Like many children, my 4-year-old daughter dreams vividly! As an art therapist, I believe in the importance of making meaning from dream images. Dreams are doorways to our unconscious world and our inner wisdom. For children, dreams are a safe and essential place to explore scary or dangerous shadow material. However, we parents know that being afraid of the dark or having nightmares can be terrifying for a child, and we wish our children “sweet dreams” when tucking them in at night. In that spirit, my daughter and I decided to do an art project together: creating a dreamcatcher for her bedroom.
In the Native American tradition, dreamcatchers are spiderweb-like forms that are meant to catch negativity and allow the positive to filter through. We chose to create her dreamcatcher with materials we already had: a flexible twig from a tree in our yard, a thin purple ribbon (her favorite color), feathers, and a shell she found at the beach last summer.
First, we bent the branch into a circular shape. I wrapped the endpoints tightly with the ribbon and then created a large loop of ribbon to serve as a hanger for the dreamcatcher. Next, I began to weave the web. Traditionally, a bead (or in our case, a shell) is incorporated during the weaving to symbolize the spider. Feathers are generally hung from the dreamcatcher. To empower your child, let s/he choose items to include that hold significance. There are online tutorials for weaving that are surprisingly simple for adults or an older child (10+). I used these easy-to-follow instructions.
My daughter was thrilled to hang her purple dreamcatcher above her bed! Next, she wants to create a dream journal to draw pictures of her dreams when she wakes up!