Sharing social experiences is where we all start to connect and make friends. This is a natural process in life. Sometimes finding ways for these opportunities to happen for children with various isms can be a challenge. An art group can offer a great way to create a social event and give kids an opportunity to connect with each other and increase their social skills.
Creating an art group may seem a little intimidating. Art is a fun activity kids love to do. Keep it simple and lay down ground rules. Children of all abilities can participate. This can be an inclusive activity for all kids not just kids with various isms. Success may be as simple as small interactions with others and learning how to have fun together.
Benefits of Group Art
- Learn appropriate social interactions. This can include learning how to share, and asking for help.
- Develop and facilitate natural conversation. Kids can talk about things as simple as what they like or dislike. They can offer opinions about things and learn polite ways to agree and disagree with others.
- Opportunities for kids without isms to develop friendships with kids with isms. When everyone is working on a fun activity differences are not as important.
- Learn how to adapt to changing situations. Social interactions are often spontaneous. This activity can provide practice for some kids to navigate through simple exchanges.
- Environment where there is no right or wrong. Art isn’t right or wrong. This can offer a low anxiety setting to practice social skills that kids may be struggling with or be nervous about.
Ideas For Structuring Social Art Groups
- Choose one art project or theme. Have all of the children follow the steps to complete the art project.
- Adapt to each participant’s needs. Have someone available to assist each child as they may need it.
- Encourage kids to help each other. This can become an informal opportunity for social interaction.
- Remind kids that this is a fun activity and there is no need to feel anxious. Not everyone needs to finish their project at the same time or in the same way. It is just a laid back get together.
Individual Projects Created Within a Group
- Offer different kinds of art materials and allow each child to choose what they want to work with.
- For some kids who are learning how to do well in group activities, they can work on their individual projects but still be in a group with other kids where natural relationships can evolve.
- Each child’s art work is individual and there is no “right or wrong”. Sharing this with participants will reduce anxiety. As the artist participates more times in an art group, encourage them to show their work with the others or look at what other participants in the group are working on.
Group Collaborative Art Project
- A group project is a great way to teach team work, communication and develop relationships.
- Choose a theme or idea for the whole group. A group collage is one idea. Have everyone work on their own piece and put it together as a whole.
- Have each participant create a design and cut it apart. Kids can experiment together with the pieces and how to put them together in interesting new ways to create a larger collage.
Start an informal art group in your community and provide opportunities for kids to share social experiences and develop friendships. Art is a fun activity that kids love to participate in. Create small success with small creative interactions.