Children’s Mental Health Week: 1st – 7th February 2021

Place2Be launched the first ever Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015 to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health so that no child has to face mental health problems alone. [1]

This year’s theme for Children’s Mental Health Week (1st – 7th February 2021) is “express yourself”, and we have put together our top 5 activities for children to express their creativity and feelings, and where you can find additional support for your children’s mental health.

Expressing yourself doesn’t mean being the best at something or putting on a performance for others, it’s all about finding a way be who you are and feel good about yourself.

Children's Mental Health Week 2021
Discover 5 ideas for activities to help children (and adults) express themselves

Did you know…?

Around three children in every primary school class suffer from mental health and many more struggle with other challenges including bullying and bereavement.[2]
A survey conducted by the NHS in 2020 found that one in six (16.0%) children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from one in nine (10.8%) reported in 2017.[3]
When children have an activity or hobby, it gives them something to focus on and takes their mind off what worries them. Letting off some steam can make all the difference in helping them feel calm and in building their self-confidence.[4]
We can all feel anxious, scared, sad or stressed, but knowing the tools to calm us down and unwind is essential. Childline’s calm zone has a host of activities and tools which are easily accessible for you.

5 activities to help children express themselves

Spending time participating in different activities is a positive way for children to express themselves in a relaxed environment.

Here are our top 5 ideas for activities to get you started:

1. Get Cooking

Cooking together
Cooking together is a great activity for the whole family

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver to get the kids cooking. Why not try some baking with the children to add in a little bit of fun to help them to express themselves? These biscuit recipes are simple to make and the children can creative with the decoration, and they taste great!

2. Playing a Game

Fun games can take your mind off your worries for a while

Games are activities which the whole family get involved in and are a great activity to learn how to follow rules, take turns, and lets children experience both winning and losing, to relieve stress and to develop social and communication skills.[5]

You could play some board games, or hide and seek around your house, you could get out in the garden and do a treasure hunt, or if you want to get creative, you could even cut some timber cut to size and let the children paint the pieces different colours and make your own Jenga game to play.

3. Expressing creativity

Repainting garden furniture is a great activity for letting children express themselves

Expressing feelings and creativity through Arts & Crafts is a popular form of self-care for all ages.
Why not let your children grab a paint brush and help you spruce up your garden furniture with some fresh colours? Or how about doing some papier-mâché with some PVA glue and scraps of paper you have lying around?

4. Explore the great outdoors

child outdoors
Listening to music or getting outdoors all helps with mental health

Getting outdoors and changing your environment is a good way to boost your mood.[6] Exercise releases endorphins which helps to improve your mood and overall wellbeing.[7]

Gardening is a great way to get outdoors and do something productive. So why not teach the children some new skills and get them involved in repainting your fences, putting down some fresh top soil or stone aggregates, clearing out those weeds, laying some fresh landscaping fabric and planting some new flowers, shrubs or trees, and get your garden looking in tip top shape!

5. And relax….

Time spent alone is important too

Giving children time to themselves so they can wind down and relax in their own way is as important as any physical or creative activity[8]. The Anna Freud Centre has some great suggestions for relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises for when kids are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious.[9]

Resources for supporting children’s mental health:

Whether you are a school, youth group, parent or just want to get information, you can find resources and top tips on the Children’s Mental Health Week website.

You can also find further support here:

If you would like to make a donation, please click here.
All money donated goes directly to the charity. Here are some examples of what your kind donations will be used towards:

  • £7 pays for a child to speak with a qualified counsellor about their worries during a lunchtime session
  • £50 pays for a child struggling with trauma to have a 50-minute one-to-one session with a qualified counsellor. During 2020, Place2Be supported 5,501 students this way
  • £200 provides specialist support for up to 10 parents who are experiencing challenges at home, including abuse and addiction
  • £500 allows over 70 children to book their own appointments to speak with a mental health professional about their worries. 39,641 children and young people booked their own appointments last year
  • £1,000 could fund a full round of one-to-one counselling sessions for two vulnerable children


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