Activities that relax come in many forms and are individual for everyone. I have students who doodle or draw for relaxation at school, as long as it does not distract from learning – or occlude all of the work on their paper, as a way to relax.
The Calm Clinic in their online article “Fool Proof Anxiety Relaxation Techniques” , defines a variety of different strategies including breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, aromatherapy, positive affirmations as well as using art as a form of relaxation. They describe art as a method that helps refocus mental energies. Not always do you have access to paper and pencil to draw or you may not exactly have the drawing skills to allow you to doodle (I would resemble that!). Using a mobile device might just be the tool for some who is not exactly artistically inclined, but still like to be creative, like symmetrical visualizations which can be relaxing.
Here are a couple of apps, one new and one shared (Thank you, Cindi P. ) that would fit as an electronic doodle providing visual and sounds/music for adults and students:
Kaleidoscope Doodle Pad (free w ad, .99) for iPhone/iPad is a new app that creates a kaleidoscope drawing with a variety of colors, backgrounds and stamp features. It is easy to create the drawings, requiring only basic swipes to create a kaleidoscope design. Sounds and visual effects when drawing are added in the mix of the kaleidoscope creation. When completed, you can replay a video of your kaleidoscope drawing providing a visual sensory treat. The creation can also be saved as an image to your Photo Library.
Silk app (2.99) for iPhone/iPad is another drawing app that creates interesting drawings with a few tools to create symmetrical or asymmetrical drawings with different colors that can be blended. Silk app also provides music (not customizable) for a calming effect for those that relax when creating visual designs and music.
Designs can be shared and saved. If you are interested in testing the app features out, the tools are available to doodle with on the developers website, Silk-Interactive .
Don’t have a mobile device you would give to your student? There are many calming and relaxation activities available. Kim Peterson, Licensed Professional Counselor, provides practical suggestions on Creating a Calm Down Box on her Kim’s Counseling Corner website. She provides practical, simple suggestions for calming and relaxation activities for children.
Another method of drawing for relaxation is with a mandala. The University Health Center at University of Georgia on their website page Managing Stress: A Guide for Students, lists relaxation techniques and also “Drawing and Coloring” as a method for stress management. They identify mandala as a relaxing and calming activity:
“Mandala is Sanskrit for circle, polygon, community and connection. The circle concept exists in nature, is found in many religious symbols and represents wholeness. Mandalas are intricate designs that can be a part of the meditating experience. When you color a mandala, your goal is to focus on the process of coloring, and be mindful of how it feels to color. It is very relaxing and calming. When you have finished, you have created a lovely picture. Download a mandala for coloring .” Retrieved on 11/16/2013 from: http://www.uhs.uga.edu/stress/relax.html . Coloring mandalas is not only for college students, I have provided mandala coloring sheets for the class room of behaviorally challenged students to color as a calming activity. It is one of many things they like to color or draw. Paper, colored pencils, markers and crayons are always available and frequently used by the middle school students in their resource rooms.
Duck taping a small pocket made of sturdy material on the inside and underside of the top of a student desk has also been a strategy for easy access to doodle pad paper when appropriately used for calming in the classroom.
Looking for iPad mandala apps or more suggestions? Here is a link to some more ideas about apps and mandala creations: “Marvelous Mandalas – Art App Lesson Idea”
Relaxation apps and activities for your OT Tool Kit!
Fool Proof Anxiety Relaxation Techniques retrieved on 11/16/2013 from : http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/relaxation
Creating a Calm Down Box, retrieved on 11/16/2013 from: http://www.kimscounselingcorner.com/2012/05/09/creating-a-calm-down-box/
Managing Stress: A Guide for Students retrieved on 11/16/2013 from: http://www.uhs.uga.edu/stress/relax.html
Marvelous Mandalas retrieved on 11/17/2013 from: http://www.ipadartroom.com/marvellous-mandlas-art-app-lesson-idea/
Post revised on 11/17/2013.