Guest Blogger

Art Therapy for Tweens

Starting off the new year can be both exciting and exhausting for children and adults. One way to alleviate the transition of getting back into the routine of returning to school after winter break, is a program we call “Art Therapy!” This program is for children ages 10 and up along with their older sibling and/or adult caregiver. Every month Children’s Librarian, Jennifer Chang leads the Art Therapy program at Cupertino Library. She is always thoughtful when selecting the art project for the month so that it appeals to both tweens and their adult caregiver. Attendees have been able to paint a bird bath dish, bookmarks, coasters, and canvas watercoloring.

Photo courtesy of guest blogger
Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Aside from the art, Jennifer and I brainstormed different elements that would create a calm environment for the attendees. We use an oil diffuser in the space and utilize a variety of fragrances such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree to emit into the air. The benefits can aid relaxation, raise energy levels or increase focus.

Music is also played in the background and switches between mellow tunes like jazz or upbeat soundtrack tunes from their favorite animated movies. Another element is lighting to help set the artistic mood and we often do a room set-up that allows for a maximum of 4-6 people to sit together since bigger groups can often increase noise or be overwhelming.

In addition to creating an artistic keepsake, our hope with programs like art therapy is to foster connections, spark conversations among tweens and their accompanying older sibling or adult caregiver, as well as create family memories. Art Therapy is held monthly on a Friday afternoon, which helps us initiate discussion with attendees about exciting events that happened at school or perhaps even stressful ones and what they are most looking forward to during the weekend. The most common answer…sleep! We are excited to see this program that supports mental health and creativity to grow throughout 2024.

Photo credit: Santa Clara County Library District

Today’s guest blogger is Raina Tuakoi. Raina is the Children Supervising Librarian at Cupertino Library with the Santa Clara County Library District. She is a 2012 ALA Spectrum Scholar and 2018 ALA Emerging Leader. Currently she serves on the ALSC Programming Committee and as the California Library Association Begun Scholarship Chair. Raina is committed to creating diverse programming, inclusive spaces, and accessible collections that support children and their families in public

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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