“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”
The summer holidays have arrived! Six weeks stretch out before us and the pressure’s on to fill the days with fun activities that keep our children - and us, their carers - happy! But while any activity that keeps their attention for longer than 10 minutes and doesn’t involve screen time is considered the Holy Grail, have you thought about how you can boost your child's mental health through creativity this summer?
Although we still don’t know what the lasting effects of lockdown will be for children, you don’t need to be a psychiatrist to see they haven’t found it easy. With that in mind, it’s now more important than ever that we take some time to think about how we can nurture the mental health of our children.
We parents and carers may be thinking that now is a good time to reach for one of our Positive Planners to help us get through the next 6 weeks, but did you know that you can adapt many of the creative practices we use in our books for children and teens?
Curious? Well, read on and take a look at our go-to creative activities you can do with children this summer!
5 ways to boost a child’s mental health through creativity!
Ali created the Braintangle for our Positive Planner after being inspired by an art therapy technique. Did you see her IGTV on how to do it? It’s basically a brain drain to help untangle all your thoughts and feelings and we think it’s perfect for kids of any age!
Your young ones can create the tangle themselves and just colour in the spaces they make like this. If you’re working with older children, you can help them voice their emotions and fill the spaces with words. It’s a great stepping stone in being more open and understanding what’s going on in a child’s mind.
Who kept a diary as a teenager? I’m sure none of us realised we were helping our mental health at the time. The benefits of regular journaling are many and the explosion in journaling shouldn’t just be for us adults - our children could be doing it too!
If you want to dig into this a little deeper, take a look at our blog How to Journal with Children. Alternatively, you can try our free downloadable PDF My Positive Day - for Kids as a starting point. You’ll find it in our Resource Library here.
You’ll have seen Ali talking about her new allotment on her Instagram account this summer. It’s undoubtedly been a godsend for her, but gardening really benefits children too. Not only is it an ideal opportunity to talk to children about cycles in life and where we get our food from, it also has a very real positive effect on a child’s physical and mental health.
There are endless ways to be creative in the garden, from mudpies and fairy houses, to a personal plot to grow veg or flowers in. Of course, not everyone‘s lucky enough to have a garden, but that doesn’t have to stop you - why not get using those window sills and see if you can grow something from seed?
#4 Vision Boarding
You know we love vision boards - you’ve just got to look at our IG stories to see the great workshops we’ve held. Flipping through magazines and finding what inspires us is such a fun way of giving our hopes and dreams a physical form. It’s true that we all need motivation and encouragement sometimes to find what we want in life and so why should it be any different for children?
The key here is to keep things short and simple. Allow children to have fun ripping up magazines and add in paints and pens if you want. You can introduce question themes: What are my favourite things? What would my dream spaceship look like? What makes me happy? If you’re looking for ideas, you’ll find some good ones here.
#5 Mark Making
Encourage children to make their mark! Mark making is simply the creation of lines, patterns, textures and shapes using different, often unconventional, media. Do you remember doing this when you were little? Potato prints and finger painting must bring back some memories!
Get children to collect together objects they want to use and then let them loose with paints and paper. You can even take shoes and socks off! If you’re brave, why not get everyone involved on an empty wall at home?
This activity allows children to run wild with their imagination. Aside from the physical, brain and language development mark making supports, it also helps build a child's confidence and gives them the opportunity to communicate their feelings and emotions through a picture or even a story.
Now it's over to you!
So what do you think? These activities are all great not only as a way to boost your child's mental health through creativity, they're also a good way to introduce quality time with the children you care for - both individually or as a group. If you are doing them together, be gentle - guide but don’t be pushy - this is their work and their creation, so even when it’s just a splash of colour on a page, if your child believes it’s enough, know it’s enough.
Inspired to do more?
If all this has inspired you, then you’re going to just LOVE our Positive Doodle Diary for kids!
The Positive Doodle Diary is a mindful gratitude journal for children aged between 5 and 10 years old. It’s packed full of creative tools to empower them with confidence and resilience! We’re so excited about this book that we think it deserves its very own Instagram account - why not head over and check out what we're up to!
We’d love to see what your little (and big ones) are creating! Don’t forget to tag us in your pictures!
Much love, Finn + Ali xx
Cover image and pictures 1 & 4 from Unsplash