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Be kind. Encourage compassion. Inspire creativity. Nurture courage. Grow your mind.

Art Activities for SEL

September 8, 2023

Social-emotional learning is a process designed to support children when learning how to cope with feelings. Art is a powerful tool that helps shape the minds of children, builds confidence, encourages acceptance of differences, allows for creativity and free expression, and builds problem-solving skills. 

Art is often seen as a way to explore and express social emotional concepts, such as kindness, empathy, and curiosity. Because art is typically seen as an activity rather than a challenge, it serves as a fun way to reach children who may be resistant to other teaching strategies. 

Need some fun art activities? Here are 4 ways to help support your child’s social-emotional development through art.

4 art activities for social-emotional learning

  1. Self-portrait collage: Use a variety of old magazines, newspapers or family photos to teach children how to cut out pictures of things that describe themselves or things that are important to them. Children can use a combination of words, pictures, or even their own artwork to make a collage about themselves. During the activity, encourage them to share why they included each piece. This is a great way to build confidence in themselves. 
  2. Draw a special moment: Have your child or student draw a picture of a time or person in their life that was special to them. This gives them a chance to reflect and practice gratitude. Consider creating a mini book of their artwork to showcase things they are grateful for.
  3. Paint the emotion: Discuss different emotions, such as sadness, anger, worry, and happiness, with your children. Have them find and paint with colors that they believe go along with each emotion. Using colors to explore emotions in this way makes it easier for children to discuss and identify their feelings.
  4. Make art from nature: Working with natural materials, such as outdoor objects, helps soothe and ground us. You can find beautiful materials just by taking a walk outside. Consider making wildflower bracelets or sun-catchers.

Children can learn so much through art and other activities once they begin to use their imagination and be creative. 


For more art activities to support your child’s social-emotional learning, follow Curious B.E.I.N.G.s on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to the Curious B.E.I.N.G.s newsletter.

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