Art boxes supporting parents and infants to share creative interactions at home: an art based response to improve wellbeing during Covid-19 restrictions

V G Armstrong (Lead / Corresponding author), J. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
147 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: This article seeks to demonstrate the impact of distributing boxes of art resources and guided activities for vulnerable parents and infants to do together at home. Study design: Designed in conjunction with the local arts centre and the psychology team at the University of Dundee, the art boxes were a response to planned face-to-face art interventions with families being cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The aim of the art boxes is to encourage parents to make art together with their infants, fostering connection through playful, creative shared experiences. This research is currently being expanded to reach out to new families through referrals from health visitors, family nurses, and charity partners.

Methods: Data is being collected on how the art boxes are experienced by families using a mixed-methods approach. Families complete feedback cards (online, or using the stamped addressed card included in the box) rating their experience on quantitative scales and providing open comments. Visual data are gathered through parents sharing images with us on social media. An initial sample of 10 participants has been interviewed using semistructured interviews, allowing more in-depth qualitative understanding of their experiences. These preliminary findings are discussed here.

Results: The thematic analysis of initial interviews provided a rich picture of the disconnection families experienced during lockdown, why art boxes may be beneficial to parental well-being, and the mechanisms by which the boxes may help to develop connections for the parent and infant together.

Conclusions: Preliminary findings show parents reporting feeling more confident and undertaking new activities which they plan to continue. This was of particular importance during lockdown where parents report opportunities for different experiences being more limited. Parent's describe positive playful interactions and reported improvements to their own well-being from doing creative activities together with their child. Analysis of these initial interviews gives a framework of barriers and supports to connection which highlights how art boxes can facilitate connectedness between dyads with the potential to strengthen attachments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-112
Number of pages4
JournalPublic Health
Early online date26 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Arts in health
  • Attachments
  • Connection
  • Parent-infant
  • Participative arts
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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