Art Therapy & Children

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Even at a young age, art therapy can be beneficial. A large part of a child's development is being able to be creative and learn how to express themselves. Art therapy gives children the opportunity to do both in a safe environment. Some common art therapy goals for young children are sensory awareness and integration, problem-solving skills, identification and expression of feelings, and increased self-esteem.

Here are a few examples of how to these apply common goals to art therapy interventions.

  • Sensory awareness and integration – Art therapy can be helpful for children with sensory issues. One way to work with children on this is to create a sensory collage. By using different types of fabrics, textures, colors, and paper to create a collage, a child can be introduced to sensory objects in a safe environment.
  • Problem solving skills - Developing problem solving skills for young children can increase their ability to come up solutions and positive behavior choices. One way to use art therapy for problem solving is to present a child with the problem and have them draw solutions to the problem. This gives them a visual representation of what they can do and may give them a better understanding of how to solve problems in the future.
  • Exploring feelings - Sometimes young children have a difficult time communicating their feelings. One art therapy intervention could be to draw all their different feelings and then have a discussion on when they experience each feeling. This may help children to externalize their feelings and understand what triggers their feelings.
  • Increased self-esteem – At a very young age, children start to develop self-esteem. Learning a new skill can help to increase their self-esteem and feel more confident. An art therapy intervention could be to teach them a new art skill, like introducing them to a new art medium. While this may seem intimidating at first for the child, the child’s ability to develop a new skill will help their self-identity and self-esteem.

Children are never too young to be creative. It is important that their creativity is fostered in a way that is beneficial to them. Art therapy is just one way that children can be creative while gaining the skills that can help them in their development.

Learn more with these articles about art therapy and children:

Terminally Ill Child Creates Art, Inspires Others

Leo Haines

Photo via File another story under our “Inspiring Others to Create” awards (coming soon). This time it’s about a 5 year-old boy who’s hanging on to life with a thread. Leo Haines was born prematurely and the doctors didn’t think he would survive 9 times in the last 5 years. However, creating art and […]

Art Therapy Helps Teenagers, Children, Juveniles in Louisiana

transformation art therapy

Four of every five children and teens that end up in a juvenile justice system have one, or a combination, of the following characteristics: 1. The child or teen is under the influence of alcohol or drugs while committing their crimes 2. The child or teen tests positive for drugs 3. The child or teen […]

Art Therapy Changes Lives of Abused Children

**The following press release was originally written by Cathy Malchiodi, ATR-BC, Professional Relations for American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Art Therapy Program Heals Hearts and Empowers Young Survivors Child abuse is widely recognized as a serious problem, not only because it results in long-term trauma reactions, but also because it involves an abuse of power […]

How Art Therapy for Children Can Help

Art therapy for children can provide kids with an easier way to express themselves since children are more naturally artistic and creative. A young child is likely to be more comfortable initially expressing him/herself with some crayons and markers, for example, than he/she is going to be at expressing emotions and feelings through words. A […]