A 2-year-old child draws with colored pencils in an album and screams.

Beyond Words: 6 Drawing Activities to Express Feelings

Bringing out your creative side through art helps engage your thoughts and emotions and bring them to the surface. This is why caregivers often encourage children to express themselves through drawing.

Drawing and painting enable children to engage their senses, explore and make sense of the world around them. Through drawing, kids can easily express their emotions and feelings.

In this article, you’ll learn about the value of drawing as a form of expression. Additionally, you’ll discover printable activities designed to aid children in expressing their emotions. Let’s get started!

  1. How drawing helps kids express feelings and emotions
  2. Expressing through art: 6 drawing activities for children
  3. Techniques for encouraging self expression
  4. Before you go
A Child Hides His Face Behind A Yellow Winking Emoticon

How drawing helps kids express feelings and emotions

  • Drawing provides kids with an avenue for emotional growth, where they can freely express feelings and develop their emotional skills. Whether it’s depicting their fears or showcasing their love and happiness, drawing allows children to convey emotions that may be challenging to express through other means.
  • Drawing facilitates intellectual growth in children by enhancing their awareness of the surrounding environment. Through drawing, they can develop problem-solving skills as they carefully consider what they choose to depict and how to portray the relationships between elements in their drawing. Drawing also enables kids to learn and acquire knowledge by encouraging them to think critically, experience, and engage their senses.
  • Drawing fosters perceptual growth by enabling kids to absorb, organize and interpret sensory information and new experiences through their artwork. This growth is evident in children’s increasing perceptual awareness and utilization of variations in color and form in their drawings.
  • Drawing helps kids grow socially because it gives them a chance to think about how they interact with others. Children often start out by drawing people, and as they get older, their art starts to show how they feel about people and how they relate to them.
  • Also, drawing helps kids develop their creativity and gives them more confidence. If you let children draw what they want, they can make anything they can think of. This gives them a way to express their talent. When kids draw, they can turn thoughts they have in their heads into pictures on paper.
Child focused on drawing

Expressing through art: 6 drawing activities for children

These art activities are a helpful exercise for children to express what they think and feel if, for various reasons, they are not able to verbalize it. They can be used in conjunction with lessons, as a classroom exercise, as an art therapy activity or simply at home for entertainment and communication.

Download all of them for free, print out the worksheets and give them to the child along with a pencil. Nothing else is needed!

What Do You Want To Say Creative Worksheet - LittleBigArtists

What Do You Say

This worksheet is an excellent way for kids to practice being self-aware! It lets them express themselves by drawing out feelings, ideas, thoughts, and concerns. Also, it is a good activity when kids are frustrated because they feel they have not been listened to or their opinion has not been taken into account. Not only is it fun, but it also challenges them to think differently and focus on their thought patterns.

Happy Moments Creative Worksheet - LittleBigArtists

Happy Moments

How about grabbing some crayons and letting your child draw a picture of a time when they were happy? This activity allows your child to share their feelings through drawing. Plus, it teaches kids to focus on the task at hand and pay attention to detail.

What Is In Your Head Creative Worksheet - LittleBigArtists

What’s in Your Head?

Looking for a fantastic way for your kids to practice self-awareness? Allow them to express the things they’re passionate about. This worksheet is specially designed to inspire them to draw and showcase their interests, but also their emotions, in a fun and engaging way.

My selfie Creative Worksheet - LittleBigArtists

My Selfie

Stimulate your child’s imagination with the possibilities of this self-representation: does it have filters? is it your present or future self? does it represent your emotions at this moment? does someone else show up?

Open Window Creative Worksheet - LittleBigArtists

Open Window

What’s on the other side of the window? Are you looking out the window to the outside or inside a building? and more importantly, what would you like to see through the window? This activity is oriented to allow the child to express their desires but also their fears or issues that cause distress.

What Are You Thinking Creative Worksheet - LittleBigArtists

What are You Thinking?

This activity helps children visualize their thoughts and feelings, and can be a great way to spark their creativity and imagination. It is also a good activity for kids to calm down when they feel angry, frustrated or nervous.

Techniques for encouraging self expression

In order to promote self-expression through drawing and maximize the benefits of these activities, all while ensuring the child has an enjoyable and imaginative experience, consider implementing the following tips.

Suggesting Prompts or Themes

If the child finds it difficult to start drawing give them ideas for what to draw, such as their favorite animal, a happy memory, or a place they’d like to visit. This can help spark their imagination and inspire them to express themselves through art.

Encouraging Discussion

Give your kids the opportunity to open up about their drawings and what they represent. Ask questions to help them think about the emotions and ideas behind their art. It can help them connect their inner thoughts and feelings to their drawings and develop a deeper understanding of themselves.

Drawing materials

Providing Materials

Offer a variety of materials for children to use, such as different types of paper, pencils, markers, and paint. It’ll give them more options for expressing themselves and help them find the most suitable medium.

Create a Supportive Environment

Ensure kids feel safe and comfortable sharing their drawings, regardless of their skill level. Teach them to support each other’s art and praise them for their creativity.

It’s also important that you refrain from judging or correcting your child’s drawings. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of their artwork and ask open-ended questions that encourage them to open up.

Bored child holding pen

How to Encourage Your Child to Draw: 7 Home-Tested Methods

Have you ever seen your little one gaze at a colored pencil as if it were an alien object? Discover how to turn that reluctance into a colorful and creative journey that benefits their development.

Girl painting with watercolor

Before you go

Drawing provides a language for kids to express their thoughts and ideas, which improves as they develop the ability to convey their reactions, opinions, and needs. Furthermore, through the child’s drawings, caregivers gain insight into how the child perceives and interprets their thoughts and experiences.

Helping your children express themselves through drawing can be really useful during their education. Not only is this creative activity great for boosting their fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities, but also can help with relaxation and stress relief. Want to encourage your kids to draw? Don’t miss these articles:

Want to learn more?

Children Draw: A Guide to Why, When and How Children Make Art

For a deep dive on this topic, I recommend:

Children Draw: A Guide to Why, When and How Children Make Art

By Marilyn JS Goodman

Aimed at parents and caregivers, this book explores the meaning and value of drawing for youngsters, from toddlers aged two to preadolescents aged twelve.

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