A Crafting Series

By: Jill Stockburger

“But you’re not being nice!” Scribble shouted, quite mad. “The fact that I’m different doesn’t make me so bad. My colors are special, and my lines are just fine. If you’d give me a chance, we could have a great time!” I’m Not Just a Scribble…by Diane Alber

As the current state of affairs continues with social distancing, we might be feeling a little messy and frayed around the edges. However, it is exactly these moments that can create an unexpected connection and pathway to deeper healing through repair work and re-do’s particularly through playful engagement.

Within play lies the foundational building block to all forms of intimacy and connection, and art provides a tangible, visual example of creative repair. For this next exercise we will be combining movement, visual art, and maybe even a little dramatic storytelling in a creative translation of an oldie, but a goodie game of chase. I bet there are some little ones missing this playground game right about now. Here’s our chance, as adults, to show them how much we also love the game all while finding love connectors in the “mess.”

Put on your observant outer and inner eyes because this exercise reveals so much about our unique communication. Let’s play…

Supplies: A simple 8 x 11 sheet of paper and crayons will do or go all in with a large sheet of butcher paper, markers, colored pencils, crayons, oil pastels, or any form of paint.
*Note: the larger pieces of paper allow for more kinesthetic body movement. It also can facilitate full family engagement vs. two people.

Ages: 3+

Exercise:Find a partner and select two pencils, crayons, or markers. 1st child or adult begins a slow scribble while the 2nd child or adult “follows” with their pencil, crayon, or marker.

Take turns Scribble Chasing. Now the 2nd child scribbles while the 1st child follows. Working together this way, fill paper with scribbles. On a larger table size piece of paper multiple dyads can be working at the same time.

Study the scribble with your partner and each find an object or images in your picture. Outline and “color in” these images with more crayon, colored pencil, marker, oil pastels, or paint.

A toucan and spider-man!

*Note: If you use crayon in the initial scribble exercise, the wax will “resist” the liquid of paint and stand out.

Other Options: If you have use a large piece of paper, create a mural or paper quilt. Take turns within the family dictating a story or redo’s between the images.

Cut out the images and glue a popsicle stick to the back creating a puppet. Create stories with the puppets or practice conflict resolution or redo’s with the puppets.

Cut out the images created and tape them in a window as decoration.

Don’t Forget: Notice if your child wants to jump right in or if they are hesitant wanting to follow. Do they ask several clarifying questions or rules before beginning the exercise? How do they lead or follow? Do they move quickly or slowly during the process? Do they follow closely or far away? What materials do they choose to work with, ones with more control like pencil or ones that are more fluid like paint? Pause in between chasing sessions and creating images to reflect on physical sensations and emotions.

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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