Published on
28 January 2021

From 1-7 February, 2021, Children’s Mental Health Week will be exploring the theme Express Yourself. 

Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good. It is about finding a way to show who you are, and how you see the world, that can help you feel good about yourself.

Here we’ve compiled activities, events and resources for parents, children and young people to help families take part in Children’s Mental Health Week.

It’s really important to remember that being able to express yourself is not about being the best at something or putting on a performance for others. It is about finding a way to show who you are, and how you see the world, that can help you feel good about yourself.​​​​

Children’s Mental Health Week Assembly

The Children’s Mental Health Week assembly will be available to all schools and families at 9am on Monday 1 February – and will feature pupils and well-known faces discussing the Express Yourself theme, as well as ways that children and young people can get involved at home. 

As the majority of pupils are now at home, the assembly will provide an easy way to bring the nation's children together (virtually) with a positive message about the power of creative self-expression. Famous faces and contributors will also be taking part live from their homes.

Place2Be

Three young girls dancing in a living room

Place2Be is the children’s mental health charity that launched Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015. Their website hosts a range of resources and activities for parents and young people to get involved in the week.

All of their free resources can be adapted for use in school, for home-schooling, online lessons or independent learning.

Top tips for parents and children to express themselves

A PDF download with suggestions for encouraging your child to express themselves. Exploring their interests, finding new hobbies, focusing on the process of creation and expression rather than the outcome, learning how to listen - 

Draw your feelings activity

A follow-along video where young people are encouraged to draw a picture of how they’re feeling today. 

The squiggle game

A follow-along video where young people draw squiggles and then make pictures out of them, talking about how their creation might be feeling,

Activities from the Art Room

A series of free projects for primary aged children to make at home or school together with parents, carers or teachers designed to nurture relationships whilst having fun making art together. Each project offers space to explore an engaging theme through stories, art and conversation. The activities provided can be adapted to a range of settings with children of different abilities and ages.

Mentally Healthy Schools

Mentally Healthy Schools is a free website for UK primary and secondary schools and further education settings, offering school staff information, advice and practical resources to better understand and promote pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. They’ve got plenty of resources to support parents in talking about mental health with their children. 

Express yourself: Children’s Mental Health Week toolkit

Lots of great resources to help children, staff and families start the mental health conversation.

Children's Mental Health Week 2021: primary assembly and guide

This PowerPoint assembly and accompanying guidance explores why being able to express ourselves matters, and encourages children to think of creative ways they can share their feelings.

Activities for exploring feelings

Three activities designed to help children explore their emotions and feelings, and think about the situations that might trigger those emotions.

Young man and carer writing together

PATHS

The PATHS® Programme for Schools (UK Version) is designed to facilitate the development of self-control, emotional awareness and interpersonal problem-solving skills. They have developed a number of resources to help parents teach their children both the value of being in touch with their emotions and techniques to achieve that.

Below are some of their resources aimed at parents:

Self-awareness

Self-Awareness is the ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior.

Feelings

WHY we learn about feelings, HOW to recognize feelings, how to REGULATE feelings and the importance of emotional CHECK-INs regularly.

Interactive games for families

These games provide opportunities to explore important concepts such as feelings, co-operation, problem-solving, friendships and more. They’ll provide hours of fun - and can be enjoyed by all the family.

Social and Emotional Learning

Games for young learners to practice thinking about and communicating their feelings

Pesky gNATs

Cartoon gnat

Our Swindon Trailblazers Service helps young people who are dealing with feelings of anxiety, worry, low mood and depression, and have introduced a video game to help children and young people think and reflect on their own negative thoughts.

Pesky gNATs was designed to help mental health professionals to teach children how to recognise and challenge Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs) - the anxious thoughts that everyone gets when they’re worried or stressed.

In the game, these thoughts are shown as flying gnats that represent the many types of negative thoughts we can have, like the ‘black and white thinking’ gnat or the ‘it’s a disaster’ gnat. Their sting prompts the young person to think and write within the game about their own thoughts and experiences with those negative thoughts. 

This reflection and expression of their own feelings and worries has been an effective way of changing those unhelpful thinking patterns. 

Further reading

  • Mother and children laughing at a kitchen table

    Improving your families calmness and mindfulness

    Supporting each other through the pandemic can take lots of forms. We've put together some strategies for keeping the family home peaceful.

  • Mother hugging her smiling young daughter

    Getting creative with your kids at home

    Arts and crafts are a way to relax your child's mind and improve their mental health while keeping them creative. Explore our Big Toddle resources to get the creativity flowing.

  • Young family sitting and laughing looking at an ipad

    Emotional Wellbeing

    A range of resources, tool, videos and more focusing on yours and your family's emotional wellbeing.