I went out collecting fall leaves in the neighborhood today.
I brought the outdoors inside at the psychiatric hospital today! I let them touch and smell the leaves, and we made art with it.
I had 3 bins like this for 4 groups throughout the day. Each group could potentially have up to 15- 20 people depending on the census, but the usual is between 9-15 participants lately.
They could put the leaves under their paper and rub on top of it with a crayon or oil pastel to make leaf rubbings like what you see below. This was my example. The teens loved this the most.
Or they could glue them to a tree outline like above. The lower functioning adults tended to prefer this because it’s really easy and simple as well as structured. The structure helps the thinking skills to become clearer and more organized. The touching and smelling of the leaves provides a sensory aspect to not only give them pleasure and joy, but to ground them to the present moment and help them forget their worry, fears, or painful memories; therefore it is a great stress reliever and helps lower anxiety and improve mood. Sometimes we address the worries and fears and sometimes we just need a break. I like to have a nice balance. I really gave them a free choice to use them how they wished, but provided these two examples.
My leaves as crown of a tree example was provided by a patient in my first group. He actually glued all the leaves and the dandelion down above, and wanted me to use it as an example so I did! I had to cover up his nick name so I colored the trunk in. He did a good job making the leaves look like a crown of a tree in autumn. I like how he arranged the leaves.
Other ideas were that they could just glue them on paper to form a collage, even paint or draw around them or add them to a tissue paper collage. One lady glued a large leaf on a paper, colored it white with an oil pastel, then turned it into a ghost. So creative!!
It was a fun day. I think everyone enjoyed themselves.