Art Therapy Activities PDF (5)

This blog mentions some of the best art therapy activities PDF.

All of these art therapy activities mentioned in this blog are very helpful and can also be used as a therapeutic intervention.

Before we move on to art therapy activities, let’s have an overview of art therapy.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a combination of arts and psychotherapy.

It is a therapeutic practice that uses the creative process and artistic techniques to help an individual enhance his self-awareness, identify his emotions, and confront his unresolved problems or traumas. 

Art therapy is also helpful for children in developing social skills and increasing self-confidence.

It utilizes the principles of positive psychology to help individuals manage their emotions effectively and confront the challenges of life to attain overall well being.

According to the American Art Therapy Association (2013):

Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.

Practicing art therapy does not require prior experience in the field of arts.

Art therapy can be applied to any individual either an artist or non-professionals.

There are no right or wrong answers in art therapy. Art therapy is a way of exploring and evaluating oneself.

It allows individuals to find out more about themselves without being judgmental.

Art Therapy Activities

Art therapy activities can be practice for increasing awareness about self, identifying emotions, enhancing problem-solving skills, and so forth.

The following are some of the most effective art therapy activities that are helpful in various fields of life.

Keep reading the blog to discover amazing art therapy activities.

1. Art Therapy Postcard Activity

Postcard activity is a very interesting and engaging activity that helps individuals in the process of self-discovery.

It gives an opportunity for individuals to acknowledge what they would say to other people in times when they do not have to face them. 

This activity can be performed in individual or group sessions. For this activity, you are supposed to print the postcard or create your own postcard by having an idea from the template.

One side of the postcard is kept blank for drawing while the other side contains lines. All you have to do is to recall past unpleasant event and reflect on that situation.

Close analyze the event, your thoughts and feelings on the event, and the leading behavior.

You are supposed to use the blank side of the postcard to reflect your feelings in that situation in the form of drawing, while on the line page you are supposed to write something about that event if you want to. 

Then the practitioners or the therapist will study the postcard, identify the conflicts being faced by the individual, and work with him on resolving these conflicts.

The postcard template can be downloaded in the form of a PDF from the website.

Click here to access the site for this activity.

2. Unmasked – Expressive Art Therapy Directive

Unmasked- expressive arts therapy directive is specifically designed for individuals suffering from eating disorders or body image conflicts.

Such people often hide their true feelings and thoughts from others behind a mask to prevent others from peering into their sufferings. 

This activity directs individuals to create a mask for themselves. This mask making activity can be done in individual sessions or group sessions.

This mask making activity helps individuals to identify their suppressed feelings, thoughts, and emotions.

It allows them to find out effective coping strategies for dealing with their issues.

It helps individuals to face their fears of what will happen if others come to know about their body image concerns and eating problems. 

For this activity, you need to have some mask templates. You can either buy from the market or download them online.

Other things you need for this activity include color pens, feathers, beads, or other decorative material, glitter and sequins, Glue, and Scissors. 

The practitioner or the therapist guides individuals about the mask individuals where to hide their true selves from others.

The individuals are supposed to think of the situations or triggers when they feel a need to wear this mask.

They ask to make this mask in its real form.

Next, the individuals are asked to close their eyes and think mindfully about what would be the best mask they could wear, the mask that reflects their true selves.

Then the individuals are asked to make this ‘best face’ mask. 

Once this activity is completed, the individuals can role-play their ideas and mention the issues they face while wearing each kind of mask.

To know more about this activity, click here.

Mask project for art therapy another similar activity.

You can download the mask templates from here.

This activity also follows the same procedure.

3.  Create a Family Sculpture

Create a family sculpture activity is a very interesting and engaging activity that helps individuals explore their emotions.

The things which are required for this activity include clay, some fabric, and other decorative things.

In this activity, the individuals are directed to use the clay to make their family members; mother, father, siblings, and other people that are a part of their family such as grandparents.

The clay sculptures made by individuals help in exploring family dynamics, emotional dynamics, and roles of individuals in their families.

4. Color in a Design 

Colour in a design is a very effective activity based on art therapy. The therapy is good for practicing relaxation.

The individuals are asked to take a sketch pad and some colors or paints.

Then there ask to draw paint anything that comes into their mind or they wish to draw or get a mandala to fill it with colors.

Drawing and painting randomly can be a very effective tool for relaxing mind.

5. Collage your vision of a Perfect Day 

Collage your vision of a perfect day is another interesting activity that helps individuals identify what makes them happy, and allows them to reflect their vision of happiness in the form of a collage.

This activity is a very simple one.

All you have to do is to brainstorm what can make your day a perfect one and make a collage out of it. 

6. Draw yourself as a Superhero 

Draw yourself as a superhero activity allows individuals to reflect their opinions, thoughts, and feelings about a superhero in the form of a drawing.

Many people like superhero stories.

People resonate with the themes in the stories, with the dilemmas and problems that superheroes face, and they aspire to their noble impulses and heroic acts.

7. Gratitude Jar Activity

Gratitude jar activity is a very interesting activity that gives various opportunities for individuals to practice gratitude.

For this activity, you need to take an empty jar and some paper strips.

All you have to do is to write down three good things that happened to you, on a paper strip given in the worksheet, fold the strip and put it into the gratitude jar. 

This gratitude activity gives plenty of reasons for individuals to be thankful for.

It helps an individual to realize that he has got a number of reasons to be thankful for.

The gratitude activity can be accessed from here. You can also download it in the form of a PDF for your convenience.

The first page of the gratitude jar activity mentions the steps which you need to follow for doing this activity while the next three pages provide you with statements that you need to cut out, fill and put in the gratitude jar on a daily basis. 

8. Mask Project for Art Therapy

Mask Project for art therapy is a very interesting activity based on art therapy.

For this activity, you need to take an art therapy mask and some colors, paints, or other art tools.

Use some old magazines for making a collage. Now what have to do in this activity is to reflect on the one side of the mask that you think other people think about you, and on the backside reflect yourself as you think you are.

After this, the clients are supposed to share and discuss their masks.

This activity is very helpful for individuals and determining their true selves.

The activity gives an opportunity for individuals to reflect their selves and express them truly.

You can access this worksheet from here.

9. Coat of Arms / Family Crest

This is a very interesting activity that allows individuals to draw, paint, or sketch, some of their qualities in the four quadrants of the shield.

Then they asked to write something about themselves in the banner below the shield.

This activity has proven to be very effective in dealing with substance abuse and anger management.

This interesting activity is found to be very effective for teens but adults can also enjoy this activity.

You can download this worksheet from here.

10. Picture Frame Art Project

The picture frame art project is another interesting activity based on art therapy.

This activity helps individuals in developing a positive self-image, identifying needs, and developing goals, improving insight. 

For this activity, the individuals are directed to portray an image of themselves showing how they wish to be in their future lives.

Then they have to make another image which reflects how other people see them, according to the individuals.

After this, they ask to draw an image of their dream life and another 3 pictures that represent their present, past, and future.

The template for this activity can be downloaded from here.

Art Therapy Activities at Home

Art therapy activities at home can be very simple and include just the bare essentials like paint and paper, or they can be elaborate and make use of the various things found around the house as well, like balloons or socks.

Here are some great Art therapy activities to do at home, depending on what your condition is at the moment.

You can paint to music by making your creativity come out in paint through response to music, which can be any kind, and is completely up to you to choose.

If you are feeling particularly emotional you can also make a scribble drawing, and this is a commonly used art therapy activity at home for when you are not feeling that great.

You can also Finger paint, when you feel too overwhelmed, and this art therapy activity can easily be done at home in your own comfortable space.

You can also Make a mandala to help you relax, and if you aren’t that great with drawing on paper or with art supplies, you can try this art therapy activity at home through a simple website called JustMandala, which is free and can be used on touch devices or other kinds as well.

If emotions are getting the better of you can also Draw something huge, and then something very small and intricate, because this art therapy activity can be done at home and help you feel like you are getting your body involved and moving around can help release stress as you’re drawing.

Another great art therapy at home is making line art, which is considered to be the simplest and most basic aspects of art, but it can also contain a lot of emotion. You can find examples of this at home Art Therapy activity here.

If you are not great at drawing or painting, you can also try art therapy activities at home that involve using devices, like a camera, with which you can take photographs of things you think are beautiful around the house and collect them all in a collage, which you can use as a wallpaper or even as a wall hanging, if you decide to get it printed.

Art Therapy Activities For Autism

Art therapy activities for Autism can help with increasing the social interaction of the child and also their abilities of communication and expression.

One might also find that art therapies for autism may help in the following ways:

  • They allow for better sensory integration while improving coping skills
  • They can catalyze development while building visual/spatial skills
  • They can lead to better emotional and sensory regulation, which has a positive impact on behavior
  • They can enhance communication through creative expression
  • They can improve imagination and provide greater abstract thinking
  • They can enable the child with autism to build stronger relationships 

One of the best Art therapy activities for autism is Sand art, which involves hygienic and clean sand which may be used to create patterns or even build things like sandcastles.

Many children with autism find sand art very therapeutic, and that is a primary reason why this art therapy activity for autism is so common, and perhaps a reason for this is the tactile aspect of sand, which can appeal to all types of children equally.

Furthermore, it has been seen that this art therapy activity for autism can help tremendously with restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior because when children peel sections and introduce colors of their choosing, they can create a masterpiece at their own pace, and they do not need to communicate for this.

This art therapy activity for autism has been scientifically shown to be helpful as well, and one study even found that a 10-week sand play program increased verbal expression, as well as social interactions and increased spontaneous play among kids with autism.

Art Therapy Activities for Adults

A great type of art therapy activity for adults is the Lighthouse, which in some cases could be used for children as well but it may work best with people above a certain maturity level because it involves guided meditation as well.

This art therapy activity for adults is meant for anyone that feels lost and needs help coming back to themselves, and therefore, may be suggested to anyone that feels lost, overwhelmed, or isolated, and it may help the person to express those feelings and visualize hope, as well as identify needs, feel hope for the future, and realize where they are on a specific journey.

This Art therapy activity for adults begins with the person imagining being lost at sea and visualizing the ideal lighthouse that would provide the right kind of guidance to them so they may come out, which may start with a basic guided meditation and make sure that the patient is calm, comfortable and relaxed, and when their breathing is deeper and more consistent, you may give them the beginning instructions of the activity, which may be about how there are points in our life where all of us feel lost, isolated, or overwhelmed. 

Other Materials the person may need for this art therapy activity for adults are as follows:

  • Plain or colored paper
  • Coloring pens and pencils

In the guided meditation part of this art therapy for adults, the art therapist may start to tell the person a story about being out on a boat on a clear day, but eventually the sky has darkened, and because the sea is black and choppy water is flowing into the boat and they have lost their way and the story progresses similar to the mindset of the person.

The art therapist might reflect in the story of how the person may be unsure of how they will find their way back again but they eventually see a light in the distance that is coming from a lighthouse which is showing them the way to safety and it tapers off towards the person heading towards the lighthouse, and after that, the art therapist needs to bring the person slowly out of their meditative state, and towards the reality.

The person is then provided with the materials mentioned before for the next part of this art therapy for adults, and they may then be instructed to draw, color, or paint a lighthouse as a source of guidance. 

Art Therapy Activities for Kids

Art therapy activities for kids should involve many colors and such, but not too many resources otherwise the kids tend to get confused and their attention may wander.

The best types of art therapy activities for kids can help with many problems, like depression, anxiety, not being able to express oneself and so on, and kids who are having academic problems at school may particularly benefit from engaging in a fun activity for a change, one that does not involve dependence or expectation of grades or results.

A good example of an Art therapy activity for kids is What’s in your heart, which involves a worksheet, and this activity contains exercises for children to express their emotions or define the things they care about.

Apart from the printout of the worksheet, the individual may also need:

  • Coloring pens and pencils
  • Glitter, sequins, and glue (if desired)

This art therapy activity for kids starts by the kids being asked to take a moment to reflect on the things that make their heart happy or what makes them feel good.

They may also be asked what words they might use to describe these things that make them happy or if they could draw them, what would they draw?

Once the therapist or the person leading this art therapy for kids has talked about these things, the kids may be provided with the worksheets and ask them to fill the heart with what we have just been thinking and talking about. 

These can then be discussed at length depending on how the person feels about them.

Art Therapy Activities for Anxiety

Art therapy activities for anxiety can often make use of things that allow the person to act in a physical way, like working with their hands in some way, or doing things that allow them to release some of their pent up autonomic arousal.

An Art therapy acitivity for anxiety that helps the person understand and visualize anxiety can help the person take the steps towards getting better, and often people may find that just the act of representing their anxiety as an abstract concept, a human, or even a monster, helps the artist understand and accept it better.

This art therapy activity for anxiety will need the following materials:

  • Any decorative materials to help participants create their ‘anxiety’ 
  • Miscellaneous materials such as fabrics and textures
  • Scissors, paper, and glue
  • Paints and easels
  • Coloring pens and pencils
  • Collage materials
  • Sculpting clay

To begin the art therapy activity for anxiety, one may define the concept of the activity and discuss anxiety more generally, after which the participants may be asked to reflect on the idea of anxiety and try to visualize in their minds what it looks like.

If someone has trouble understanding this art therapy activity for anxiety they may be asked to focus on the physical symptoms of anxiety and try to narrow down what they look like if the person really tried to imagine.

Prompts for this art therapy activity for anxiety may include things like, Does it have a body and a head and limbs, or is it more abstract? What shape does it take? Is it tall, short, skinny, fat? What color is it?

Once it has become clear that this art therapy activity for anxiety has become clear to the participants, they may be asked to start creating whatever they are visualizing, and a discussion of what they have created or drawn can follow the activity.

Art Therapy Activities for Teens

Art therapy activities for teens can sometimes be very hard to do because one needs to strike a balance between expression and holding the interest of a rapidly developing individual whose hobbies and interests can flip in the span of a day.

Some of the best art therapy activities for teens may therefore include the following:

  • Journaling: This art therapy activity for teens can be very therapeutic because it gives them the chance to express as much as they would like.
  • Mask making: The teen may be asked to create fun masks they think they would like to wear to a party with masks. 
  • Photograph it: The teen may also be asked to photograph all the things they find beautiful both inside and outside the session.
  • Be the D.J: Teens are very much into music, so this art therapy activity for teens involves them playing the other person a mix of their choice tracks, and making it fit to whatever theme is given to them.
  • Collage: This art therapy activity for teens involves choosing their favorite type of magazine and creating artwork with it.

Art Therapy Activities for ADHD

Some great art therapy activities for ADHD involve:

  • Finger painting
  • Scribble Art
  • Line Art
  • Thread Art
  • Creating a collage
  • Drawing mandalas
  • Identify plants
  • Find the hidden colors

Any art therapy activity for ADHD needs to ensure that the attention of the child is held during the activity and it should help them focus their energies on the activity alone, maybe even make use of their excess energy through it.

A good example of an art therapy for ADHD is Ripped Paper Collage for which the materials needed are just some paper, pencils or pens and glue.

This art therapy activity for ADHD may begin by getting the child to think of something that makes them feel angry or upset in any way, and draw it quickly, after which they may be asked to rip up the paper.

Then, these pieces of paper will be used to make a collage or another piece of art that makes them feel happy, like a heart or something else they enjoy, and this art therapy activity for ADHD can thus teach the child to transition from unpleasant to pleasant emotions in a constructive way.

Art Therapy Activities for Addiction Recovery

Art therapy activities for addiction recovery may be some of the following:

  • Zentangles
  • Mandalas
  • Memory Jar
  • Words-to-live-by collage
  • Self-Care Box
  • Watercolor
  • Making your own affirmations

Words-to-Live-By Collage is an art therapy activity for addiction recovery involves putting together inspirational words or phrases that the person strongly relates to, onto some cardboard or thick paper to make a collage, and hanging them up on the wall.

These collages can also be made by cutting words out from old magazines, newspapers or picture books. 

A Memory Jar is a type of art therapy activity for addiction recovery that involves making a jar out of clay and then filling it with items that help you recall pleasant memories such as tickets or letters from a loved one.

Another great art therapy activity for addiction recovery is a Self-Care Box, which could include small trinkets or scraps of paper, or one might fill it with things that help them feel calm and happy, and keep them away from substances.

Another great art therapy activity for addiction recovery is drawing Zentangles, which are patterns created inside of “tiles” on a sheet of paper which may then be colored, and this is considered to be a very calming activity.

Art Therapy Activities for Grief and Loss

Given below is a list of some Art therapy activities for Grief and loss:

  • Acrostic Poems.
  • Unfinished Sentences/Writing Prompts.
  • Writing and Drawing Trauma Narratives.
  • Epitaphs.
  • Bibliotherapy and Creative Writing.
  • Life Imprints.
  • Journaling.
  • Letter Writing.

Art therapy activities for grief and loss can consist of things the person can do to keep the memory of the loved one alive, and to come to terms with the fact that they have gone, because very often when someone is dealing with the loss of a loved one they can suppress the memories and pain till the repressed things start causing problem.

A good art therapy activity for grief and loss is to create a poem or some kind of creative writing piece that is centered around the themes of loss and love, which can often serve as a manner of self-expression and help the person come out with the feelings they are experiencing in a healthy way.

Making dolls or creating doll-like structures from soft materials like cotton or pliable materials like playdough can also be a good art therapy activity for grief and loss, because these activities can also help the person feel a sense of comfort and momentary happiness that comes from the joy of creation.

Art therapy activities for grief and loss can lead to great creative expression, through which clients are able to tell their personal stories of connection to their loved one and they can also seek comfort through constructing a narrative around their relationship with their loved one. 

Furthermore, art therapy activities for grief and loss also provide the person with a final artwork that can serve as a reminder to the person who has lost a loved one that they can move past the trauma and also serve as a type of keepsake that reminds them of their process of dealing with the loss and even of the loved one themselves.

Art Therapy Activities for Dementia

Some art therapy activities for dementia include

  • Music.
  • Dancing.
  • Sculpting.
  • Painting.
  • Collage
  • Creative Coloring.
  • Simple Crafts.

Art therapy activities for dementia patients need to have a degree of structure because in these conditions the patient may often feel like they are losing control of their mind and the art therapy activity can help them regain some of it, and help them to feel a little better.

Art therapy activities for dementia may also include activities that help the person feel a sense of calm in a world that feels more and more foreign with time, so activities like creating and playing with a Zen garden, for instance, can be thoroughly helpful.

Another art therapy activity for dementia can involve painting with fingers or painting big colorful shapes as opposed to small patterns or something that might remind them of any losses in their fine motor skills, which are often symptoms that are associated with dementia.

When doing art therapy activities for dementia one also needs to keep in mind that the activity is not too complicated and instead of requiring too many cognitive capabilities, like needing them to be creative or imaginative, the activity should instead facilitate cognitive processes, like something that is not too taxing but is stimulating to the person, like colors or glitters, or perhaps different textures.

Art Therapy Activities for Special Needs

Art Therapy Activities for special needs may include activities like:

  • Collages
  • Drawing and Painting
  • Murals
  • Making puppets 
  • Creating sculptures
  • Papier mache
  • Thread Crafts
  • Pottery

Art therapy activities for special needs are often made a part of the curriculum because kids with special needs may often require stimulation in a way that is not solely academic.

Many special needs educators find that art therapy activities for special needs that have multiple sensory components, like Papier Mache, for instance, can be very useful in engaging the kids’ attention and having them focus better and create new things for themselves without struggling with the theoretical aspects of things.

Many children with special needs may struggle with expression as well as the development of their skills because they may have deficits that are non-verbal, and it may be hard to reach them, but the educator or therapist may be able to do so with the help of art therapy activities.

Art therapy activities for special needs also encourage Children to express their feelings through the art that they create in their session and often these activities can also enable the child to learn social skills, gain cognitive growth, obtain coping mechanisms through the resolution of frustration and practice sensorimotor skills such as sensory stimulation and hand-eye coordination. 

Mindfulness Art Therapy Activities

Mindfulness art therapy activities include:

  • Zentangles
  • Paint and walk.
  • Creating a collage
  • Mandalas
  • Creating a Zen Garden
  • Before-and-after art pieces.
  • Drawing a picture of oneself
  • Mindful study of art materials. 
  • Use art to express emotions.

Mindfulness is a practice of accepting things as they are in the moment without judgment and being aware of everything but focusing on no particular thing, and mindfulness art therapy activities, which are considered to be a part of Mindfulness Based Art Therapy, help the person to do this through art.

In mindfulness art therapy activities the person may be required to focus their attention and senses on what they are doing right now instead of what else they may be worried about or what else may be troubling them at the moment, and this may help greatly with problems like stress or depression.

A good mindfulness art therapy activity to do, given by CounselorKeri, is a hand drawing that engages many of the senses, and helps the person express their emotions, and the best part is that there is barely any structure to the activity.

In this mindfulness art therapy activity, the person is first required to place their hand on the paper, and trace it slowly, they are prompted to feel every sensation of the pencil or pen moving around their hand and feel the outline taking shape.

They are then asked to fill in the hand with structures or patterns that represent the emotions they are feeling at the moment and let go of each as they fill it in, almost like they are watching and accepting these emotions but not keeping a hold of them.

Art Therapy Worksheets

Art therapy worksheets can be very helpful to provide some structure to the art therapy activity one is doing, and they can be anything from a pattern someone has to draw into something more basic, like instructions for what the person has to do.

Given below are 3 great Art therapy worksheets:

Art Therapy Worksheet 1: Mandala Coloring Pages

Art Therapy Worksheet 2: How is Spotz today?

Art Therapy Worksheet 3: Where do I feel?

The first art therapy worksheet, which is the mandala worksheet, is meant for adults, and it can help someone with anxiety, depression, stress or OCD very well, because it is filled with small patterns that the person can color in, which can be very useful to someone who is experiencing ruminations or thoughts they are not able to control and which are causing extreme distress to the person.

The second Art therapy worksheet, called What does Sportz feel today? Is for children, and it is a picture of a snail with a big shell full of spots, which are meant to be colored in, and they can be colored according to the color key given in the worksheet, based on what emotion the child might be feeling on a given day.

The third Art therapy worksheet is also for children, though it could be used for adults as well, and it may be particularly helpful for adults suffering from generalized anxiety or stress, because these conditions often have physical symptoms that the person can mark in the worksheet and it can help them focus on which part of the body needs most attention at a given moment.

Art Therapy Techniques and Applications PDF

Art Therapy techniques and applications in PDF form are available to help both therapists and people, and according to the American Psychology Association, Art therapy is based on the idea that the creative process of art making is healing and life enhancing and is a form of nonverbal communication of thoughts and feelings.

Here are some Art Therapy Techniques and applications PDFs:

Art Therapy Techniques and Applications PDF 1

Art Therapy Techniques and Applications PDF 2 

Art Therapy Techniques and Applications PDF 3

Art therapy techniques and applications support the belief that all individuals have the capacity to express themselves creatively and that the product is less important than the therapeutic process involved. 

In art therapy techniques and applications, the therapist’s focus is not specifically on the aesthetic merits of art making but on the therapeutic needs of the person to express, rather it is on the person’s involvement in the work, which is why choosing and facilitating art activities that are helpful to the person is so important and significant, because this is what helps the person to find meaning in the creative process, and facilitating the sharing of the experience of image making with the therapist.

An example of Art therapy techniques and applications are Tanaka’s art therapy techniques, the Egg Drawing and Cave Drawing, which are rich in symbolic expression and facilitate storytelling. There are two separate art therapy techniques that can be employed individually or together during one session or over the course of treatment repeatedly.

Both of these art therapy techniques rely on the active participation of the therapist as the therapist initiates the storytelling through visual and verbal means. 

Expressive Art Therapy Activities

Some examples of expressive art therapy activities are as follow:

  • Use line art or zentangles
  • Design a postcard you will never send. 
  • Make a meditative painting.
  • Put together a journal. 
  • Create a family sculpture.
  • Draw or paint your emotions. 
  • Create an emotion or feelings wheel. 
  • Explore puppet therapy. 

Expressive art therapy activities are used for the sole purpose of helping the person vent what they are experiencing before, or even when, it gets to a point where it starts to overwhelm the person, and these are meant to promote cathartic experiences.

Expressive art therapy activities have been linked to the traditions and cultural precedents of world healing practices because they frequently involve the integration of all the arts.

Ceremonies in which a indigenous healer or shaman might sing, dance, make images, or tell stories recall the early roots of psychology and psychiatry, for example, in ancient Greece, dramatic enactments including dance, music and storytelling brought people together to experience cathartic release, and these have often been thought of as expressive art therapy techniques.

Furthemore, the Navajo People in the Southwestern United States still employ the arts, including sand paintings, songs, dance, and chanting, to heal ill members of their communities which may well be considered expressive art therapy techniques.

While most people might know what some expressive art therapy activities are, the formal definition might not be as well-known, because while some characterize expressive arts therapy as the inclusion of any of the arts therapies; art, music, dance/movement, drama, and poetry/writing. Thus, using one or more of these therapies in work with individuals or groups is defined as expressive arts therapy. 

Child Art Therapy Activities

Given below are some Child Art Therapy Activities:

  • Making Art From Nature
  • Sculptures
  • Collages
  • Transforming something
  • Making Bookmarks with Quotes
  • Finger Painting
  • Recycled arts and crafts
  • Egg Drawing
  • Cave Drawing
  • Squiggle Game

Child Art therapy activities for children needs to be something that engages their mind and senses equally and they also need to be challenging enough so that the child does not feel their attention wander off.

An example of a great child art therapy activity is the Egg Drawing and cave drawing by Tanaka, which are meant to understand the child better and may even be considered types of projective techniques.

To begin this child art therapy activity, an oval line drawing is presented to the child and the therapist tells the child that this is an egg or a cave opening. 

These visual and verbal prompts stimulate the active imagination of the child and motivate the child to engage in art expression and storytelling. 

By encouraging a story, the pictorial space is transformed into symbolic space impregnated with the child’s personal meanings, which means that the Egg and Cave Drawings enhance the potential for narratives through specific directives and guided imagery.

Another child Art therapy activity is given by Winnicott, which is known as the squiggle game, based on a game from England.

Squiggle game is a guessing game in which the therapist and child look through pictures of squiggles to find specific things, and it has been said to promote rapport.

This guessing game makes for a great child art therapy activity because it generates playful interaction between the therapist and child. The Squiggle Game promotes the symbolic act of acceptance and acknowledgement of the client’s imperfect or unintegrated object by the therapist, thereby facilitating a therapeutic relationship through mirroring the child’s drawing.

Art Therapy Ideas for Self-Esteem

Here are some great art therapy ideas for self-esteem:

  • Sculpt/or write about your ideal self. 
  • Paint different sides of yourself. 
  • Make art with your fingerprints. 
  • Draw images of your good traits.
  • Draw yourself as an animal. 
  • Create a timeline journal. 
  • Create a photographic growth chart
  • Put together a jungle animal collage. 
  • Write a story featuring yourself

Art therapy ideas for self-esteem need to always make sure that they are focused on the self in some way, because the aim of these ideas and activities is to help the person become the best possible version of themselves.

For example, in an art therapy ideas for self-esteem, one could draw an image of their best traits, or if they are not that good at drawing, they could write about it; the goal is to create a bridge between what your ideal and real selves are like, because putting everything on paper can act as a blueprint for what you want to do, and in some cases it could act as a mirror and remind you that there really isn’t as much wrong with you as you might think.

Another thing to do as an art therapy idea for self-esteem is to write a story featuring yourself, make yourself the hero, or villain, just make sure it is completely fantastical and out of the ordinary, you might find that seeing yourself in the new avatar might give you a different perspective.

Another fantastic art therapy idea for self-esteem is to chronicle your journey over the last few years in photographs, find all the ones you can find and put them in the order of your accomplishments and happy moments, you might find that there is more there than you think.


15 Art Therapy Activities, Exercises & Ideas for Children and Adults by Elaine Mead (2020)

100 Art Therapy Exercises – Shelley Klammer

Art Worksheets | Therapist Aid 

Google books

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!