Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 In the last month a couple of patients have come into the clinic wanting to make paper airplanes and boats. Using common materials, the patients become sophisticated engineers as they create planes they hope will successfully soar across the clinic and boats that will float in our sink.  Our role as art therapists is to play safety crew making sure the path is clear before take- off and landing!

Ready for take-off

Ready for take-off

 The goal first and foremost is- does the plane fly? Does the boat float?  Sometimes hours are spent just perfecting the design through trial and error. The process of refining the design, changing materials and sometimes starting all over again offers an opportunity for kids to learn resilience and gain confidence.  

Floating the boat

Floating the boat

Making airplanes and boats also allows patients to think about travel and where they might go if their creations could carry them there. Describing the journey, the destination, what and who they would bring with them provides valuable insight into the inner world of the child. For the patient, exploring where they might go helps them imagine a place outside of the hospital and gives voice to the curiosity that most kids have about the world.

Paper airplanes also have a contagious quality. Often, when one person in the art area is creating a paper airplane others come over to join in. As patients share the art table, folding paper airplanes together, friendships can take root.  This is especially valuable for the patients who cannot go to school due to their treatment.  

 paper planes