Ideas from Sweden
NATURE MANDALA (Google it for more ideas)
1. Pick a peaceful place out in nature to create your nature mandala. Then, you will need to gather some organic materials around you to use. Things like twigs, leaves, grasses, flowers, berries, pinecones, and acorns work really well.
2. To create your nature mandala, place a meaningful item in the center. Then start placing other items you gathered near the center first and continue moving outward from the center until you've created a circular design.
3. Continue making patterns until your items are used up and your nature mandala looks complete. And remember, you can create it however you like! You could use bright colors or muted earth tones. Make it big or small. Make it as simple or complex as you want.
Ideas from Wales
My Heart Map
This month we will make our heart maps. What is in your heart? What colour are they? How big is it in your heart? You can see blank pages on the right.
Where Do I Feel?
Use art to teach kids to name, identify, and recognize their emotions, and their associated bodily sensations. Ask your pupil to choose a color to represent each emotion, and then color in the part of the body where they experience that feeling. For example, children might color fists red to represent anger. Happiness might be a yellow glow.
Let your pupil be creative with this art therapy project, and you'll find that it's a good way to get kids talking about their feelings. We suggest spending a bit of extra time discussing specific bodily sensations that accompany emotions. For example, what does anger feel like in your fist? Does it hurt, or does it feel good? Improving this form of insight will help children become more aware of their emotions in the moments when it matters most.
Mask Project for Art Therapy
Masks are an excellent technique to have in your art therapy tool bag, especially for groups. This project encourages self-reflection, expression, and it will sometimes allow you to start difficult conversations. Even some of your most private pupils might be willing to share what they've created. Plus, it's fun.
We encourage you to be creative and use these masks as you see fit, but here's an example of how we have used them with success:
Provide each pupil with an art therapy mask (cut them out if you have the time). Let pupils choose between the male, female, or neutral version.
Have various art tools available. Pencils, pens, and crayons are a good start. Throw in some old magazines to allow collages for pupils who aren't as confident in their artistic ability.
Ask your pupils to use the front of the mask to depict how they believe others see them through the use of drawings, symbols, and words. On the back of the mask, ask them to depict how they see themselves, especially in ways that differ from the front of the mask. Or, get creative with this step and come up with some new way to use the masks.
Allow pupils to share and discuss their masks. Some pupils won't be comfortable sharing their artwork, but you can always ask them to talk about the content without actually showing their work.
Coat of Arms / Family Crest
Use the Coat of Arms / Family Crest printout as an artistic prompt. Ask your pupil to draw, paint, or use any other medium to represent something about themselves in each of the shield's quadrants. The banner beneath the shield can be filled with a name that summarizes their personal coat of arms.
We suggest creating a prompt for each quadrant that's tailored to the individual or group. For example, a pupil dealing with family issues can depict their role in the family, something that makes their family special, a family tradition, and something that they hope for in their family's future.
We've had great success with this art therapy project in substance abuse and anger management groups, especially with kids. However, adults can definitely enjoy this project too!