When are kids ‘In The Zone’?

When are kids ‘In The Zone’?
by Rose du Preez

A Little Bit Of History

I love teaching art to children. It’s time to play when kids enter the art room! Immediately, all sorts of “silliness” starts to happen.  Allowing the kids to become as paint-splattered as they like, is a perfect start to the “crazy-fun”.  Playing and being creative is a great way for kids to express themselves – this excitement while creating art, is universal.

The ‘mess & play’ is a great icebreaker for children. I have noticed that it has helped many of my learners to overcome shyness, calm those who are hyperactive and build confidence in all of them. As learners engaging in art, they get lost in the process – this is called ‘being in the zone’.

For the last 10 years I have worked in the Middle East, first in Bahrain and then in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

I thought I would share some of my Abu Dhabi art classes’ “fun and games” in this blog.

Old Classes: Ages 5 – 7 years


Ema, Amira and Aditi wearing their paint. This painting project was called the “Season Tree”.  The children had loads of fun with a splatter technique for the snow flakes in the winter quadrant. Ema never left the art room without having dotted her face with paint in some or other creative way.


Daniel and Rudolf’s last lesson – After two years with me, this was the best “silliness” ever. They wanted to paint the art room wall as part of their legacy.  I didn’t see any reason to say no!

Old Classes: Ages 6 – 10 years


General “fun and games” abound  (above Ameera (middle) with “Crazy Hands” project and (far right) Naomi with “Bugs in a Jar”

Art classes with children are fascinating as there can be tens of minutes of silence when students slide “into the zone”, then suddenly someone cracks a joke or tells a story of what happened at school that day and the “silliness” and laughter begin again.

Old Classes: Ages 11 years and older


Above Leo & Lara with their versions of “Under the Sea”, and Joanne with her “Bugs in a Jar”.

Children have the capacity for fun and laughter and playfulness which is encouraged and present in art classes. Surrounded by colour and paint and the acceptability of general messiness in an art room, children feel free to express themselves and be happy.

Art is therapeutic and creative – a fantastic recipe to balance our childrens’ lives against the stress of hectic school schedules and life in general.

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“Art encourages children to think, developing skills and confidence as they go.” – MaryAnn F. Khol and Barbara Zabarowski –

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