Home with kids over the long winter break? Cruising toward New Year’s? If you’ve been discussing New Year’s resolutions with your children, as many families do, vision boards are an activity that can fill some fun family time, open a good discussion, and also help keep those resolutions top of mind in 2023.
A vision board is a collage with a purpose. It can be done online or the old-fashioned way with photos, art, scissors, magazine clippings, quotes and anything else that helps you define your goals and proclaim your passions.
Christine Curry, an art therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor and supervisor, uses vision boards as part of art therapy in Akron Children’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program for adolescents and teens with anxiety, depression and other behavioral health concerns. Creating vision boards helps her patients process their feelings and envision a positive future for themselves.
Here are some Q & As with Curry about vision boards.
Why are vision boards useful for children and teens?
“Vision boards are a good way to help kids to think more about their goals and future. With a vision board, you are not fully responsible for creating an image, so even those who don’t consider themselves artistic can have fun and be successful.
Many adolescents and teens have trouble articulating their feelings. They say they feel pressure to find the right words. Finding visuals – rather than creating them – helps take away that pressure and begin the first step in communicating feelings.”
When is a good time to create a board?
“New Year’s is a great time to do this – setting individual or family resolutions. They can also be helpful at times of transition such as when teens are thinking about college choices or careers.”
What are some good resources?
“Pinterest is a good app and I really love the app, Canva. It’s free (although there’s a paid option) and you can either start with a completely blank slate and use stock images or you can use a template and upload your own photos and images.
Of course, you can also make a three-dimension vision board or vision board/collage box using found items. You may wish to start collecting magazines, cardstock, newspapers, notes, quotes, greeting cards, and photos. You can decoupage them onto a sturdy board, a shoe box, a cardboard craft box or a journal cover.”
Is there a difference between how this activity is used in therapy vs. a family setting?
“Many of the patients in our programs are suffering from depression and anxiety. Vision boards may be a tool to help them express emotions stemming from a trauma. We want children to be in a safe space for that, so it’s best for parents to leave that to the professionals.
As a family/home activity, keep it light and fun. You may wish to start with prompts like:
- What are your resolutions for 2023?
- What are you passionate about?
- What motivates you the most?
- What are your core values?
- What do you want to achieve?
Then search for pictures and words that reflect your answers. Play around with design and different typefaces. Have fun. Then put your board in a place you will see it often. You can even set it as your computer or phone background.”