Making a Good Mistake
Updated: Apr 7
Create some artwork that helps you stay flexible when things go ‘wrong’.
What you’ll need: Paper and something to draw with, (optional) paint and brushes
What’s it for?
This activity helps us to think of different ways to look at things that go ‘wrong’, and to play in a flexible and creative way.
Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
How does your body feel?
Start with a blank piece of paper. Let’s start by drawing a house… but with your eyes closed!
Take a look at your drawing. It probably looks quite different to what you had planned! Take a minute to look again at your drawing and see if you can make it into something else instead. Could the door be a nose instead? Does the roof look like a hat? Maybe the funny shape that was meant to be a window could be turned into a cake!
If you are using paints, try making some drips or random shapes using your colours on the paper. You might even have a picture you tried to make before that went ‘wrong’. How could you add to your drawing to turn it into something else?
You don’t have to stick to using art supplies. Try ripping your paper, scrunching it up into a ball, or stamping on it with your feet. What new creation can you make?
Extra Activity: If you are playing with another person, you could take turns making random marks and lines on your paper for a minute. Take a look at the end and see what pictures you could make using the ‘mess’ you have created!
When you’ve finished creating your artwork, ask yourself the following questions:
How did it feel to try and draw something with your eyes closed?
What did your body feel like when the drawing went ‘wrong’?
What other ideas do you have for changing your picture?
How could you change another activity that goes ‘wrong’, like a Lego project?
Why might it be a good idea to think about things in a new way?
Why might this feel hard sometimes?
What was your favourite part of your creation?
Barney Salzberg says “Every mistake can lead to a beautiful new adventure” in his book Beautiful Oops. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about yourself from this activity?
If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity, or would like to send us any pictures (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!
Created by Heather Dingle © March 2020
Creative Art Used: Art
Psychological Area Explored: Resilience, Emotional Wellbeing, Play, Self-Exploration
References: This activity was based on the book Beautiful Oops!: Saltzberg, Barney (2010): Beautiful Oops! USA: Workman.
These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.
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