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Seattle artist creates app to teach kids mindfulness through creativity

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Catherine Mayer has created what's called the LAUGH app. "Laugh" stands for Let Art Unleash Great Happiness. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE--In the heart of downtown, just a few yards from all the day-to-day chaos, artist Catherine Mayer is in her studio, creating a little calm. She is surrounded by her work. But her latest endeavor is less easel and more iPad.

Mayer created what's called the LAUGH app. "Laugh" stands for Let Art Unleash Great Happiness.

Her target audience is kids ages 4 through 12. We watched 4-year old Kalea and 6-year old Finn give it a test run. A cartoon ant led them through simple art exercises and encouraged them to slow down.

"In the beginning, sometimes they want to go faster because they're programmed. We're all like, where's the next button? Where's the next button? Fast forward, fast forward," Mayer said.

The Seattle Children's Research Institute tested the app on several-dozen children.

They found when kids combined art with breathing exercises, they had lower heart rates and higher concentration levels.

"I was passionate about, not just creating an app because that's not my goal, but to actually have medical evidence saying using this app, we can say medically shows significant results," Mayer said.

She hopes teachers and parents will turn to the free app when their kids want screen time but also need a dose of mindfulness.


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