Mindful Art in the Classroom
I don’t know about you, but I see a strong connection between mindfulness and art.
Think about all the different types of art: drawing, painting, music, jewelry, rap, sculpting, writing. The list can go on and on.
Now think about mindfulness: Paying attention to the present moment.
Using art as a mindfulness tool can provide a uniquely accessible opportunity to let the mind wander freely while focusing attention on a simple, engaging task – it is a ‘hack’ for present moment awareness. Mindfulness and art are also becoming more popular as a form of therapy for young people. Mindfulness-based art therapy brings together mindfulness and artistic expression in which the process of creating is the important part, not the finished product.
"Art is a natural way to practice mindfulness. The colors, textures, and sounds of creating pull us into the moment. You don’t need any previous training to meditate through art, just a willingness to draw like a child, with freedom and a sense of curiosity."
-Amy Maricle, Art Therapist
By providing students the chance to get hands-on with art we provide them with a fun and concrete experience that they can use to self-regulate during times of escalation. It provides a tangible coping strategy that students can use at home, at their desks, or any other time they need to calm down.
We put a list together of five fun and simple mindful art activities that require very little supplies. Try one, or all, out with your students! If you're interested in more mindful art activities, check out our full lesson on art & mindfulness.
Get The Full Lesson
1. Draw Your Breath
Each student gets a piece of paper and a marker or pen. With the marker in the middle of the paper, students breathe in and breathe out drawing lines for each breath. During this whole activity, students will not raise their pen from the piece of paper. When you breathe in, you draw a line in any direction. Keep the pen on the paper and when you breathe out, you draw another line. Students keep doing this as they breathe in and out making their own lines, shapes, and creative artwork.
After about 30 breath cycles, students use colors to color in different shapes. Students can be creative by coloring in the shapes, drawing little pictures or patterns in each shape, etc. You can also do this art project on an Etch-Sketch!
- Markers, pens, colored pencils
2. Drip Painting
Show your students a few examples of different abstract art, such as Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings. Drip painting can be a fun and accessible painting technique for kids to explore different colors and moods simply through dripping paint on their papers. Be creative and have fun!
3. Breathing Beads
With some yarn and beads, students can make their own unique breathing beads. After students make their own creation, practice some mindfulness by taking a deep breath for every bead.
- String, yarn, or ribbon
Provide students with either blank paper to create their own or, if you have limited time, print your own copies and focus students on coloring.
- Mandala printout
- Make your own: paper and pen
5. Mindful Writing
Provide students some time to write. This can be with a writing prompt such as, “write about all the things that make you happy” or open writing with no direction. If you choose to teach a structured narrative writing activity, use one of our writing rubrics.
- Pencil or pen
6. Dance it out!
Did you know when you dance, you are boosting your memory, improving your flexibility and balance, reducing stress and depression, and helping out your heart? There are so many positive benefits of dance. Our friends at the National Dance Institute have a handful of fun dance videos free of charge here. Pick one, press play, and dance it out!
- Dance on your own with some music!
- Or, try one of these videos.