Crafting with Kids (or Yourself!): Utilizing Art Therapy on Valentine’s Day
Love, happiness, candy, flowers, hearts, and chocolate – these are some of the many feelings, foods, and objects that remind us of Valentine’s Day. The upcoming holiday may feel differently this year due to the pandemic, but that does not mean we cannot celebrate the day of love with our children, family, significant other, friends, or even by ourselves within our home or online via a virtual gathering. Before we identify some ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s explore art therapy.
Engaging in art therapy has been shown to improve self-esteem and confidence, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, and relieve stress. Art therapy also allows you to cultivate self-awareness and explore your emotions. It is important to note that no artistic talent is necessary – you can think about art therapy as a tool for self-expression, not perfection! Art therapy techniques and exercises are utilized in treatment with a trained therapist, although that does not mean you cannot engage in some art therapy exercises on your own and unleash your inner artist!
Here are some crafty, creative, DIY ideas to complete with kids, family members, friends, or yourself on Valentine’s Day, or any time of the year!
Create a self-love mason jar – Take a mason jar and decorate the outside of the glass with paint, paper mache, markers – your choice! Then, with a permanent marker, write positive affirmations, or attributes you love about yourself, on popsicle sticks. These statements can be simple, complex, short, long – anything you like. Place the popsicle sticks in the mason jar. As frequently as you would like, take a popsicle stick and read your positive affirmation to give yourself a mood-booster and reminder of why you love yourself. One of the benefits of creating a self-love mason jar is that you can constantly add positive affirmations and self-loving statements to the jar over time – you never have to worry about being bored of reading the same statements. This activity is great because it can be completed by people of all ages!
· You can also create a loving mason jar for your child, family member, friend, or partner, and include your thoughts and feelings about why you love them.
Design a wall of love- Take sheets of computer or construction paper and tape/glue them together to create a poster board. Next, use colored markers, pencils, or crayons to write down positive affirmations and self-loving statements. Decorate the poster with pictures and fun designs that bring you joy and happiness. If completing this activity with your child(ren), you can have them identify things they love about themselves and their family. Hang the wall of love in a communal space in your home.
Construct a candy heart garland – Take sheets of colorful paper and cut out large hearts. Next, write fun, loving sayings on each heart. You can write sayings that are typically printed on candy hearts, such as “xoxo” and “hug me,” or you can write sayings that are more personal and remind you why you love yourself, such as “I am caring,” “I am powerful” or “I am worthy.” Then, using a single-hole puncher or scissors, cut two tiny holes in the top of each heart so you can string the hearts into a garland. Lastly, string the hearts together and then hang your new candy garland!
· If completing this activity as a family, you can encourage each family member to write one heart that includes a self-loving statement, and one heart that includes a statement that identifies why they love another family member. You can then explain to your child(ren) that your family will always be connected through love.
Make a candy conversation hearts bouquet of flowers – Flowers and candy are typically associated with Valentine’s Day, so why not combine the two together?! Take two clear vases, one large and one small, (they can be the same height, but try to get the vases to be different widths), and fill the larger, outer vase with candy conversation hearts. Then, place the smaller vase inside of the larger vase. Fill the smaller vase with water and place your flowers in that vase. As a finishing touch, you can wrap a bow around the vase.
· Another fun way to engage in this activity is by joining your friends or family on a video chat call and each making your own DIY flower bouquet. You can walk through the steps together and show each other your very own bouquets.
Play with paint and make a heart thumbprint platter – Take a small amount of paint, any color of your choice, and place on a piece of tinfoil or wax paper. Next, carefully dip your child’s finger, or your finger, in the paint and make two prints to form the shape of a heart on the platter. You can also use a sheet of paper or paper plate. If everyone in the family is participating, you can have each family member write their name under their heart thumbprint.
Indulge in your favorite foods, with a loving twist – Take foods that you love, such as pizza, homemade chocolate chip cookies, sandwiches, pancakes, or brownies, and add a special Valentine’s Day touch by shaping those foods into hearts! You can buy a cookie-cutter or print out a heart on a sheet of paper to serve as a homemade stencil when shaping your food and sweets.
Wishing everyone a very happy, loving Valentine’s Day!
If you or someone in your family is struggling during these unprecedented times and changes throughout the holiday season, you are not alone. We are continuing to provide psychotherapy services here at Liz Morrison Therapy via teletherapy – please do not hesitate to reach out for further support by calling 347-758-2985 or emailing Liz@LizMorrisonTherapy.com