Doodle art helps develop greater self-awareness in children supporting Social-emotional learning
What is doodle art?
Although Doodling is often associated with people drawing mindlessly, while their attention is occupied elsewhere, it can also be done mindfully with the purpose of creating a beautiful piece of art.
Doodling can be anything from geometric shapes, faces, human figures, animals, imaginary figures, to sketching letters, patterns, textures, flowers and numbers. With attention and mindfulness, doodling can provide a whole host of benefits.
While holding a pen or pencil, the hand responds to and translates what is in our unconscious mind – the part of our mind we’re not aware of – that represents 95% of brain activity. Doodle art enables this connection with this powerful yet hidden part of us.
Rather than thinking and seeking out ideas, while doodling in a mindful way, our minds are free to problem-solve without ‘trying’. Trying, to solve a problem can add an element of stress, which puts us into a fight or flight mode and stunt our creativity. In a similar way to if we are stumped with a problem, when we stop and have a shower or go for a walk, the problem seems to solve itself. The same goes for when we liberate our minds with doodle art.
Benefits of doodle art
Enhances creativity – our minds reach a healthy balance between laser-focus and a complete lack of attention, which allows our creative juices to flow.
Improve mood – it is a way to relieve stress, or boredom and can help to process emotions.
Improve memory – keeps you from slipping into daydreaming. Studies have shown people have retained more information while doodling.
Synchronises mind and body—the hand and the brain is connected and responding to each other can become a meditative experience.
Reduces stress – expressing oneself through mark-making can be a calming activity.
Focusing on the present – keeps the mind wandering into future and past, which can be stressful as we tend to view things from a negative stance.
What is social-emotional learning (SEL) in children?
Social and Emotional Learning is a process through which children learn to manage their emotions and establish positive relationships. This may include setting and attaining goals. They learn to be aware of themselves and develop a stronger mind-body relationship. This self-awareness helps in a myriad of ways in social relationships. More on Social Emotional Learning in children.
How can doodle art support social-emotional learning (SEL)?
Taught in a certain way, doodle art will develop greater self-awareness in children. They learn to express themselves through lines, patterns and different shapes without being judged, which develops this skill, leading to other benefits.
Increased confidence – children are encouraged to draw confident lines and develop their ideas. This creates more confident attitudes and develops trust in themselves in a context where they cannot be ‘wrong’, so they are more likely to take risks.
Strengthen relationships – a child who is more aware of their own mind and body is able to have compassion and empathy for others, and also themselves.
Manage emotions – doodle art is a healthy outlet for negative emotions, thus allowing a child to regulate their emotions better.
Relationship skills – activities that incorporate collaborative efforts require some planning, negotiation and resolution of differences. They get to develop ideas together and learn collective problem-solving.
Enhancing creativity – there are no ‘rules’ so they are free to develop their creativity in a personal way. This facilitates some freedom from creative blocks.
Activities with an SEL focus help to develop a growth mindset, where a child begins to understand that they are in control, rather than there being an absence or presence of an innate intelligence or creativity. Read more about a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset.
In her workshops, Ashima encourages children to express their emotions through their doodles. Learn more about doodle art with Ashima
You can create a daily practice in home or in school. Next time we will share a step-by-step way of making this happen.