Back Painting

5 min Kids Activity Learning & Wisdom, Music & Art
Teach kids the importance of asking for permission and using kindness and respect when touching others.
Back Painting

This compassion-building activity is inspired by the Peaceful Touch program, which was developed by the Axelsons Institute in Sweden and is currently used by 10,000 trained teachers. This activity reminds kids that they are the owners of their bodies and shows them how to assert boundaries around acceptable touch. As a bonus, massage has a relaxing effect and stimulates feel-good chemicals, like oxytocin, which can promote social bonding.

Step 1

Set everyone up in groups of two.

Step 2

Tell them, “We are going to pretend our partner’s back is a canvas and use kind and gentle touch to draw on their back with our hands.”

Step 3

Have each pair decide who will be the painter first.

Step 4

Instruct the painters to ask their partner for permission to touch their back by saying, “May I draw on your back with my hand?”

Step 5

After they receive permission, have each painter start by “erasing” their partner’s back with the palm of their hand.

Step 6

Give kids prompts on what to paint. For example, they might try making clouds, raindrops, a sun, or a cat’s paws walking up and down their partner’s back. If you’d like, make it into a story (e.g., the caterpillar slowly climbed up the tall tree). End by drawing a smiling face to symbolize friendship.

Important

Give the receiver permission to tell the painter if they require any adjustments to be comfortable, such as “That’s too hard. Can you please do it lighter?” Tell the receiver that they are in charge of their own body.

  • Teaches children the importance of asking for permission and using kindness and respect when touching others.
  • Relaxes and stimulates feel-good chemicals, like oxytocin, which can promote social bonding.