The healing power of art

Lesson plan overview

This English lesson plan explores art as a therapeutic tool to help people cope with emotions. It includes useful vocabulary about art supplies, idioms with colors used to express emotions, a short video and different art therapy activities ideas. You can combine it with “Idioms: art and creativity

Vocabulary: After an initial discussion, students learn vocabulary about art supplies (watercolors, canvas, stencils, clay etc.). Then they look into a few sentences describing the benefits of art and learn expressions used to talk about emotions (cope with, take your mind off things, me-time). They practice with a gap-fill exercise and a few conversation questions given.
Video: Next, students watch a short video “The mental health benefits of art” and complete 2 different activities. (a gap-fill and a note-taking activity).
After the video, students look at different art therapy ideas and discuss which ones they have tried in the past, which ones they would like to try and the supplies they would need to do each one.
Idioms: Students learn different idioms related to colors and emotions (see red, green with envy, tickled pink, off-color). First they look at different colors and talk about the emotions each one might represent. Then they are given the idioms and after that they choose the correct idiom to complete 7 sentences.
The last 2 activities are speaking activities: Students complete a few sentences so that they are true for them and lastly, they look at 4 photos and describe the emotions people are feeling using the idioms they’ve learnt.
The conversation cards provide additional speaking opportunities as well as a way to revise the target vocabulary from this lesson in another class.
This lesson plan will work great in combination with the lesson plans: “Do limits boost creativity“, “Time to take a mental health day?“, “Self-care” and the worksheets “Idioms: Art and creativity” and “Phrasal verbs: emotions

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

In my private practice most of the adults who come to see me want to come to art therapy.
The adults who come to art therapy, of course, have adult issues, and those range from mood disorders like depression and anxiety, to grief and loss or anger, self-esteem issues and trauma so the artwork is a really great bridge, a safe way to open up that dialogue.
I usually say create an image.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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