A Crafting Series

By: Jill Stockburger

“When the answer to ‘What am I feeling?’ is ‘I don’t know,’ change the question to ‘What do I notice about my body right now?’ Lots of us learned to numb or muffle emotion and some of us got so good at it that knowing what we feel can be really, really hard. Although our awareness can be numbed, the body sense of emotion never leaves. One way to learn to process and express emotion in our awareness is to start making connections-‘oh, anger actually feels like this in my body!’” Lindsay Braman

Adults and children alike physiologically experience emotion in their body first. Young children can be excellent guides for adults, as their response to “What are you feeling?” is conceptualized with a somatic sensation or an impressive display of their bodies. They often express themselves in an array of movements.

During this season of unknown, our bodies might be holding the weight of the ‘wait’.

Younger ones are also very adept at asking all the ‘when’ questions. “When will we be there?” “When will this be over?” “When do I get to do this?” “When do I get to see grandad?” “When do I get to go to my friend’s house?”

Kids ask good honest questions. Waiting is hard; we communally feel that right now. Children often put voice to what we aren’t always saying or expressing.

In one way or another we are always waiting. Sometimes we wait for small things, and sometimes we wait for something that happens slowly and gradually, almost imperceptibly, like water in frost thawing or dew evaporating.

And, maybe, there can be an active waiting where paying attention to the small things prepares us, connects us more deeply, and open us to providential perspective, the larger more imperceptible wait which creates beauty in the face of adversity.

So, let’s make this wait worth it with a little somatic experiencing through, you got it: play, art, nurture, and connection as we explore the magic of waiting for ice to melt. Move over, Elsa! Creative collaboration is coming your way.

Early Childhood
Supplies: balloons or ice cube trays, those mini-figures (animals, insects,
superheroes, lego men, etc.) you have lying around, water, large
container, or bathtub
Optional Additions: food coloring or essential oils
Exercise: Simply place the mini-figure into the balloon or ice cube tray;
add water; and place in the freezer. If you want to increase somatic experiencing add a few drops of different essential oils in each balloon or cube. Or, add a different food color drop to each color.
Bonus: the balloon creates an egg shape (Easter is coming!)

After freezing, remove the balloon or cube from the tray. Either slowly
watch the egg/cube melt in a container holding warm water or at bath time. Notice all those somatic sensations (hot/cold, smells, colors) and all those anticipatory feelings of waiting for your creature to emerge.

Once they are free, why not go on a few imaginary adventures.

Late Early Childhood to Middle school
Supplies: ice cube tray, mini-figure, water, a thicker paper or butcher
paper, a form of paint (tempera or watercolor)
Exercise: Mix together paint and water, place in the ice cube tray, add a mini-figure to each cube (slightly poking out), and freeze.

After freezing, simply pop the cubes out and let them paint as they slowly
melt. On butcher paper, you can have multiples working at the same time
like a mural, sharing their somatic sensations, problem solving on how to paint while waiting and working with the melting, and you will be surprised how many interactions those mini-figures will have during the process.

The process can also be done individually on a smaller piece of paper.

Bonus: If you have sunshine, head outdoors for this fun and notice how
the different elements effect the waiting process of melting.

Supplies: ice cube tray, water, thick paper, butcher paper, or a large
piece of cardboard, a form of paint

Feel free to add in mini-figures (you would be surprised how adolescents
still have fun with them!). Add flowers or essential oils if wanted.

Exercise: Mix together paint and water, place in the ice cube tray, and

After freezing, simply pop the cubes out and paint with these two options:
o Take a smaller piece of paper and arrange the cubes in a specific
position outside. Take a before picture. Then slowly watch the
sculpture morph into a painting as the sunshine slowly melts the
cubes. Notice the difference after all the cubes are melted. Do you
see a specific image in it or does it remind you of something?

o With butcher paper or a large piece of cardboard, two people place
the cubes in different areas on the piece. The two people then
move to either side each holding two corners lifting the piece in the
air as they stand up. Now get your bodies moving and stretch those
communication skills to move the cubes across the piece creating a
large piece of art as they melt.

Other Options: Adolescent Exercise Option 2 can be done as a family.

Don’t Forget: Adults get naming all those senses, feelings, and connections right alongside; modeling is the best teacher…and, we could use the fun work as well!

About the author: Jill Stockburger is a counseling intern with Memphis Family Connection Center as she obtains her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy through Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.
Jill loves to see all the arts modalities of visual art, music, drama, dance, and creative writing integrated with TBRI principles.
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