Children and Teens can use this body tracing activity to learn how their thoughts and feelings are expressed in the body.
This activity is a great one for multiple ages. Kids as young as 6 years old can begin to identify what happens inside their bodies. Make sure to modify this activity to the appropriate developmental age you are working with.
Young Children: I usually have young children trace their bodies on a large piece of paper. This large size helps make is seem more “real” and usually hold their interest longer. I have young children start by simply labeling the whole picture with the names of all the body parts, in order to help them connect the picture with their actual body. Then we go through a second time, and encourage the child to identify what happens in each body part when they are “worried” (or “mad” or whatever they are working on). Other modifiers for children include making the body into a “road map” and having cars drive back and forth and bring messages from one part of the body to the other.
Older Children: For older children and teens, they usually do fine with a small body outline on a piece of paper. You can go through similar step to help them identify what occurs in different parts of the body, but you may want to include information about what happens in the body and in the brain biologically. You also may want to encourage teens to make up metaphors for what occurs in different parts of the body. This can give you some words and pictures to hold on to as you continue to work with the teenager in future sessions. You can also talk about what types of calming or coping strategies may work to change those messages in the body to create a new and different outcome.