10 Art Therapies To Boost Mental Health In Kids

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.

Image courtesy Google

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

A happy emotion expressed by a child

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
Image courtesy Google
Emotions understood and expressed in the color wheel by a child

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

Image courtesy Hybrid on Unsplash

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

Image courtesy Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

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.

Mandala art

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

Safe place for a child

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

“What animal would you be” imagination by a child

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.

Mirror self-portrait

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

Superhero imagination of a child

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

Image courtesy Pure Julia on Unsplash

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.

This post is part of Blogchatter‘s campaign CauseAChatter. 

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla

Blogchatter A2Z · Get Crafty

W For Wayne Thiebaud’ Art – Get Crafty #BlogchatterA2Z

Wayne Thiebaud is an American painter popularly known for his foodart. Cakes, pies, icecream cones, doughnuts and all that you could find in diners and cafeterias in 1960s have all been painted excellently by him.

Wayne Thiebaud.
Image courtesy Google.

I’m sure every child who will work on his art will love him. Me and Eira got a craving when we went through all his paintings.

Wayne Thiebaud’s painting.
Image courtesy Google.
Wayne Thiebaud’s painting.
Image courtesy Google.

He used heavy color pigments for the subjects of his paintings and always had shadows included in his work.

Wayne Thiebaud’s painting.
Image courtesy Google.

There were so many to chose from but from the point of view of a 7-year old trying to work inspired from him, Eira chose the “Lemon cake” painting.

Lemon Cake by Wayne Thiebaud.
Image courtesy Google.

Drawing paper
Oil pastels
Pencil and eraser
Tissues or q-tips for blending

Let’s get started
The best way to work on inspired art is to leave the child with the picture of it and let them recreate it on their own. Let them recognise the colors, if the colors are double tone that means they have used two colors and blended them. Maybe the child will want to change one of the colors and use their own which is ok as they are running their own imagination. Working on oil pastels gives a good color of the picture as well as helps in blending.

Lemon cake by Eira inspired by Wayne Thiebaud. This image belongs to and reuse is strictly prohibited.

Eira did change some colors as you can see and still her work turned out wonderful. The best part is that she enjoyed working on it.

Hope your child will enjoy getting inspired from Wayne Thiebaud as well.

This post is part of Blogchatter‘s challenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Blogchatter A2Z · Get Crafty

V For Van Gogh’s Art – Get Crafty #BlogchatterA2Z

Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch painter was one of the most influential personality when it came to Western art. His work contributed to the foundation of modern art. He had created around 2100 artworks within a decade. Van Gogh loved drawing since he was a child who was quiet and thoughtful.

Vincent Van Gogh.
Image courtesy Google

Van Gogh’s art is now being introduced to children and they love “Sunflowers” and “The Starry Night” specifically. Today we are going to share Eira’s attempt for Sunflowers.

Sunflowers by Van Gogh.
Image courtesy Google.

In supplies, all you need it paper for drawing, oil pastels and a pencil for a rough sketch.

Let’s get started

Help your child to draw the sketch if needed. This is just for helping the child to make sure of the placement of each object. Now place the Van Gogh Art in front of them and let them take it from there. Oil pastels have a great intensity and that makes the art so lively.

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers by Eira.
This image belongs to and reuse is strictly prohibited.

Yellow Ochre will work a great way for the sunflowers. While emrald green can be used for leaves and red can help the flowers pop. Yellow Ochre is also used for the table and a light shade of blue has been used in the background.

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers by Eira.
This image belongs to and reuse is strictly prohibited.

Eira enjoyed making this artwork and learning more about Van Gogh. We plan to try Starry night sometime soon.

Let your child also explore the Van Gogh within them with this artwork.

This post is part of Blogchatter‘s challenge #BlogchatterA2Z