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Drawing on the themes of mindfulness, mother nature and emotional development in Tania Louise Smith’s picture book, Not Too Far From My Back Door, today we will be focusing on expressing feelings through painting pictures of various landscapes. Children will be able to understand that art can be a therapeutic activity for discussing and showing how we feel, and as a way to develop different artistic techniques. 

*Not Too Far From My Back Door is written by Tania Louise Smith, illustrated by Archv Art, published by Tania Louise Smith, November 2019.


Key Curriculum Areas: Early Years Learning Framework

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity    

Children feel safe, secure, and supported

Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing              

Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners

Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators

Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

Reference: Early Years Learning Framework


Age Range 

4 – 6 years



Look at the cover of ‘Not Too Far From My Back Door’. What do you think the title means? What do you think the child and teddy are doing? How are they feeling?

Think of a time when you felt sad. What helped to make you feel better? What did you say to yourself?

What might the words ‘tired tears’ and ‘sunken heart’ tell about how the child is feeling?

As you read through the story, discuss how the child’s feelings change from start to end. What were some of things / places that changed the child’s feelings?

Look at the different landscapes and how the author has described what they do. For example, ‘”Come slumber in my shade, sweet child”, the softly spoken trees suggested.‘ What sort of emotions does this suggest?

Study the illustrations. Think about the way the colours are used. Look closely at the brush strokes and other artistic techniques. How do they make you feel?

Make a list of some emotions or feelings. Next to them, write some colour words and artistic techniques that could represent those emotions. For example, Anger: red, dark, fast, hard, sharp, and so on.


Art Therapy Activity

Objective: To represent different emotions through painting landscapes, thinking about use of colour and technique.



Large piece of paper

Coloured acrylic paints



Pencil (optional)



  1. Either, divide your paper into four boxes for each ’emotion landscape’, OR use four separate pieces of paper.

2. Decide which four landscapes you’d like to paint, and how to represent each with a different emotion. The ones we chose were: mountain, ocean / horizon, field of flowers, forest of trees.

Mountain = Anger, Depression, Grief, Fear. Technique: short, hard strokes, daubs

Ocean = Calm. Technique: smooth lines

Field of Flowers = Happiness, Brightness. Technique: swirls, flicks, texture

Forest of Trees = Sadness, Mystery. Technique: specks and splats

Reflection: Discuss how each painting makes you feel. Why did you paint it this way? Do any of these reflect any worries you have? Did the art therapy activity help to make you feel better?

#arttherapy #emotionallandscapes #mindfulness #mentalhealth


Follow Tania Louise Smith at the following links:

Website: www.tanialouisesmith.com

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Not Too Far From My Back Door is available to purchase at Tania Louise Smith’s store.

A #BookGiveaway for Big and Little People!

Click here to go in the running to WIN a copy of the stunning Not Too Far From My Back Door.

Experience all the emotions with Tania Louise Smith and her stunning picture book, Not Too Far From My Back Door, with special appearances at the following media sources…


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