Children's Mental Health Week is taking place on 7-13 February 2022. This year's theme is Growing Together!
Place2be are encouraging children (and adults) to consider how they have grown, and how they can help others to grow! Inspired by the activities provided by Place2be, we have created a guide of free resources designed to help children and young people explore what it means to grow together.
“Human beings change and grow– we do it all the time and in many different ways. Physical growth is easy to see as we grow from babies to children, teenagers to adults. But growing emotionally is also an important part of our development. Things that upset us when we were younger may no longer overwhelm us as we grow and learn to cope with life’s ups and downs. Challenges and set-backs can help us to grow and adapt. Trying new things can help us to move beyond our comfort zone into a new realm of possibility and potential.
However, emotional growth is often a gradual process that happens over time, and sometimes we might feel a bit ‘stuck’. At these times we are reminded of how much we need others in our lives to help us to keep growing. We need our parents and carers, our teachers, our friends and others to support us to grow, especially when things get tough. We often need others to help us to believe in ourselves, to keep going, and to try doing things a bit differently. Even when we have experienced really difficult challenges in our lives, with the right support, we can continue to grow and flourish.” Place2Be
Day 1: Look How You’ve Changed!
Read a story or poem about growing and changing, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) or The Ugly Duckling (Hans Christian Andersen).
- Ask your children about some of the changes the characters went through.
- Can your children think about changes they have been through themselves – for example, have they always been able to walk, write their name, make friends etc?
- Ask your children to think about what they would like to be able to do when they are older.
- Encourage your children to think about whether they might need help at first to do those things, and who might help them. You may need to explain that children develop and are able to do things at different ages – we all develop at our own pace. Focus on all the amazing things they can do now, particularly when we think of how little babies can do when they are born.
Day 2: Step By Step
Ask your children to consider a skill they currently have. For example, baking, riding a bike, reading, dancing, swimming, learning an instrument etc.
- What steps did they take to get there? e.g. learning how to use a knife safely to chop vegetables; from starting to learn to ride a bike with stabilizers to being able to do a wheelie.
- What went wrong? e.g. their cake burnt, or they fell off their bike.
- What helped them to keep going?
- What did they learn from that experience?
Encourage children to draw and write a comic, or create a simple book, describing the development of their skill over time – including when things went wrong.
Day 3: Butterfly Craft
Butterflies are known to symbolize personal growth and tremendous transformation! This adorable toilet paper roll butterfly craft is so fun and easy to make! You can get the printable template to make the wings in our new book. You can even have kids draw their own wings and make different designs. Just follow the link here for the full craft instructions.
Day 4: Time To Grow
You will need some cress seeds, and a pot to grow them in.
- Talk to your children about what the seeds might be – what will they grow into?
- What will they need to help them to grow? (water, light, warmth)
- Can they think about how long it might take before they see any growth?
- Do they know how tall they might grow? What might they look like?
- Ask your children to take a photo of, or draw, how the seeds grow and change every day.
Day 5: Express Yourself
Some children may find it easier to write down their thoughts and feelings. Ask your children about who or what helps them when they feel upset, angry or worried.
Ask your children to write a brief sentence about what helps them to feel ok and to draw a picture of it. For example, “listening to my favourite music helps me to feel calm” or “remembering a silly joke my grandad told me makes me feel happy” etc.
These are just some suggestions provided by Place2Be, explore their page here for more information and fun ideas!