You are asking a big question thatI can only answer incompletely in this context, because art therapists usually spend years in graduate programs and internships to figure this out.
Obviously, the psychological needs of the children should be addressed therapeutically in the work you do with them. This requires you to have a rationale for everything you do with them, from your choice of art materials to the structure and control you exert over the art-based activity. For exemple, on a superficial level, I wouldn't typically give finger paint to a hyperactive child who loses control easily. Markers, oil pastels, chalk pastels, and pencils might offer such a child with a more fullfilling experience. On a deeper level, I think it is important to let children explore and manipulate materials at their leisure, and to "constructively step into the background," as Pat Allen wrote in one of her articles, which I summerized earlier on this website (7-10-00, The Client-Therapist Relationship in Expressive Therapies).
So, let them experiment with the wealth of materials the world had to offer, as long as you know how to use these materials yourself, so that you can preserve a sense of psychological and physical safety.
If a material seems to channel the childrens' energy into something constructive, it is probably a good choice. A small sculpture technique that was introduced by Chicago art therapy pioneer Don Seiden uses aluminum foil. The foil is wadded up and compacted in the desired shape by hand, until it can no longer be reduced. Then, it is covered with a skin of masking tape, which is then painted with acrilic paints.
I think it is better to give broad directives, and to let children decide on the subject matter of their artwork.
To answer your question in a few words: Art Therapists decide what to do with their clients according to what they can do themselves. Look at what your experience is. Ask yourself: What do I know how to do? Then, adapt that to the people you are working with.
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