Art relieves angst, especially open-ended creative immersion with engaging art materials. Life today can be noisy, distracting, challenging and sometimes upsetting. Even our children fall prey to stressful situations. Give your children a timeout for a soothing art experience.
A blank sketchpad with crayons, markers, pencils, paint or a nice mound of soft sculpting material can lead to a satisfying stress-busting experience. Remember not to judge your child’s creations and try not to limit or overly guide the way your children express themselves. Below are a few art starters you may want to try at home.
Squishy, satisfying sculpture
Remember the popularity of stress balls? The texture enabled us to squeeze out our tension. A take-off on that concept is providing your children with non-toxic modeling clay. A great way to get started is by having your children roll, squeeze and manipulate the squishy substance. With even a small amount of sculpting material, your
children can make any number of different creations. You may want to keep it completely open-ended, encouraging them to make something from their imagination. You could also suggest they sculpt a monster or a bug or a flower. If you have non-toxic paint or age-appropriate craft supplies (eyes, beads, glitter, chenille stems, and other decorative embellishments), you may want to make them available to extend the art experience. This kind of immersive art can really help de-stress your children!
Shape shifters collage
Help your child’s imagination take shape by offering a simple, creative activity that explores form. You and/or your child may want to pre-cut a number of shapes both large and small from plain or colored construction paper. For your younger child, you could emphasize basic shapes. Older children would probably enjoy a wide array of basic and advanced shapes. Start your child off with a large piece of plain art paper, which he/she can arrange vertically or horizontally. Initially,
suggest that your child play with the many shapes by overlapping them, stacking them or arranging them in an appealing structure. Perhaps your child might want to create a shapely robot or an intricate scene or an imaginative animal using shapes of all sizes. Offer other art tools, such as colored pencils, markers, glue stick and other embellishments to add to the creative process, and watch your child’s imagination take shape!
Symbols or badges can be revealing
An artful visit with the seven-year old daughter of one of our good friends gave me an “Ah ha” moment. She had dreamed up a club and designated each of us as members, and then she said we all needed a special badge. I encouraged her to create a symbol for each of us. She drew a horse for my husband; a tree to represent her mom, and she created a dove of peace for me, which she also made to symbolize herself. Obviously, this creative process invites lots of questions and can reveal interesting insights about how your child views her/himself, others and the world. You could suggest that your child create badges for family members and/or friends. All your child needs is some blank paper and a drawing utensil. Afterwards, you or your child could cut out the badges. The results might prove fascinating!