Art as a Tool of Expression
Art is an excellent way to for children to express themselves. It is easy and fun
and it is all around us. Sometimes children and adolescents struggle to express
their feelings. One way to help your child explore their feelings and communicate
them in a healthy way is to use art.
Art can be used to : express your feeling
relate to one another
relieve stress and anxiety
When children are too young to journal their feelings they can draw them instead.
Drawing makes anger go away. Draw, Draw, Draw.
How can using your hands relieve anger, tension or frustration in children? Try playing
with play dough the next time you are angry. Draw your favorite food or make a craft.
Create a space in your house for expression.
There are many ways that you can create a space for expression. First you’ll
will need to decide if this is a small area within your child’s room that is used
solely for that child or is it a larger area that is communal for all family members
to use. Both, have benefits. You may consider a bulletin board, chalkboard or
dry erase board. If you have an area that is near a shelf, that will give the child
extra space for their creativity by providing somewhere for found objects or three
dimensional creations. You can create chalkboard space with special paint
found at most DIY stores.
Create a journal using an old hardback book.
This is an excellent way for a child to express himself with or without restriction.
Each day can be a page.
Start by having your child decorate or embellish his/her book. Hardback books
work best and larger books give plenty of space for creativity. You can find books
at garage sales, library book sales or just books you have around the house.
Books that have text as well as pictures also work best.
Here are some examples of things that kids can do with the pages:
· To create a page about feelings; using old magazines, have your child cut
out the various parts of a face and assemble them “creating” a face that
describes their mood. EX: cut out two eyes (they don’t have to match),
a nose and a mouth. If the mood is sad and they can’t find a sad mouth
they can turn the mouth upside down. As the children get older they can
cut out pictures of people that already look sad. They are old enough to
differentiate between body language. They may also want to cut out a large
face and draw on the expression they are conveying.
· Decorate a page to celebrate a special occasion or holiday.
· Use some pages as scrapbooks to save special trinkets.
· Have a “Family Exchange Day”. Trade books amongst each other and
decorate a page dedicated to the person of the book you have.
· Create a Zentangle- it is time consuming and relaxing. http://www.zentangle.com
Encourage creativity! Use paint, scraps of material, found objects
recycled materials, yarn, chalk etc. The possibilities are endless!
For children that are of writing age, glue in lined or blank paper
for written expression.
Remember to alternate between “free” creative days and “prompted” creative days.
Giving a child a topic or subject matter to get them started is a helpful way of
guiding them through areas of expression. You may want to explore certain topics
each week such as feelings, behaviors or social issues. This is a great tool to open up
discussions with your children.