Blog - 11 March 2022
Minnie Zammit is a Creative Arts Therapist and Counsellor working with primary and high school aged children. She writes about various artforms to inspire children below.
I’ve seen how art is an opportunity to play, create, find an inner awareness, deepen the process, with expressing and learning things about themselves. Reflecting on the way I work with art in my practice, there is a range of tools, from creating, sensory play through playdoh, sandplay therapy, creating their own world with miniatures symbols in the sand, music, movement, painting, journaling, drawing, building with LEGO and role play. Having all these resources available allows them to engage more easily and have a safe space to connect.
Using art in my practice is often about stimulating our five senses - smell, touch, taste, sight and sound. Most of these senses are present within my work; the aroma of essential oils and a candle burning, the sound of gentle music in the background and touching and feeling objects which they choose while creating their art.
Looking back in history Art has been found in seven major forms through painting, literature, architecture/design, sculpting, theatre, music and cinema. Art comes in so many forms and is an incredible way for children to express themselves, learn and be inspired. “Art is produced when imagination or creativity are used to create something that can be directly experienced through our senses. Although visual art that is witnessed through our sense of sight is the most common form, art can appeal to our other senses as well, such as our auditory or tactile perceptions” - Types of art – a brief exploration of the different types of art from artincontext.org.
I believe we see these major art forms in different ways, while our children play. From a young age our children often are not inhibited through their play and have a vast imagination when it comes to exploring art. While playing they often can immerse themselves into different characters, whether they are dressing up in costumes, or playing with their toys becoming those characters or just acting with others similar to theatre.
Drawing can often start with quite simple lines and markings that as time goes on can tell a story and have meaning. Painting is an early form of expression with the use of colour, blending colours and exploring shapes, textures using different tools. It’s a wonderful technique for children to express themselves and supports their development.
With sculpting and design artforms, I see children exploring this through their play with blocks, Mobilo, LEGO, cardboard boxes, creating forts and cubbies. All of this play gives children the ability to build on their 3D skills, hand-eye co-ordination, social and communication skills. Children also love the sensory feeling of playdoh, kinetic sand, putty, slime, sandpit play and beach time building sandcastles. The textures and this form of play and creating art can help regulate their nervous system and calm them down.
Music is another artform, that can expand a child’s development to learn, improve memory, cognitive and expressive skills. Having music playing in my work can deepen the art therapy process for children, as they are more captivated in their world with the art they’re creating. Often with these artforms incorporating their sense of smell, whether it be aromatherapy or as simple as scented putty this can serve as a sensory anchor; I have found this to be effective in my practice.
Art plays a significant part in a child’s world, we learn a lot about a child; with the various forms that they are exposed too, it helps expand their emotional, social, cognitive development. Art provides a beneficial space for the brain to grow and to improve a child’s self-esteem and creativity. There will always be forms of art that children can be more drawn to and inspired by but, having such a vast range of mediums to choose from is crucial for our children to thrive.
"Every child is an artist" - Picasso
Camp Australia’s Big Art Comp has been developed for primary school children as a way to express themselves. The competition is held from 7 March – 27 March. To enter, visit https://campaustralia.com.au/big-art-comp.
Minnie is a Mum of two primary-aged kids and is a Counsellor and Creative Arts Therapist at Creative Kids Therapy. She provides therapeutic Creative Counselling for kids, teens and parents. She uses a range of Creative Arts Therapy, Sandplay Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT-tapping) and other ‘talking’ therapies. She provides a safe space offering techniques to gain self- awareness, manage big emotions, learn new coping strategies and problem-solving skills. Kids and teens find they can engage in this process quite easily and often feel like they are just playing and creating. Minnie also develops and facilitates small Art Therapy groups in schools for students who are at risk or school refusing.
She is passionate about working with kids, teens and supporting families so they can see their own strengths and feel happier in life.