Making art can help kids (and grown-ups) express feelingscalm down, and feel happy. Even very young children experience big feelings like stress, fear, and anger, but they might not have the words to express themselves. Creating art can be a way to “talk” about their emotions without words. 

Drawing, painting, sculpting, weaving, and more require focus. Many parts of our bodies and minds need to work together to complete the task—and over time, that focus can help us be more mindful. Children may also get “lost” in their creative efforts and, as a result, feel calm and content. 

 

Encourage kids to make art regularly, even if for five minutes a day. Try these calming creative ideas for a place to start. 

  • Line Work. Repeated motions such as drawing lines or dots can be very soothing. Draw some simple shapes for children, then invite them to fill in each space with repeating lines or dots. 
  • Water Wonder. Have you ever watched a drop of food coloring “dance” when it’s dropped into a glass of water? It’s mesmerizing! We can enjoy the wonder and beauty of water with watercolor paints, too. Invite kids to “paint” on paper with water. Then dab a brush with watercolor paint a few times around the paper. Watch the paint ebb and flow through the water.
  • Co-create. Something special happens when we create art together. An energy of cooperation builds, and with it, feelings like togetherness, trust, and hope. Sit side by side in a quiet place to create art. You might work on a piece together, or on your own alongside one another.