9 Preteen Mindful Arts Therapy Activities

9 Preteen Mindful Arts Therapy Activities

Welcome to the detailed guide to 9 engaging mindful arts therapy activities for preteens. Mindful arts therapy is a powerful tool that combines creativity and mindfulness to promote self-expression, emotional regulation, and overall well-being.

These activities are designed to help preteens explore their emotions, enhance self-awareness, and develop a deeper connection with themselves and others. Let’s dive in and discover the transformative potential of mindful arts therapy!

Activity 1: Mindful Drawing

Start by giving your preteens a blank sheet of paper and a set of markers or colored pencils. Allow them to choose the colors that resonate with them in the moment.

Encourage them to draw without any preconceived idea, letting their creative instincts guide them. Remind them that there are no right or wrong ways to draw.

As they draw, remind them to focus on their breathing and the sensations in their body. Encourage them to notice how their hand moves across the paper and the textures created by the different artistic tools.

Invite them to reflect on their drawing, asking questions such as “What emotions or thoughts arise as you observe your artwork?” or “How does your drawing make you feel?” This reflection can deepen their understanding of themselves and their artistic process.

Mindful drawing is a powerful activity that allows preteens to express themselves freely and tap into their inner world. Through this activity, they can cultivate a sense of presence and mindfulness while engaging in a creative process.

9 Preteen Mindful Arts Therapy Activities

Activity 2: Rhythm and Mindfulness

Gather various musical instruments or objects that can be used as improvised percussion instruments. These can include drums, shakers, bells, or even household items like pots and pans.

Guide your preteens in creating rhythmic patterns while being fully present in the moment. Encourage them to experiment with different sounds and explore the sensations created by each instrument.

As they play, invite them to listen to the sounds they create and how their body moves in response. Encourage them to notice the rhythm of their breath and the way their heartbeat synchronizes with the music.

After the activity, facilitate a discussion about their experience. Ask questions such as “How did playing the instruments make you feel?” or “Did you notice any changes in your body or mind during the activity?” This reflection can help them develop a deeper awareness of the mind-body connection.

Rhythm and mindfulness go hand in hand, as engaging with rhythm can help preteens connect with their bodies and the present moment. This activity allows them to explore their creativity and express themselves through the universal language of music.

Activity 3: Expressive Puppet Making

Provide materials such as socks, buttons, and colorful fabric for puppet making. Encourage preteens to choose materials that resonate with them and reflect their unique personalities.

Ask your preteens to create puppets that represent different emotions or aspects of themselves. Encourage them to let their imagination run wild and express their feelings through the puppets’ appearance and characteristics.

Once the puppets are complete, have them use the puppets to explore and express their feelings. They can engage in puppet dialogues, allowing the puppets to communicate their emotions and thoughts.

Afterward, facilitate a group discussion about their puppet experiences. Ask questions such as “What did you learn about yourself through the puppets?” or “How did it feel to express your emotions through the puppets?” This reflection can deepen their understanding of their own emotions and enhance their empathy towards others.

Puppet making is a creative and interactive way for preteens to explore their emotions and develop a sense of self-compassion. Through the puppets, they can externalize their inner world and gain a fresh perspective on their feelings.

Activity 4: Mindful Movement and Dance

Play calming music and guide your preteens through a series of gentle movements, emphasizing mindfulness and body awareness. Encourage them to move in a way that feels natural and comfortable for their bodies.

As they move, invite them to pay attention to the sensations of their body and the emotions that arise. Encourage them to notice the connection between their movements and their inner state.

After the guided movement, allow them to freely express themselves through dance. Create a safe and non-judgmental space where they can explore their unique movements and let go of self-consciousness.

Facilitate a group sharing session where preteens can discuss their experience. Ask questions such as “How did it feel to dance mindfully?” or “What emotions did you experience during the movement activity?” This reflection can deepen their understanding of the mind-body connection and the power of movement as a form of self-expression.

Mindful movement and dance provide preteens with an opportunity to connect with their bodies, release tension, and express themselves authentically. This activity promotes self-acceptance and self-expression, fostering a sense of freedom and joy.

Activity 5: Creating a Mindfulness Jar

Fill a clear jar with water, leaving some space at the top. The jar can symbolize the mind, and the water represents the thoughts and emotions that preteens experience.

Add glitter or small objects that represent the thoughts and emotions of your preteens. The glitter can symbolize the scattered nature of thoughts and emotions.

Secure the lid tightly and shake the jar gently, watching as the glitter settles. Encourage your preteens to observe the settling glitter as a metaphor for calming their minds and finding inner stillness.

Guide them to focus on their breath as they watch the glitter settle. Invite them to notice any changes in their thoughts and emotions as they observe the calming effect of the settled glitter.

The mindfulness jar is a visual representation of the mind’s ability to find stillness and clarity through the practice of mindfulness. This activity helps preteens understand the transient nature of thoughts and emotions and provides them with a tangible tool for self-soothing and grounding.

9 Preteen Mindful Arts Therapy Activities
9 Preteen Mindful Arts Therapy Activities

Activity 6: Sculpting Emotions

Provide your preteens with clay or playdough and ask them to sculpt an object that represents their current emotions. Encourage them to let their hands guide the sculpting process without overthinking or judging the outcome.

Encourage them to explore different textures and shapes as they sculpt. Remind them that the goal is not to create a perfect representation but to express their emotions authentically.

Once their sculpture is complete, have them describe their creation and the emotions it symbolizes. Invite them to reflect on the process of sculpting and how it allowed them to externalize and explore their emotions.

Facilitate a group discussion where preteens can share their sculptures and the emotions behind them. Ask questions such as “What did you learn about your emotions through sculpting?” or “How did it feel to express yourself through clay?” This reflection can deepen their emotional awareness and foster a sense of connection within the group.

Sculpting emotions provides preteens with a tangible and tactile way to explore and express their inner world. This activity encourages them to embrace their emotions and develop a greater understanding of their emotional landscape.

Activity 7: Mindful Collage Making

Give your preteens a variety of magazines, scissors, and glue. Encourage them to choose images and words that resonate with them and reflect their thoughts, aspirations, and interests.

Ask them to cut out the chosen elements and create a collage that represents their thoughts and aspirations. Encourage them to arrange the elements in a way that feels visually pleasing and meaningful to them.

Discuss their collages, encouraging them to reflect on the meaning behind each chosen element. Ask questions such as “What does this image represent to you?” or “How does this word relate to your aspirations?” This reflection can deepen their self-awareness and help them uncover hidden desires and motivations.

Invite them to share their collages with the group, allowing for a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives. This sharing session can foster a sense of community and provide preteens with a supportive environment for self-expression.

Mindful collage making is a creative and introspective activity that allows preteens to explore their inner world and visualize their aspirations. Through the process of selecting and arranging images, they can gain insights into their values, dreams, and desires.

Activity 8: Painting to Music

Provide preteens with paint, paintbrushes, and a canvas or a large sheet of paper. Encourage them to choose colors that resonate with their emotions or the mood they want to express.

Play calming or energetic music, depending on the desired mood. The music can serve as a source of inspiration and guide their brushstrokes and color choices.

Ask them to paint freely, allowing the music to guide their artistic expression. Encourage them to let go of expectations and immerse themselves in the process of painting.

After the painting session, invite them to reflect on their artwork. Ask questions such as “What emotions or thoughts arise as you observe your painting?” or “How does your painting make you feel?” This reflection can deepen their connection with their artwork and provide them with insights into their emotional state.

Painting to music is a sensory and immersive activity that allows preteens to express themselves through colors, shapes, and brushstrokes. This activity promotes emotional release, self-expression, and the exploration of one’s inner landscape.

Activity 9: Storytelling through Art

Encourage your preteens to create a sequence of drawings that tell a story. Provide them with art materials such as pencils, markers, or pastels to bring their story to life.

They can use different art materials to create textures, add depth, and convey emotions. Encourage them to experiment.

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Susan Day
Susan Day
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