If you are looking for a fun and simple craft to do with your child and adolescent therapy clients, these painted rocks are fun, look great, and can be used for a variety of therapeutic purposes ranging from assessment, to emotional expression, to teaching mindfulness.
You Will Need:
A selection of small rocks
1) Select your rocks. You can choose all smooth flat rocks or ones with more character. I found mine in my backyard, so some are smooth, others are misshappen, and they all have differing textures.
2) Paint your rocks in whatever colours you choose.
3) Pick words or feelings you want to use and then choose symbols to represent each one. Feelings would work great. I choose positive feelings and characteristics, including: loved (heart), strong (waves), proud (star), wise (owl), hopeful (tree), joyful (sun), and safe (anchor). Paint the words and symbols on to the rocks. You can see my symbols here. The words are written on the opposite side.
4) Let the rocks dry. If you want to finish them off when some glitter spray, feel free to do so. I liked mine how they turned out with just the paint.
This activity has a number of therapeutic uses:
- Children could paint their own rock or set of rocks from week to week as a check-in to discuss how they are feeling that day.
- You can keep a set in your office and periodically ask clients to pick a rock that speaks to them, that represents how they feel, or how they would most like to feel.
- As an assessment tool. Ask clients to tell about a time when they experienced the emotions on each of the rocks.
- Use rocks for affirmations. Children can hold their chosen rock and practice thinking positive thoughts like “I am safe”, “I am strong”. “I am loved”.
- As a mindfulness exercise. Kids can practice mindfulness by feeling the rock’s texture, focusing on the colour, the picture, the word written on it.
Kids and teens will have a lot of fun doing this activity. Plus, if they make their own rocks to take home, this craft can also encourage family communication. Families that are learning to communicate better around emotions can enjoy creating a ritual like choosing a rock for the day and talking about what made each member choose that particular rock.