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Valencia Family Resource Library Guide: Healing Activities

Healing Activities

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HEALING ACTIVITIES

Most, if not all of the art materials suggested for projects in the Activities Guide can be found in your home so you can engage without incurring any costs or having to leave home. We aren’t suggesting that everything in this kit needs to be done. Rather, you should review the information and determine what will work best for your family. It is an extraordinary time we are living in. You don’t have to be perfect to care for your kids during these difficult circumstances. You just have to be you. Extra hugs, caring language, and allowing yourself to slow down and breathe are a great place to start.

 

Click here for access to free children's eBooks related to COVID-19.

Drawing with Mo

Suggested activity materials include:

  • Anything to draw with: markers, crayons, colored pencils, regular pencils, an eraser, chalk, paints, anything! Really!
  • Anything to draw on: paper, newspaper, magazine pages, the sidewalk, old (empty) cereal boxes, leftover wrapping paper, anything! Really! 

Kennedy Center Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems posted daily doodling videos to YouTube filled with artistic prompts, fun doodles, tours of his studio and the treasures inside, and Mo’s unique sense of humor. You might know Mo from his books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Elephant & Piggy, or Knuffle Bunny. And if you’re not familiar, your kids probably will be! Drawing can be a great way to express feelings, escape reality (an important “pause” button for kids), and to get zany! However, just plopping kiddos in front of paper with some crayons isn’t always enough. Mo does an amazing job of getting kids thinking creatively while focusing on the experience of drawing together, rather than a finished product. His emphasis on drawing being fun, no matter the quality of the drawing, is a great lesson for kids to learn. In addition, he’s very reassuring about what’s happening with regard to COVID-19. 

Collage

Suggested activity materials include:

  • Sheets of paper to make a collage on
  • A variety of papers such as:
    • An old magazine
    • Scrapbooking paper
    • Wrapping paper
    • Origami paper
    • Construction paper
    • Paper to be recycled (that doesn’t include any sensitive information)
    • Old newspapers
    • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Bonus supplies:
    • Glitter
    • Seeds
    • Beads
    • Stickers 

Collage is a wonderful tool to express creativity. Not only are the materials needed easy to come by (ANYTHING can be used!), but you need no artistic talent whatsoever to jump in and feel creative. Below are a number of ways to make a collage. Once you’ve tried one or two, if your child has their own creative idea for how to make a collage, run with it!

Vision Board

Vision boards were really popular a few years ago. The idea is simple: Bring focus to what you really want, place it somewhere you will see it often, see it and be reminded of what’s important to you. The most effective vision boards are created around the idea of “How do you want to feel?” not “These are things I want.” However, that concept may be tricky for your child to grasp at first. If they need to start from a place of “this is what I want,” go with it. Reflect upon the emotions and feeling it gives them once they've finished. The next time you make a collage, use the emotions identified in their first collage as inspiration.

Storytime Collage

Rather than trying to create something specific, try to do this in a stream-of-consciousness way. As you flip through the images, let them inspire you and take you on a journey. We don’t know where we are going, we don’t know the story we are about to be told, and we don’t know what it will look like at the end! This is a great way to let kids both tell a story and be told a story at the same time!

Torn Paper Collage

This one can be a challenge for the perfectionist kids out there. However, in this version the goal is an imperfect finished product. Start with a specific idea, maybe a fish tank filled with fish, and then see what the end result looks like when it has “imperfect” edges. Want to take it further? How would it look different if it was recreated using scissors? If you remake the image, which do you prefer? What was challenging about this for you?

Emotion Collage 

Can you create a collage that makes a picture of a specific emotion? What would silliness look like? How about cranky? Can you create a collage of all the emotions you feel throughout the day? Each time you recognize an emotion you’re feeling, go and add it to your collage! At the end of the day you can look back and see all the emotions you felt and which emotion you felt the most. What do you think that means? What do you want tomorrow to look like? 

Acts of Kindness

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Many of us are feeling powerless and scared as we face COVID-19. You can be a ray of sunshine in these dark times and combat these feelings by spreading kindness. These activities can be done individually or as a family.

Delivery Thank You Baskets

You might be getting things delivered from grocery stores, restaurants, or pharmacies at the moment. If that’s not the case, chances are you’re still receiving mail from mail carriers. No matter what your circumstance, you may want to thank the people out there who are working hard to keep us cozy at home, healthy, and happy. Consider making a Thank You Basket for these hard workers with a sign for them to take what they need. Based on the contents you include in your basket, you may want to keep this out of the reach of children.

Here are some things you might include in your Thank You Baskets:

  • Handmade thank you notes or cards
  • Tea bags
  • Granola bars, packets of peanuts, candy, chips, or other individually wrapped, non-perishable snacks
  • Bottled water, juice, or other beverages
  • Individual tissue packet
  • Spare rolls of toilet paper or paper towels
  • Unopened travel sized toiletries from hotel stays
  • Instant or canned soups

Gift Cards

Many small businesses are struggling during this time. Purchasing a gift card to use in the future from your favorite restaurant, flower shop, book store, or other neighborhood establishment can make a big difference in their lives right now! Also, since a lot of events like birthday parties and end-of-school celebrations are being cancelled, gift cards or goods directly mailed to those you love in place of your presence can perform two kind acts at once!  

Say Thank You

Creating little notes or cards to thank our medical workers can add some brightness to what are very stressful days. Consider sending a card thanking your pediatrician and their staff for all the hard work they’re doing to keep us all safe and healthy.

Positive Public Art (Scavenger Hunt)

Decorate your driveway or sidewalk with chalk drawings encouraging others, hang a homemade sign in your window that says “Hello!” to folks outside talking a walk, and leave positive messages to the world in any creative way you’d like! It will brighten someone’s day and if a few people in your neighborhood do it, it can make for a fun scavenger hunt for kids. Grownups can arrange to change out drawings once a week to keep the hunt going!

Create a Story Walk

A StoryWalk® is just what it sounds like — pages of a book are laminated and placed in succession along a walking path so families may enjoy a story as they get outside and exercise. Your community can create one by following the simple instructions available here under “StoryWalk FAQ’s.”

Don’t Stand for Discrimination

The American Academy of Pediatrics put it best when they suggested “Be a good role model. COVID-19 doesn't discriminate and neither should we. While COVID-19 started in Wuhan, China, it doesn't mean that having Asian ancestry – or any other ancestry – makes someone more susceptible to the virus or more contagious. Stigma and discrimination hurt everyone by creating fear or anger towards others. When you show empathy and support to those who are ill, your children will too.” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2020) As a family you can support Asian-owned businesses, check in on your Asian neighbors to offer your support, or stand up to racism or xenophobia when you see it.

Resources American Academy of Pediatrics. (2020) 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Retrieved from: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/201 9-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx.

Keeping a Journal

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Suggested activity materials include:

  • Premade journal/s or notebook/s 

Or

  • DIY journal supplies such as:
    • Stapler
    • Box of staples
    • Sheets of paper for inner pages
    • Sheet of cardstock for journal cover
  • Writing utensil/s 

Without a doubt, this is a monumental time we are living in. Throughout history, journals have given us amazing insight into our past. Especially important are the journals of children. Never before have young people experienced just what they currently are. The circumstances of being the most digitally engaged and connected generation ever, who are now faced with isolation, quarantine, and a never-ending news cycle are unique. And their stories could be important for our future. Encouraging them to keep a journal may be of historical importance, but it may also simply be a good outlet for them to express themselves privately, as opposed to through social media.

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Writing a Letter

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Suggested activity materials include:

  • Envelopes
  • Something to write on, such as:
    • Cards
    • Paper
    • Postcards
    • Construction paper
    • Writing utensils
  • Stamps

Writing to the people you love is a great way to let them know you’re thinking of them and to express yourself! You can stick to writing words and ideas, or you can include drawings (or collages!), poems, recipes, or whatever creative ideas your child may have. Also, if you don’t have a stamp, don’t worry. You can hand deliver notes to the people who live near you -- no stamp required! In addition, if you’re not comfortable sending physical letters, you can always take a photo of your child’s letter and share it virtually. 

Mindfulness Minute

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Environment Needed:

● A place where you can be quiet together. That means no TV, no music, and no

phones or tablets.

This breathing exercise can be used to calm down and refocus when kids are feeling stress, anxiety, anger, or just have the blues. Don’t be surprised if kids don’t “get it” right away. Mindfulness and meditation can take a while to understand, especially for very active kids. However, doing it regularly together and then reflecting on how they feel afterward will let them add it to their toolboxes of ways to deal with stress. To do this, they can sit upright in a chair or they can lie down. Whatever they find comfortable.

  • Close your eyes (if this is comfortable for you. Otherwise, relax your eyes and focus your gaze on something far away.)
  • Breathe in steadily for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 1 second
  • Breathe out steadily for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 1 second
    • Do this 6 times and a minute will have gone by. If they want to keep going, allow them to do so. While your child is doing this you can offer any or all of the following directions in a gentle voice:

Breathing In:

  • “Follow the trail your breath takes into your body.”
  • “Pay attention to the cool air entering your body.”
  • “Fill your lungs and belly slowly with fresh, clean air.”
  • “Breathe in calm, cool air all the way down to your belly.”

Holding Breath In:

  • “Pause.”
  • “Hold your breath.”

Breathing Out:

  • “Let the breath out slowly, emptying your lungs.”
  • “Slowly exhale, letting the air back out.”
  • “Exhale now, letting the clean air go.”
  • “Now exhale slowly, and feel the calm stay with you.”

Holding Breath Out:

  • “Pause again.”
  • “Hold your breath.” 

More Resources from The Healing Library

Thank You

All material in these activities has been obtained from THE HEALING LIBRARY: COVID-19, unless otherwise noted.

The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.