Family Activity Inspired by Swoon’s Tree of Life in Swoon: Seven Contemplations

Swoon’s Tree of Life in Swoon: Seven Contemplations asks us to reflect on our emotions. In this activity developed by Horizon Health Services, we’re going to create a My Tree of Strength drawing.

    Installation view of Swoon: Seven Contemplations at Albright-Knox Northland. Photograph by Brenda Bieger and Amanda Smith.

    Getting Started

    Today we are going to draw a tree. But this is not just any tree. This tree is a tree of strength. This tree is special because it is going to show all the different things that help you stay strong through hard times.


    • Paper
    • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils

    Artmaking Activity

    1. Draw your tree’s trunk. You can use your hand to help: Put your hand on the paper, spread your fingers, and trace your hand, leaving the area around the tips of your fingers open.

    2. Draw the branches of your tree. From the ends of the open parts of your fingertips, draw lines in different directions to create more tree branches.

    3. Draw many big leaves on your branches. On each leaf, write or draw one thing that helps you get through a difficult time. It could be a person, something special about you, something you can do to feel better, or something you love. (It may help to draw the person or thing first, and then draw the leaf around it, so you know how big to make the leaf.)

    4. Fill in the tree trunk. You can just color it in, or you can write things on the trunk about how you feel when you feel strong and supported. Maybe things like joy, gratitude, strength, love.


    Emotions: feelings such as joy, anger, or sadness; strong emotions can be accompanied by physical changes such as an increase in pulse, crying, or trembling

    Reflect: to think about or ponder