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Let’s Get Creative: Checking In With Kids Using Art Activities

Play for Peace + Kikori Check Ins, Part 4

As families adjust to a new work/life balance at home, children may find more time to fill during the day. Beyond screen time and outdoor play, art is a great and enriching way for kids to express themselves, and an effective communication tool for revealing their thoughts, interests, and feelings. Plus, fostering creativity can help your child develop mentally, socially, and emotionally. We can use this time at home to provide our little ones with space to be creative, as creativity is the freest form of self-expression. 

Christine Carter of UC Berkeley says, “Creativity helps us deal with change, problem solving, affects our social and emotional intelligence, enhances our understanding of math and science, and is a key component to health and happiness.” These creative experiences can help children to cope with their feelings, especially during this time. 

Here are some tips for encouraging and creating spaces for creativity:

  • Support your children with decision-making. Step away from the leading role and let them decide on their own creative processes.
  • Prepare for a mess! Set up a space inside or outside that can handle a mess. This time should be as unstructured as possible for your children, which may mean letting them go outside the lines a bit.  
  • Support the creative process. Keep this time/activity open ended—meaning don’t provide your children with an end goal. They might change their minds several times, so go along with it and let them experiment! There’s no one way or right answer when creating something.
  • Help explore your child’s creative process. “I see you used red. Why did you use that color?” “How did you feel while you were making it?” Ask questions to learn about the feelings behind their choices and keep your child thinking.
  • Let it be. Give your child the freedom to explore his or her thoughts. Resist the urge to provide critiques or adjustments, as this should be a time for your child to create on his or her own.

Using Art to Check-in With Your Child

Art is one of the best mediums for self-expression—kids love it, and it is a great way for families to spend quality time together. While the idea of a check-in remains the same, the medium can change! Ask your child, “How are you feeling? Use this [insert art material here] to create a representation of how you feel.” Here are some ideas for materials you can use:

  • Typical art mediums, such as paint, pastels, chalk, and clay
  • Household items can be reused for projects, such as rubber bands, toilet paper rolls, foil, cans, string, and plastic bottles.
  • A simple object, such as a pipe cleaner. You won’t believe the wonderful discussions that can arise out of a this kind of check-in!

*Cover photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash