Happening at SteppingStone

FAMILY FRIDAYS: Rituals of Creative Expression

By Megan Flød Johnson, Program Development Specialist

Based on the Scholastic EDU post, “Why Creativity Matters During a Crisis


UPDATED 11:30 06/05/2020

A family draws together with colored pencils on a coffee table

 Create a daily ritual of quiet reflection to draw, or journal together as a family.

Your Entire Family    |    All Ages


You and your children are in the middle of two severe crises. Covid-19 closed our schools and businesses. The murder of George Floyd sparked a tidal wave for racial justice that has washed over our cities. Conversations about systemic racism have opened in our streets and over our dinner tables. Our young people are fighting for racial justice alongside us. Their worlds are evolving, and they have questions, feelings, and concerns- as do adults. They need opportunities to process and work through these changes. So, this Family Friday, we want your family to know: Art is here for you.


The process of making art can be a helpful haven for some of these feelings right now. Making 15-20 minutes of space each day for creativity can go a long way.

First, Creative expression can provife an outlet for identifying, working through, and expressing complicated emotions under difficult circumstances; and second, sharing art and writing builds bridges between people, offering opportunities for connection and empathy in times of isolation. Christopher Wisniewski, Executive Director of Alliance for Young Artists and Writers


This is not an elaborate project with scripted questions and specific materials. Here’s what you do:

a young child draws with a marker on a white piece of paper
  • Set aside a few minutes of quiet time to turn off devices to “create” as a family.
  • Use what you have! A notebook or blank paper is enough.
  • Set out a handful of colored pencils, some markers and pens.
  • If it’s helpful, set a timer for 15-20 minutes and encourage everybody to draw, doodle, sing, dance, or write whatever is on their mind.  There are no incorrect ways to approach this time but encourage your family to keep an art tool in their hand and keep making marks. 
  • Put on some calming music to inspire your processes and put the family at ease.
  • Create a safe space for sharing thoughts after you finish creating (there’s some tips below).

A family ritual of creative expression supports your children’s emotional health and your own as well.  When you model self-care for your children you show them the value of creativity and taking quiet time to reflect on what you’re thinking and feeling.


While respecting the privacy of your young person’s journal entry or sketch, you can provide entry points for them to share and reflect on uncomfortable issues that might have come up during their creative time. Open-ended questions create a safe, non-judgemental space for discussion and help young process through difficult topics or feelings. Try asking questions like,

  • “What’s on your mind?”
  • “Is there anything you want to talk about”
  • “What were you thinking about when you were creating?” 

If your young person doesn’t feel like sharing anything, respect that choice, and ask again tomorrow. A journal or sketchbook is a trusted place to keep and add to their thoughts and feelings during these crises.

a teen talks to an adult on a folded chair under a willow tree by a river


Connecting deeply with your family right now is essential. Making or writing together can be a powerful way to do so. Young people also need opportunities to process their feelings and thoughts with their peers while expressing themselves creatively.

A laughing girl covers her mouth with her hand as she looks at a laptop screen

That is why we exist. Every class is focused on a topic, but our Student Artists bring the experiences that they need to process into the room every time. SteppingStone’s Virtual Studios bring young people together in active, creative experiences- even online! Our Teaching Artists specialize in delivering a curriculum that invites young artists to observe and communicate with each other while exploring ideas using their voices and bodies. We use stories and characters to ask big questions and process what is happening in our world. We meet kids where they are at developmentally and give them tools to explore and push up against the status quo.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

At SteppingStone, we are committed to access and inclusion for all people. We stand firmly in opposition to racism, and our programs challenge our young artists, staff, and Board of Directors to foster inclusion and seek equity for all, including Black people, Indigenous peoples, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, people of all economic backgrounds, people of all religions, and people with disabilities. SteppingStone collaborates with families to meet students’ needs, whether they are social, academic, developmental, or physical.

We Believe

Young people are artists, makers, and doers. They need to belong and to contribute to their world. When young people make art together, they change themselves and the world around them for the better.

We Do

SteppingStone ignites belonging, generosity, mastery, self-advocacy, and inspiration by creating art with young people to share with the world.