Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun Art with Kids at Children's Mercy Hospital

After spending the afternoon yesterday with kids in the oncology unit at Children’s Mercy Hospital, I was reminded once again of the powerful ways art can help people manage the stress and discomfort of chronic illness. This article in Psychology Today highlights individuals who have used art to express the nature of their pain and in some cases aided their doctors in understanding their chronic pain better because some people are better at illustrating their pain than describing it with words. 
Yesterday, making ooglys with young people who are managing cancer diagnosis and treatment, I got to see firsthand how art can alleviate the boredom and stress for kids who have to be hospitalized for their treatments. In addition, their caregivers had a chance to enjoy a different type of activity with the kids that didn’t focus on being sick.

One boy was particularly entranced with the clay and made this wonderful “monster oogly.”
We used the non-hardening clay that I have in the oogly kits so the kids would be able to take their pieces with them immediately since some were being released soon and firing the pieces wasn’t feasible. The “monster oogly” maker was delighted to keep his clay and after he finished his oogly, he started in on flowers. He took some extra clay and a little instruction and was heading back to his room to create more. What a great diversion.
Making the ooglys definitely made each of those children smile and that made their caregivers smile. What a nice change of pace for everyone dealing with cancer themselves or within their family!

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