Children's Art Week is run by Engage - the National Association for Gallery Education. The programme runs until 18th July and celebrates the many benefits that art provides.
At Kidscape, we speak to many children and families who say that art and other creative outlets have really supported their well-being during a bullying situation. In our ZAP Parent Workshops, we encourage families to think about extra-curricular activities and interests that may offer a boost to their child’s self-esteem.
Engaging in a creative activity can be a wonderful way of relaxing, quietening the mind and finding a state of ‘flow’. Some studies have shown that creating art can reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels. When undertaken collaboratively it can also be an opportunity for fun and connection - a shared experience which all ages can enjoy.
Making art can also be a great outlet for young people who may struggle to express their feelings, ideas, and experiences in other ways.
"If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." - Edward Hopper
For us as parents and carers, it can be helpful to remember that artistic talent is not important and making mistakes should be embraced (Beautiful Oops! (bookshop.org) is a wonderful children’s book for exploring this further). It can be quite freeing to let go of any pressure to create the perfect product and instead enjoy the process. ‘Process art’ is a term used to describe the enjoyment and discovery of the creative process rather than a focus on the end result.
Activities for fun and connection
- Draw (a house, a face etc) with your eyes closed.
- Play a roll-a-face or roll-a-landscape game, see Drawing Games for Kids : Roll the Dice Drawing Game - How to Draw Step by Step Drawing Tutorials (drawinghowtodraw.com).
Activities for younger children/those who don’t like too much mess!
- Paint with water – outside on the pavement or the fence.
- Make a collage inside with loose parts or outside with natural materials.
Activities to encourage the expression of feelings
- Create a collage of your perfect day.
- If you had a superpower, what would it be? Draw it.
- Make a painting of what different emotions might look like.
Stay Strong! Mindful Kids: An Activity Book for Young People Who Are Experiencing Bullying (bookshop.org) has creative activities to support young people who are experiencing bullying.
Engage, or the National Association for Gallery Education, was founded as a way to bring artists and communities together so that everyone is able to access and benefit from the arts. Children's Art Week 2021 is run by Engage and also supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Wales.