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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.