Mandala Coloring

Children and Teens can exIMG_0399press themselves in various ways using this Mandala Coloring activity. Use it to teach boundaries, or tell a story, or simply as a way to manage anxiety and stress. 

1. Have child or teen (or adult, for that matter), color in a Mandala. I call them “Magic Circles” for younger kids. Let them know that you will give them plenty of time to color, and then you will ask them questions that they will need to use their imagination to answer afterwards.

2. Use your insight about the child and what they are working on to inform the questions that you ask. For some kids, it may be more appropriate not to ask questions. Here are some of the questions I like to ask:

  • What is your favorite part of the mandala?
  • What is your least favorite part?
  • If you could jump into the picture, what part would you jump into and what would it be like there?
  • Who would you invite to come with you?
  • Is there any part you wouldn’t want to visit? why? What would it be like there?
  • Can you tell me a story about you and your mandala?
  • What if the colors represented different feelings, what feelings would those be?
  • Who would you not want to invite into your mandala?
  • What was it like to color this mandala?
  • What was it like to tell me about your mandala?
  • Is this something you would like to do again? How did coloring help you with ___?
  • Did anything surprise you as you colored this, or answered questions?

 

 

Feelings Heart

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Children can use this simple art activity to express what is in their hearts. It helps to put a visual to feelings and can be an assessment tool to use over time. 

This activity is a great one for multiple ages. Kids as young as 5 years old can benefit from coloring in their heart. Some kids may need an example of how to fill in the colors. For older kids, allow them to choose their own feeling to fill in and with younger kids select just a few feelings to have them color.

Directions:

  1. Draw an outline of a heart, and a simple outline of a “key” to the side. For older children let them decide to draw the heart themselves if they like.
  2. Explain to the child, “This is an art activity to help us see what is going on inside of your heart. We are going to color the heart to show all of the different feelings inside. Each feeling will have it’s own color (or pattern for older kids). One by one, we are going to figure out how much of each color is in your heart today.”
  3. One of the rules I make, is that the child has to use all the different feelings in the heart, even if it is only “one drop.” This helps me know that they understood the activity, and helps bring up conversations about the feelings that may be harder for the child to talk about.
  4. After the child is done, it can be helpful to talk about it. I usually choose to take the child’s lead, and see what they want to discuss when it is done. At the beginning of therapy, if a child has made a heart with lots of sadness, anger or worry, I often will have them draw another heart to describe what they want their heart to look like. This can be a “goal setting” activity.

Credit: I did not create this activity entirely on my own as I have heard different variations of this activity at many trainings I have attended over the years. I have adapted the ideas for the kids I work with.