Art Therapy Stress Management Activities

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Art therapy is an excellent tool for managing stress. Engage students of any age in these activities designed to help quell anxiety, express emotion, and relieve stress.

Art Therapy for Stress Management Activities

Stress can be managed in many ways, but using art therapy also allows for creative expression. These activities can be used with any age, from primary to adults, with very little adjustment. In these activities, students can meditate by coloring mandalas, use shapes to illustrate their stress, and create colorful collages to exemplify stress relief. Although stress can be positive or negative, these activities are focused on helping students with past or current negative stress.

Mandala Meditation

Materials

  • colored pencils
  • a variety of printed mandalas (multiple copies of each)

Activity Description

In this activity, students will color in mandalas as a form of calming meditation. Provide students with a variety of blank printed mandalas. Have multiple copies of each mandala available so that more than one student can select the same one. Choose the mandala complexity based on the level of your students. There are mandalas available that are appropriate for students ranging from primary to college and adult. Provide students with the following steps. Emphasize that each decision, from mandala selection to choosing colors and coloring pattern should be instinctual.

Activity Steps

  1. Ask students to select a mandala based on the one that appeals to them in the moment.
  2. Encourage students to select their colors before they begin work on the mandala.
  3. Provide options for how students can color their mandalas. For example, students may choose to color the mandala from the inside out, from the outside in, or in sections.
  4. Consider playing some calming music while students color. Otherwise, the environment should be a quiet, meditative atmosphere in which they can reflect and relax as they color the mandalas.

Stress Shapes

Materials

  • shapes reference sheet
  • colored pencils
  • blank paper

Activity Description

In this activity, students will use shapes to illustrate and release their stress. Provide students with a reference sheet showing a variety of shapes. Determine the complexity of the shape selections based on the level of your students. Primary students may feel most comfortable with a few basic shapes. High school students will be able to select from a wide variety of unique shapes.

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