© Piros Orr

Artistic Tools


11 posts found


In our experience through ClowNexus, people with dementia and autistic children can both enjoy art because it engages their senses, lets them express themselves without words, gives them a sense of structure and freedom, and helps them remember and share emotions. Art is a way for us all to connect and communicate.

Intention: Create a structured entrance that establishes an instant, poetic, playful connection. It serves to prepare a group of children for collective activities.

Enter the space where the children are with a suitcase, accompanied by a “hello song.” 

The suitcase contains items needed to sow the seeds of wonder that will blossom into joyful play.  

The suitcase or a similar container generates curiosity and signals that the day will be filled with more surprises and excitement.  

It motivates children to actively participate in the play. Initially, the suitcase can serve as the primary focus, as children are intrigued by its sound and texture, exploring and attempting to open it. It unifies the entire group and the space in which the children gather. 

(Note: Earth = golden fabric; Seed = a music egg; a bucket, bubbles = water; Sun = a yellow scarf)

Intention: Engage in imaginative play together. 

Description: Clowns use fairy tales as a foundation for shared clowning activities. They adopt various roles, and children are encouraged to join in.  

Fairy tales serve as a structural framework for the visit, guiding children from beginning to end. With the assistance of the clowns, children learn to follow the story and discover their preferred roles within it.  

This kind of play enables them to be active or passive participants, fostering a deeper connection between mind and body. 

Create a whimsical atmosphere and employ props. It is helpful to begin with a familiar story known to the children and, once the method is established, introduce new stories.

Intention: Connecting with the child through rhythm.  

By reacting to the sounds and rhythm of the music, the child responds either vocally or through movement, transforming the encounter into a conversation/jam session.  

This encounter acts as an example of communication and exchange without words.  

By listening to the rhythm, the child can respond by walking, playing, moving, and vocalising.  

There is also the option to incorporate instruments and invite the child to play with the instrument or join in as they prefer.

Intention: Forge connections, sing together, provide a musical impulse. 

We start with a well-known and simple song upon our arrival. The familiarity of the music immediately invites the audience to join in.  

The song serves to establish connections and create an inviting atmosphere in the room.  

As we move around the room, we play with the volume of the music and our distance from the audience.  

During our playful interactions, we gradually decrease the volume of the music and leave the room, only to return after a while, resuming the same melody sequence. 

Develop the game of disappearing and reappearing step by step.  

Initially, allow the melody to disappear. Music acts as a strong impulse; residents can restart it at will.  

Initiating the melody anew imparts a sense of security, while reappearing adds an element of playfulness.

Intention: Connect, engage, and empower, altering the atmosphere. 

Our initial impulse is our presence; we allow time for everyone to settle into the space.  

To initiate a connection, we call out each person’s name with a rhythmic and melodic touch. 

Singing one’s own name serves as a powerful catalyst and an invitation to establish a connection, often evoking deep emotions.  

We take our time to connect and observe reactions, gradually building the melody based on the responses we receive from the person whose name we are singing. Strong emotional reactions guide our improvisation, allowing us to play with music and transform the atmosphere freely. 

It is essential to be familiar with individuals’ names. Singing their names is akin to offering a gift and creating a profound connection, sometimes eliciting powerful emotional responses. 

Intention: connection, repetition, nostalgia 

We arrive with music, with a well-known song from the past. 

This music serves as the initial invitation to join us, instantly capturing attention, tapping into emotional memories, and creating an immediate connection. 

To infuse the interaction with playfulness, we create simple and fun choreography for the audiences. 

The choreography centers around various body parts, each with its unique set of moves, involving hands, feet, the nose, and more. 

We warmly invite the audience to partake in these lively movements, creating a collective dancing activity filled with shared enjoyment.

Additionally, this approach serves as an effective tool for capturing and maintaining attention, helping to guide and focus the participants. 

Keep the choreography straightforward and easy to follow, with a focus on increasing the fun factor rather than complexity as we build up the activity. 

Give enough time for the audiences to join in and fully enjoy the movements.

Intention: creating a sensation of travelling, recalling memories, activating imagination 

The invitation is to travel together and the central theme is storytelling, accompanied by the creation of a train-like atmosphere. 

Starting with the suggestion of sounds and voices reminiscent of a busy train station, the journey begins by moving through the audience as if there’s a rush to catch the train. 

This initial phase offers opportunities for connection and establishing engagement. 

Through the use of music and carefully crafted sounds, we transport ourselves to the bustling train station, setting the stage for our collective adventure. 

Before embarking, we ensure that everyone has joined us, thereby stirring memories and prompting imaginative play. 

Upon reaching our seaside destination, a multitude of possibilities emerges, enriched by sensory elements such as blue fabric, the gentle sounds of water, and the tactile sensation of temperature. 

These elements add depth to our play.

As our journey concludes, we make the return trip by train, mirroring the initial game, creating a coherent framework for our entire encounter. 

Throughout, we maintain a keen awareness of sound and movement to prevent overwhelming sensory stimulation. 

We prioritise simplicity in our communication, ensuring clarity in each part of the journey.

Intention: changing the atmosphere, making residents feel beautiful, recalling memories 

Clowns introduce an activity by bringing in vintage objects to decorate and transform the space, evoking a nostalgic retro party atmosphere. 

These objects, such as a knitted tablecloths, a vintage vinyl record player, jewellery, and scarves, serve as a bridge to the past, triggering cherished memories and setting the stage for a joyous celebration. 

Residents are warmly invited to participate and have fun together. We engage them by helping them dress up in costume, and involve them in the process of selecting old songs, creating a sense of collective ownership and contribution.

The creation of the party atmosphere unfolds gradually, step by step, to prevent overwhelming residents with sensory stimuli. 

As this activity can evoke strong emotions and memories, be sure to provide enough space for residents to experience and live their feelings freely. 

Creating the party, listening to music and dancing together raises the energy and brings joy.  

Intention: connecting, refreshing the atmosphere. 

Music serves as the foundation, and dancing acts as a tool for exploring various levels of synchronised movement. 

We provide the impulse and extend invitations through both tactile and non-tactile movement. 

We offer suggestions for discovering the joy of dancing by exclusively involving specific body parts. 

Our focus lies in attending to sensory impulses through touch, engaging with the airflow generated by our movements, and creating opportunities for observation and enjoyment while watching others dance. 

Everyone observing is encouraged to join in the collective joy.

A careful and considerate approach is essential when dealing with sensory impulses and physical touch. 

Each interaction is presented as a suggestion, always respecting the individual’s need for acceptance. 

Participation in the physical activity is open to all residents, allowing everyone to join freely. 

Those who prefer to observe rather than actively participate also contribute to the joyful atmosphere, fostering a sense of inclusivity and shared delight.

Intention: Awaken interest, group connection 

Two clowns enter with lively music and a mysterious suitcase, making the children very curious.. 

They  open the suitcase and inside there’s an instrument. They play with it a little and then put it back in the case. 

Upon arrival, the idea is to get the children interested in the mysterious content of the suitcase. 

There is a surprise in there, that needs to be discovered together as a group. . 

The clowns initiate a delightful ritual, knocking on the suitcase, asking if it’s ready to reveal its secrets. 

The suitcase playfully resists, presenting various tasks like knocking five times, cleaning it with a scarf, blowing on it, or singing a melody. 

Finally, with a sense of magic, the suitcase opens, revealing a treasure – the instruments. Inside are many instruments that can then be explored and played with. 

Some children join the group, while others explore independently, and a few receive assistance from the staff. 

It’s a joyful, interactive experience that fosters both group cohesion and individual expression. 

It can be less stressful if every child is focused on their own activity, instead of making them wait for an activity to start.

Intention: Connecting with a group of children, creating a safe atmosphere before starting other activities

A group of children sit in a half-circle. Two clowns approach, one playing music, the other using an object like a scarf to highlight the movements and attract attention. 

They start singing the childrens’ names one by one. This helps to establish a safe and familiar space before doing more activities together.. 

Children should be informed in advance about the clowns/artists’ visit. 

It also helps if children are wearing name tags on their chests or next to their chair to make the singing process smooth, ask teachers/parents for help with this. 

Consider every encounter with each child as a celebration of their name and who they are.