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  • Writer's pictureGHF CAT Team

Three Boxes

Use imagery of packing up boxes to explore your thoughts around what you'd like to change or keep the same. What you’ll need: Paper and something to draw with What’s it for? This activity helps you reflect on how you have felt over a period of time, and gives you a way to explore your hopes for the future. This can help you recognise positive and negative emotions while nurturing a positive outlook for the future. Check In: 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?


  • On your paper, draw three boxes that look like cardboard packing boxes or shoe boxes. Make sure they are large enough to draw or write inside of them. You might like to try drawing 3D boxes by drawing two squares that overlap and connecting all four corners with a line.

  • The first box is going to be the one we 'get rid of'. Imagine you are clearing out a cupboard and putting aside clothes that no longer fit or toys you no longer play with. You might put them in a box to give away or put in the bin. Similarly, in this first box you can write or draw the things you would like to 'get rid of' from the last year (or any period you'd like to think about). You might draw a picture of a time you felt sad and worried, or perhaps write about a time you felt bored or embarrassed.

  • The second box the one to 'keep'. If you were moving to a new home, you might pack up your possessions carefully so that they are ready for you when you get to the new home. In this box, draw or write about things you valued or enjoyed in the last year. Perhaps you had a fun day at the park, or maybe you are proud of yourself for getting better at a subject that used to be really hard. What are some things you'd like to 'keep' and remember?

  • Before filling in your third box, draw a large ribbon box on the top of the box. This box looks like a present you might get at a birthday party! You don't know what is inside it, but there might be things you are hoping to receive or that you've asked for. Inside this box, draw or write about the things you are hoping for in the months or years ahead. These could be objects, like a game console you'd like to own, or dreams of a place or experience you would like such as going to see your favourite team play!

  • Now that you have finished filling up your three boxes, perhaps you would like to share what you have created with someone you trust at home or over a video chat.

Extra Activity: If you have any extra boxes or cardboard at home, you could try creating three actual boxes. You might write down your thoughts for each box on slips of paper that you could put inside them as you think about the things you would like to leave, keep, and hope for the future. When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What were some of your favourite things to remember during this activity?

  • During this activity you might have decided to think about just a short period of time, such as a week at school, or perhaps you thought of a longer period such as a whole year. What made you think of the time you chose?

  • Were there any special people you thought about while you were drawing and writing? Who are they?

  • If you could really 'get rid of' your first box, what would you do to it? How would you feel getting rid of these more difficult feelings?

  • What are you most hoping comes true from your third box, the 'gift'?

Conclusion: This activity helps you reflect on positive and negative experiences, as well as taking time to dream about the future. This can help you become more aware of your emotional wellbeing and develop a positive outlook. 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 ( Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities! Created by Heather Dingle © January 2021


Creative Arts Used: Art Psychological Areas Explored: Resilience, Emotional Wellbeing

If you enjoyed this activity, you might also like: Changing Landscapes: Explore feelings of anger and calm by drawing them as a landscape. 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. This website was made by CAT Corner to help you explore your feelings through fun creative arts activities. The people using the website and the people responsible for them need to make sure they stay safe (full disclaimer on About page).

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