As a speech-pathologist for teenagers, I am constantly trying to find ways to keep them engaged in their learning.
Oftentimes, when we meet our students for the first time, they give us death-stares and tell us they wanted to be dismissed from therapy before they even get to hear our “Speech isn’t that bad” talk.
After almost nine years of working in education, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to introduce myself and a great way to get to know my kids, is to do “Dream Boards.” I make a new one each year because, let’s face it, our priorities and dreams change as our life develops. Just like our kids, we are ever-evolving, and it’s important to learn what kids want.
What is a Dream Board?
A dream board, or a vision board, is a collage of images, affirmations, and words that represent one’s goals – who they want to be, what they want to do, what they want to have in their life, among other things.
They’re designed as a source of inspiration and motivation and can be a really powerful tool for both adults and children alike.
For kids, dream boards can be a really positive and encouraging way to foster self-confidence as they serve as a source of inspiration and a regular reminder of their hopes and goals.
Steps for Making a Board
At school, I’ve made these with just paper, magazines, and markers. If you want to make it easier to redo every year, a corkboard and tacks would be a better choice!
You’ll also need a variety of magazines and a pair of scissors, and markers, washi tape, a notebook, and a pen or pencil are optional, but recommended. I use markers with my high school students because they are old enough to not draw on themselves, but feel free to use crayons or washable markers with your younger kiddos.
Do a visualization. As adults, we most often focus our vision boards on the coming year, but with kids I think it’s easier to open it up and focus on the future in general.
Before beginning the visualization, talk about how the future can be next week, next year, or even when they’re an adult. Turn on some calm music and invite your child to get comfortable, close their eyes, and envision what they want their future to look like. You may want to gently prompt their visualization with some guiding questions.
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So what are some of these guiding questions?
- Where do you see yourself in a year?
- What is your favorite hobby?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What do you want to achieve?
- Where do you want to live?
Find or create images, words, and phrases. Something you’ll want to be mindful of here is that your magazine selection reflects your child’s interests and includes people who look like them.
Invite your child to flip through the magazines to find images and text to represent their future dreams. As they go, you can keep asking them some of those guiding questions to help them choose images easier.
Encourage them to use paper, markers, and washi tape to create their own images, affirmations, and words in order to fill in any gaps or to add to the images they found.
Create your dream board. Ask your child to sort through their images and words and group them how they see fit. Next, help them play with placement and overlapping on their work surface to create mini layouts that are visually appealing to them.
As they’re ready, have them tack their clippings and creations onto their cork board using the minimum number of tacks required. Encourage them to switch things up as needed, only fully tacking things down when everything is in place and they’re happy with how it looks.
This activity is great for stress release, creativity, and gives you a chance to bond and connect with your child. It works on language, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills without being boring!
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