw a place where you feel safe
Every person has a safe place and so do kids. It can be their Mommy’s cozy lap or Daddy’s strong arms. Ask your child to find what their safe place is and draw, paint, sculpt or craft it.
Draw yourself as an animal
Every child loves animals or I can say at least one of them. If your child was an animal what would it be? Ask them to think about it and then draw it.
Give your child a mirror and crayons or paints to draw on their reflection on mirror. It is all about making them understand what unique elements make them. They can also redraw the same on paper. Mondrian once rightly said, “The purer the artist’s mirror is, the more true reality reflects in it”.
Draw yourself as a superhero
Now who doesn’t like a superhero. Kids have a favorite of their own. Ask them to draw themselves as superhero and what kind of power would they have? This exercise not only makes the child imagine themselves stronger but also that they can help others.
Collage your vision of a perfect day
What does a perfect day mean for you? What all will it have? Ask your child about it. Cutout some pictures from old books, use some stickers and stick them out together. Your child can even draw. The things that your child chooses can be related to each other or completely unrelated. This exercise is all about happiness.
These exercises are used by Art therapists for children as well as adults to help them explore their emotions and reduce stress and anxiety. These are not just interesting activities but is highly recommended form of therapy for mental wellbeing too.
Pablo Picasso once said “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”. Let’s make happiness and understanding emotions possible for our children with the beautiful therapy of Art expression.
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