Paint Your Feelings!
Happy Holidays Family!
The holiday season is a time to be joyous, but it also can be a very challenging time for some. With anything that is difficult, it is important to encourage your little to work through all colors of their emotional palette. Art can be a very powerful tool to aid your littles as they process through their emotions. Studies have proven that art therapy can improve a child's physical well-being and mental emotions, as well as reduce stress and lower anxiety and depression levels. It can also improve self-awareness, improve communication skills, boost self-esteem, improve problem-solving skills, allow your little to see things from a different perspective, and help your little to heal if they have experienced something trying or traumatic. There are many art therapy activities that can be done right in the comfort of your own home. I've compiled a list that I hope will allow you and your little to paint through feelings in a safe and creative way.
Working Through Emotions:
Draw or paint your emotions: Focus entirely on painting what you're feeling. Use specific colors that express certain feelings.
Line art: Drawing lines is very basic and simple but contains the most emotion. What is the difference in a straight line and a squiggly line? Or an unfinished line? Drawing lines can also help to work through anger.
Paint mountains and valleys: The mountain may represent a happy time and the valley a sad time. Encourage your little to get specific and put things that made them happy on the mountain and things that made them sad on the valley. Some days may be full of mountains and other days full of valleys, while other days may be balanced.
Draw Your Heart: Draw your feelings in a heart formation. What are things, people, and places your little loves?
Draw Yourself: If your little is having a hard time understanding what exactly it is that they are feeling, have them draw themself in that current moment. This may help you to also understand how to help them.
Finger paint: Get messy and enjoy this sensory art activity.
Draw with your eyes closed: Not being able to see is proven to intensify fluidity, intuition, touch, and sensitivity.
Draw something REALLY BIG: Getting your whole body involved can help release emotion and tension.
Use calming colors: If you're trying to relax, try using cool, warm colors like: soft blue, green, and lavender.
Draw outside: The French call it "en plein air". Being one with nature while you make art is sure to relax you.
Paint to music: I loved to do this a kid and it's a technique I find helpful even now. Music has the power to relax and calm the brain, as well as pump you up. Music is a powerful medium just like art. Classical music is the perfect mood for painting in my opinion...:).
Paint a rainbow: If you're feeling sad or wanting to cry, paint a rainbow. You can't help but smile when you see a rainbow...:)
Draw activities you do with Mommy, Daddy, or a Caretaker that make you happy
Make art with soft things: Make an abstract piece of art using only things that are soft and soothing to the touch like: silk, cotton balls, felt, feathers, etc.
Build a "home": Draw what home means to you. What is inside your home that makes you feel happy, safe and protected?
Invention: Use your imagination and draw your very own "happiness machine" that will always make you happy no matter what.
For Working On Self:
Draw yourself as a superhero: What are the things that make you weak or you struggle with? What are the things you help others with/save people from?
Draw yourself as an animal: Is your animal small or big? Do they make very little sound or a big loud sound? What does this say about how you're feeling?
Paint the different sides of your emotions
Make fingerprint art: Your fingerprints are unique just like you.
Draw yourself as a tree: On the roots, draw, color or write things that make you feel strong. Your little may be too small to understand this concept right now but help them draw, color or write things they want to change on the leaves. Maybe if they have had a day that has been full of difficulty (for you and them), they could draw how the day would have been better if they changed certain things.
Other Activities That May Be Helpful:
Feeling bored: Paint with different colors.
Feeling angry: Tear up paper and then collage all your rips and tears into a work of art.
Feeling stuck: Draw spirals. I'm sure everyone is feeling a little stuck after this year, drawing spirals may unstick something in your mind or being. Allowing you to realize that even if you're feeling stagnant, things are constantly in motion.
Use your body as a canvas: This might be a little messy, so maybe save this one for a contained environment, but drawing on yourself can feel very therapeutic.
Paint a window: This may allow you to see the outside world in a different way.
The beautiful thing about using art to work through emotions is that there are no rules! Encourage your little to color outside the lines, be messy, be bold, and that nothing they do is a mistake. Once your little feels safe on the paper, they will start to feel safe inside their own minds and bodies. Art Therapy is a beautiful way to show that everything, no matter how messy and trying, can be beautiful and artistic.
"I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn't say any other way -- things I had no words for."
~ Georgia O'Keeffe
Paint and Feel, Feel and Paint