Guest Post: Art for Kids with ADHD, from The Artful Parent

There is no rule that art has to be a slow and methodical process. No rule that you have to stay in your seat for hours. No rules, really, at all, except for the ones that you impose yourself. Art is adaptive and can fit the individual and the situation. Thank goodness, as all kids are unique and each family is different.

paint splattering

Process-oriented art is ideal for all children, but may be especially good for children diagnosed with ADHD. When you think about the process, rather than the finished product, you free the child to work his own way, at his own pace. There is no right or wrong. There is no “sit still,” “be quiet,” “be patient,” or “finish this.” The work is about the process of making and is made according to the child’s own goals, exploring the materials, tools, his body, and what he can do with all of the above. When you don’t have an end product in mind, it frees up the child to be who he is, and to work in a way that is right for him. It can also lessen frustration on everyone’s part while maximizing self confidence and learning opportunities.

shaving cream drawing

As we plan art activities to do with our children, we take into consideration what is developmentally appropriate for our children’s ages, attention spans, interests and levels of motor control.

Here are some guidelines to consider when thinking about art activities for children who are diagnosed with ADHD:

·         Is the activity especially engaging? Anyone can focus more if they are really into what they are doing. Try action art or sensory art (see below), challenge drawings, or anything that ties in to the child’s interests.

·         Is the art active? Ideas include spin painting, paint squeezing, spray painting, paint dancing, splatter painting, marble rolling, ball painting in the swimming pool, pounding nails into wood to form a design, making hand and foot prints, and car wheel painting.

marble rolling
finished product, marble rolling

·         Is the activity perfect for shorter attention spans? Some activities, such as Simon says, draw! and general quick sketching or painting seem tailor-made for shorter attention spans. Fast and furious painting is okay. There is no rule that art has to be slow or detailed.

swimming pool painting

·         Is the activity chosen by the child? Let your child decide what she wants art to be. If she wants to tape a paintbrush to a yardstick and paint on butcher paper taped to the floor while standing up on a chair, then let her give it a try!

·         Does the art provide a sensory experience? Some great sensory art experiences are shaving cream painting, finger-painting (try it on bubble wrap for extra fun!), body painting, and playdough or clay modeling.

I would love to hear about your experiences doing art with your ADHD kids. Are there any activities that have been more successful than others?

body painting

Jean Van’t Hul blogs about children’s art and creativity at The Artful Parent. You can also follow The Artful Parent on Facebook and Twitter

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Flickr YouTube 

Related posts:

celebrating gifts, General ADHD, NEWLY DIAGNOSED, parenting/FAMILY ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

Leave a Comment

The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

Powered by WordPress | Customized by KW Design