Ready, Set, Paint! Art Therapy at Home
Art therapy is one of those things that applies to all people at all ages and stages. It’s why we all tuned in to watch Bob Ross paint “happy little trees” on PBS. It’s why there is such a thing as a wine and art class where you can don an apron, grab a canvas (and a glass of red wine), and become an artist for the night. It’s why a room without pictures or paintings always feels a little cold.
Art brings life into people and places, and in the case of children with special needs, it encourages them to find a way to express their feelings in a new medium. It moves neurons along in different ways than speech and physical therapy. It’s also chance for socialization with parent, friends, or teachers. It can also be a way to cope with hard situations and it is yet one more link in the sensory processing chain, because art is messy. Being messy takes practices.
The best part about art therapy, however, is that it’s one of the easiest therapies to do at home with your child. You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to be willing to play with the materials at hand.
There are many forms your art could take:
- collages with cutting and pasting for fine motor skills;
- painting for emotion to pick the color that says happy/mad/sad/scared/excited
- puppet shows to work on speech because puppets provide a safe medium in which to practice new words and sounds
- sculpting in clay or Play Dough for sensory stimulus and for working those hand muscles
There are many more, of course, because whatever you throw together with the things you pick off the shelves in your local craft store can become art therapy. One of the favorites in our house involves paint and paper and that’s it. It works on hand-eye coordination and creativity. It also helps kids get comfortable with the feel of the paint.
(Continued on page 2)
Subscribe to our free email newsletter now to access our free magazine!