Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Musings on the Creator in Me

Nurturing Creativity in a Family Setting

Long before my computer crashed (for the 4th time in less than a year), I had Amanda Blake Soule's blog, SouleMama, pegged in my favourites list. So when I stumbled across a book in our local library entitled, The Creative Family and saw that it was by Amanda Soule, I felt like I'd found a book written by someone I know. It's a delightful book of "simple projects and activities for you and your children" that now has a half a dozen or so bookmarks of ideas I'd  like to try with our family. And it got me thinking about the ways in which DH and I have been working to nurture creativity within our family. I narrowed it down to three broad categories that provide a framework for our endeavours: Resources, Models, and the Union of Work and Play. I'll elaborate with some specifics in hopes that perhaps you will recognize what you're already doing to foster your family's creativity -- or you will be inspired to explore some new options.

While sometimes it can devolve into the curse of clutter (at which point we freecycle or sell!), we find it very difficult to pass up resources that might be even remotely useful in fostering a creative spirit in our children. Here are some of the things that came to mind as I contemplated our accumulation:
  • creative idea books (related to drawing, painting, creating costumes, building, quilting, cooking, paper crafting, seasonal activities, etc.)
  • art supplies (including beads, crayons, markers, coloured pencils, paint, various kinds of paper, fabric, pastels, clay, adhesives, decorative scissors, sparkles, stickers, materials from the recycling bin, etc.)
  • books about art and artists
  • reproductions of famous art (sometimes just in postcard size)
  • costumes/dress-up clothes (including animal outfits, shoes, dresses, scarves, hats, shirts, accessories)
  • journals (different ones for nature study, art, writing, ideas)
  • technology (including computers and cameras for making movies, photography, fort designs, dream house designs, blogging)
  • instruments (recorders, harmonicas, drums, cymbals, maracas, piano -- and a karaoke machine for those that like to belt it out, loud and clear :)
  • space (usually multi-purpose -- both indoor and outdoor)

Some great art tools that I won in an online contest :)

Clowning around: dressing up -- just for fun.
While I would like to say that we have an abundance of original art adorning our walls, inspiring our children and visitors, we don't. But of course we know that "creativity" goes well beyond art, and it is important for families to see it in action in a variety of ways. So here are some of the ways I've noted that we endeavour to show real life creativity as it exists in the lives of young and old:
  • Mom - The children observe me creating art, scrapbooking, decorating seasonally, cooking/baking, making gifts, writing/blogging, journaling (art, nature, prayer), and sewing.
  • Dad - DH can be seen woodworking, re-purposing (such as turning beds into benches, and windows into photo frames), cooking/baking, designing  and building furniture, constructing functional things around the house, decorating, scrapbooking, composing, directing dramas, singing, making gifts, and drawing.  
  • displays of family art work
  • visiting art galleries (and participating in hands-on activities)
  • touring community places where people use or display their creativity, including farms, gardens, apiaries, gift shops
  • Family Art Day, where Mom, Dad, and all the children participate in a collaborative piece of art

While purchasing food for our dog at a local alpaca farm, we witnessed the BIRTH of this little white lady named "Lola". In addition to that wonder of creation, we also got to see and feel several wonderful products that are created with alpaca fur.
   Union of Work and Play:
I'm not always very good at making learning fun, but I am working at providing opportunities for my children to enjoy being creative while working. Here are just a few ideas along those lines:
  • during read-alouds, they may be engaged in quiet creativity, including drawing, colouring, building, and imaginative play with small figures -- as long as they can demonstrate their attentiveness by participating in discussions about the readings.
  • incorporating a creative component to academic assignments (such as building a model of a scene from a novel, participating in an activity enjoyed by a character in a book, making a poster, writing a story that extends from the end of a book, re-enacting a component of something we've studied)
  • building character by being required to play (so if two sibs have been at each other, they might be required to play a jointly-selected game together in order to restore peace)
  • having the freedom to plan a menu for a family meal, then prepare it
  • setting the table for mealtime with their own personal flair

Exploring new vistas while listening to The Boy Knight
 This is just a glimpse of some of the ways we can encourage creativity within our families. Do you have any other ideas? Please share them in a comment -- I'd love to be inspired by them!


  1. Great post, Paula. I love that idea of modelling a scene from a novel. Making a shadow box into a room or a house has seemed like this faraway kind of great idea. You inspire me to do it. Helen's reading about Ann Frank....maybe we will make a model of their annex. Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Missy :) It's funny that you mentioned Helen -- I was JUST thinking of her seconds before I read your comment! :)


Sincere responses . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...