with Kate Murphy and Karen Bluth
In this session, we will present creative mindful art activities for youth ages 9-17. These activities are intended to reinforce sensory awareness, and activities are tied to the various mindfulness factors including observation, description, acting with awareness, nonjudgment, and non-reactivity.
Participants will engage in the art activities, and each activity will be followed with group discussion.
Some of the activities will be completed as individuals and others are designed to be completed in small groups. All activities will involve hands-on art materials (e.g., pens, markers, found objects, visual frames). During the opening of the session, participants will be introduced to the concepts which make up the foundation of mindful art expression. The basic elements of pattern and color will be connected to the tenets of mindful practice. Participants will have the opportunity to explore how students can use art as a meditative experience in their lives.
Participants will be provided with items to take home including mindful drawing patterns, templates for mindful drawing exercises, a list of supplies for the activities, and a sample script for leading mindful art experiences. This script will include questions that encourage mindful awareness in students which will be asked while students engage in activities; for example, questions include “Are you able to feel the texture of the paper through the tip of your pen?” and “Do you notice the temperature of the pen in your hand?”
The exercises covered in this session can be used by participants as stand alone activities, or can be
incorporated into an existing mindfulness program. By actually completing the mindful exercises,
participants will have the benefit of understanding the exercises from a student’s perspective.
Examples of activities include:
Bridge to Self Art: In this activity, participants are provided with a drawing of a bridge which they
complete with mindful patterns (samples of mindful patterns will be provided or participants can create their own) and color. After completing their art, they will be provided with a series of questions which allow them to explore more deeply what they have learned through their process of engaging in this activity. For example, questions would be: “What did you notice about the thoughts that came to you as you were completing this project?”. “Did you notice any thoughts of judgment or self-criticism?” and “Were you able to let these thoughts go, or were they “sticky” thoughts?” The concept of using visual expression will allow participants to explore finding a bridge to their authentic selves.
Heart Art: This activity uses mindfulness pattern designs and focuses on the practice of gratitude. Participants will be given a heart template to decorate with patterns and color. Once participants complete the spaces around the heart with mindful designs, they will fill the space within the heart with words of gratitude (not included in the example).
Visual Scavenger Hunt: Participants will be grouped into teams of two to four to discover items on the beach or lawn around the hotel. The outdoor experience will begin with a mindful walk, at which time they will be directed to notice and record visual details in their surroundings that catch their eye. The teams will then be encouraged to gather items and bring them back to the room, where they will draw them through paying attention to detail and texture. The activity will conclude with participants engaging in a group discussion to share their experience.
Finally, the presenters will provide a summary of activities, followed by questions and answers. Discussion will focus on ways that these activities can be incorporated into the learning environment, and participants will have the opportunity to develop a plan to do this.