1, 2, 3, Color Me

Sitting quietly and coloring together is a stress-reliever for adults and children alike.

During and after a traumatic experience, our brains may be “hijacked” by fear, anxiety, or anger. Doing a nonverbal activity such as coloring or a jigsaw puzzle together can help us reconnect with others and get “unstuck.” Print and color this page together (you might first read Zozo’s story and learn more about him here).

As you color together, help children write the names of people they and their family can count on. Children might also draw on the back of the page. Explain that drawing is a great way to show how you feel, using no words at all! If possible, display their work.

Once you finish, you can also introduce the idea of “Goodness Goggles.” Explain that people caring for each other and looking out for one another is one important thing that makes a community special. When children live among “hot spots and hot people”—places and people that are not safe—it helps to recognize that those people and places do not represent the entire community. You can help children recognize and identify with what’s positive and special in a community so that when they encounter danger, they can tell themselves, “That’s not me, that’s not my whole neighborhood, that’s not my story!” In places where scary things happen, it helps to “look for the good.”

Create “goggles” with each hand by touching your thumb and index fingers on each hand together, and hold your hands up to your eyes to look like glasses. Tell children these are “goodness goggles” that can help us see the good, especially when everything seems bad.

Invite children to look around for things that represent kindness, sharing, or helping (such as children sharing a toy, a collaborative mural, or plants you are growing together). Suggest that they put on their goodness goggles whenever they’re out in their community: They might notice people working together in a community garden, someone helping a senior citizen onto a bus, a group of people singing or playing instruments together, clothes/food/toy drives, and so on.