CLIA provides Expressive Arts activities for parents to learn to play and enjoy joining in with their children.  Here are some helpful hints and creative journal prompts that are easy to use to reflect on what it’s like being a parent without judgement. Find another parent friend and do the exercises together with a cup of tea, you could have lots to share with each other.

Creative Journal: The following is adapted with gratitude from ‘Creative Journal for Children’ by Lucia Capacchione.  Chose a topic and write a journal prompt on the top of a page, e.g. ‘I draw what I like doing, I write about what I draw’.  Children love exploring their feelings and thoughts with pictures and a few words.

CJ for Children prompts

Pancakes in clay and in journal picture by the same child. 2009

Journaling develops themes that carry emotional meaning for the child, this one had a broken family but remembered happy times making pancakes.  He spent many hours making ovens, and pancakes in clay  together with drawings and paint.

‘Being a Parent’ activities:  With special thanks to Jackie Sokolov, the founder of Parent Network, for permission to reprint material contained in the following activity sheets, adapted from their Parent Training Manual:


Click on each to go to a downloadable and printable Sheet

Reflecting Feelings


Reflective listening to yourself

Saying what we feel

Visualise what you want

Suppressing feelings


The following journal activities are adapted with gratitude from ‘Creative Journal for Parents’ by Lucia Capacchione.

How I was Raised worksheet

Nurturing Parent

Peace and Quiet

When I was your age

Play Team members and draw and write with their Right and Left hands in their journals.  Working with the Inner Child, we can begin to feel empathic to the child’s point of view.

During 2004-2005 I worked with Charlie P – someone with a genius for drawing and observing human behaviour – devising multi media home education activities.

He began making home video aged 11yrs, in which I and other friends and members of his family acted as his characters. He became an art student making films about mad, bad and sad characters.  Here is an example of his work while in his teens:

This captures the improvisation and naturalistic footage that caught his imagination, and patches together snapshots from many different videos.  His stories all reflected his experience of the ‘highs and lows’ of life, from the perspective of  someone with a deep sense of humour and an Aspergers’ perfectionism.  He got his BA (Hons) in animation from UWE, Bristol.  He is now (2023) a highly-paid professional animator specialising in educational videos for children with special needs.

HOME EDUCATION – Laughter and Comedy are great educators!

Making a video

I played many roles in the development of drama for home education. As I was trained in improvisation, I had to be careful not to make characters my own, but to ask the child what they think about who, how and what they say and do.

Here are some examples of videos produced by a boy with high visual thinking skills who needed lots of drama, story and visual learning to acquire social and verbal skills.

The first one  involves the child in the character of Ponty the Pig. a very naughty, disobedient character, and my role as Bob Filing was to bounce off Ponty’s reactions in an authentic way so as to make a story.

Here are a couple of characters invented by Juliet and myself at the instructions of our fast learning learner:

The next is part of a DVD menu, and in it Bob Filling tries to eat a shoe, edited to speed up the movements like an old film.  It was years later that we discovered that Charlie Chaplin had made one very similar.

The key principles of making a home video is to support your child firstly in learning how to use the camera, and saving videos on the computer. The next stage is to encourage script writing with storyboards in which images and dialogue can be drafted.  The actors are friends and members of the family, so discussions about the characters and inquiring together about venues and props, create a collaborative feeling.  It is important for the child to initiate ideas and try them out without adults taking over as ‘experts’ – remember it is a drama that is being created, and the child is learning how to be the expert.  Wait until children ask questions, or pose open ended questions as guidelines.


All the production and editing skills he learned transformed into cartoon and animation making skills.  Later when Sam was at University studying for a BA in animation, he helped create the animation for a Norwegian pop group’s children’s song: