I love my neighborhood, and I love community festivals! So, when I saw the email a few months ago that the Violet Crown Festival in my neighborhood was looking for groups and businesses to sponsor free children’s activity booths, I proposed that South Texas Art Therapy Association do an art activity booth. The timing of the festival was perfect so that we could also use our booth to share art therapy and mental health information as our National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event.
The activity that we decided to do was “Inspiration Stones,” drawing from the idea of “worry stones” or “strength stones.”
I’d say the booth was a success! It was so great to see all the kids and parents working on their stones, and everyone seemed to have fun. Some kids just had fun covering the stones in glitter and paint. Others showed me their thoughtful messages, like “Hope,” “Friendship is magical,” and “Be kind.” And since it was the day before Mother’s Day, we saw several that said “I love you” and “Happy Mother’s Day.” A few little artists enjoyed it so much that we had to get them bags to carry all of their stones home!
Along with all of the artistic fun that was had, we were able to talk with families about what art therapy is, answer some questions about what counseling/therapy is like for kids, and provide some resources in the community.
Want to create your own Inspiration Stones?
Stones (I just got a few bags of landscaping “pond stones” from Home Depot)
Acrylic or craft paint
You can paint your stone first with the acrylic paint or leave it natural. Think of a positive word or phrase that will inspire you and give you strength and write it on your stone with the paint markers or sharpies. Decorate with the markers and glitter glue.
What to do with your inspiration stone:
Place your stone somewhere that you will see it so that you can be reminded of the positive message. For several years, I have had a stone etched with the word “serenity” sitting on my desk. Now I have a small dish of my inspiration stones sitting in my therapy office.
Carry it in your pocket. If you feel anxious, grip the stone tightly to feel more grounded or rub it with your fingers. As a child, I kept a worry stone by my bed and would rub a smooth section with my thumb when I was anxious or fidget with it while studying/reading. Clients have shared with me in the past about carrying a stone in their pocket/bag and gripping it as part of their plan to prevent a panic attack or self-harm.
Leave it somewhere to be discovered or pass it on to someone that it will help. The week before we did our booth, I was walking around the park with my toddler and was surprised to see a stone with the word “Love” written on it at the base of a tree.
Last year we did an activity booth at the Cedar Park Farmer’s Market, to read more see the post about Random Acts of Creative Kindness.
And a big thank you to the STATA art therapists who helped me with the booth: BethanySweeden, Ruth Airhart, Lindsey Taucher, Deann Acton, and Shelley Frederick
Have you tried this art directive for yourself or with clients? I’d love to hear how it goes. Please share in the comments below!
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Carolyn Mehlomakulu is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, teens, and families. For more information about individual therapy, adolescent and child counseling, family therapy, teen group therapy, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in mental health, psychotherapy, counseling, art therapy, or play therapy. Although anyone can have a healing experience with art, art therapy requires the direction of a trained art therapist.
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