How to Help Your Child Relax: 3 Painting Projects That Sooth

More children today suffer from anxiety and depression than ever before, and it's no wonder. Even preschoolers and kindergartners get subjected to standardized testing and so-called "academic rigor." Many of their classrooms no longer have little kitchens, puppet theaters, dress-up corners, and easels where they can use their imaginations. Any down-time in a kid's life is seen as a waste of time. One powerful way parents can help their children stay emotionally balanced in a stressful world is through open-ended art activities at home. Painting is the best. It's the quintessential therapeutic experience -- soothing and satisfying.

Here are 3 simple painting activities children can enjoy at home when they need to relax and unwind. Put on some music, give them a space that they can get messy, and let them create. Remember, it's all about process, not product (these aren't meant to be masterpieces that get framed on your wall). Don't hover over them. Let them be in charge of their artistic experience, making choices and taking risks.

Scratch Painting

1) Gather your materials: 
  • thick white paper (a lot because your child will want to make more than one)!
  • old crayons that you don't mind getting broken (bright colors: yellow, orange, red, green, purple)
  • black paint and brush
  • sharp object for scratching (scissors, plastic knife, fork, paperclip, coin)

2) Color your paper with bright colors. Press hard!

3) Paint over the colors with a thin layer of black paint.

4) Immediately scratch with sharp objects until you get the look you like. Experiment with different objects.

Straw Painting 

1) Gather your materials:

  • thick white paper
  • old newspaper
  • paint (3-4 colors)
  • a straw
  • water

2) Place a little paint on paper. If it's too thick, add a drop of water. Blow it with the straw so it moves across the paper.

3) Add another color and blow. If you like, add a third and fourth color until you find it pleasing.

Wet-on-Wet Painting

1) Gather the materials:
  • thick white paper
  • water
  • brushes
  • watercolors
  • newspaper

2) Brush water all over the paper.

3) Pick a color and put it on the brush. Touch brush to paper. Let paint feather out on paper.

4) Add a second color. Let it bleed into the first.

5) Keep adding. colors until you're satisfied with your painting.

For more fun activities to do with your kids

Every household with children needs a quality watercolor kit. You'll be amazed how versatile they are and how much use they'll get. This kit makes a fantastic birthday gift for friends.

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