Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I don't consider myself a creative person. Not artistically anyway. I could blame that on a couple of middle school teacher experiences, but more than that it probably has to do with a perfectionistic leaning that seems to flair up when it comes to things of "permanence" - such as painting or tie dying. I've tried not to pass this on to the kids with some success. So far no one has jumped both feet into the visual arts, but they are quite willing to engage in a variety of projects for their own enjoyment and benefit - including such things as duck tape clothing (and other items), other types of clothing decoration and creation, drawing, painting, cardboard construction, "cooking dangerously" and others that aren't coming to mind at the moment. Many of these things they pursue at home and for those that are beyond the scope of my experience or willingness to indulge the mess I find other places and opportunities. This is the mom that I am and I'm [mostly] okay with that.
When I saw this months carnival topic I strongly considered not submitting anything. I don't have a great tutorial to offer nor any ideas for creative stimulation that belong in Family Fun. But as I pondered the question of how we create as a family I began to feel like there was a bit of something that I could share.
In our family we create with ideas. I am fairly introspective (everyone who knows me can make sarcastic gasps now) and tend toward big picture thinking. I like to synthesize ideas, concepts, opportunities. This is what we do together. We think, we ponder, sometimes we put these into action either ourselves or by stimulating others to act. If a child approaches me with some thought about the universe or the things in it that they've run across we look at it, discuss it, explore complementary and contrasting ideas. It is critically important to me that my children see ideas as questionable and facts as manipulable. Not that I'm a complete relativist - but only that it is as important (if not more important) to know the question that was asked and by who in relation to the answer that was given than the answer itself.
So how does this look in our family? Mostly lots of talking with each other and among friends who have different points of view and different life experiences. "What if" questions make regular appearances. Just as an artist might ask and trial "what if I painted this blue?" or "what if I draped the fabric this way?" we might ask "what if this person was still alive?" or "what if scientists had looked at this part of the question instead?" There is also a lot of "why" even past the age of three. "Why do you believe this particular "truth" of this one?" or "Why do you interpret and then act on these words or actions in the way that you do?" or even "Why were these assumptions made prior to even engaging in exploration?"
It isn't the way we normally think of creativity and there is nothing to hang on the wall to show off to the grandparents, but I believe that many of the mental exercises are the same. A willingness to try new things, experiment, and possibly fail. However these experiences are achieved I think that they contribute to a vital and fulfilling life and I hope it is something that my children keep with them through adulthood.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Family Draw Time Art Show — Kate Wicker shares art (and inspiration!) from her family's cherished tradition of family draw time.
- The Rules of Creativity: Learning to Create with the "Non-Creative" — Zoe at Give an Earthly shares how she learned to accept her "non-creative" child and claims that anyone, child or adult, can be creative given the right handling and environment.
- Creating With Kids: 4 Ways That Work For Us — See how Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings nurtures creativity with her kids through craft projects, outdoor creative play, celebrating the creative process, and setting up "little spaces of beauty."
- Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how 'creating together' has evolved from 'things' to memories.
- The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is already thinking about winter.
- Hidden Talents — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how providing the opportunity for creativity sometimes means learning to look for hidden talents in unusual places.
- Creating Joy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she and her one year-old son create joy for their community.
- How to do Crafts with Kids — Gaby from Tmuffin guest posts at Natural Parents Network and describes how to keep things simple when doing crafts with kids for magical (easy-to-clean, and tantrum-free) results.
- Sugar & Spice & Baking on the Kitchen Floor — Carrie at Love Notes Mama enjoys making a mess in the kitchen with her daughter.
- Young Scientist Makes Purple Potion — Hannah at Wild Parenting loves being a lab assistant for the young scientist in her life.
- Making a butterfly house — Lauren at Hobo Mama demonstrates the proper way to build a wooden butterfly house with a preschooler.
- Nurturing Creativity — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares the enjoyment she feels in nurturing the creativity of her children.
- Home School Music - Sparking A New Generation Of Musicians — Based on her musical background, Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she creates with and teaches music to her children.
- Creating (im)perfectly Together — Mudpiemama shares some of the highlights of a summer spent building everything from ships to hoops but most of a lesson on letting go of perfection.
- Family Soccer Kick Around — When her children wanted to play soccer, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children helped organize something that would work for her family.
- Creating Memories Together on Skype — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how you can create memories online with adult children or anyone who lives in another city or country.
- We'll always have Halloween: Creating costumes for kids — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is not the craftiest mom on the block, but she does make a mean homemade Halloween costume.
- Let's Make Juice! — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment shares about the benefits of juicing with kids, as well as a quick recipe.
- Everything's Better When It's Homemade — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro praises the art of homemade goods.
- Creating the Opportunity for Art — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how her family has created an environment conducive to art.
- 10 Easy and Functional Crafts Preschoolers Can Do with Minimal Assistance — Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers ten easy crafts preschoolers can do while sitting near parents — but they don't need a lot of parental help. Added bonus: all of these ten ideas double as something functional (gifts, decor, educational).
- Creating with Kids: Singing Together — Ana at Pandamoly details the important role music takes in her household and provides a quick (and easy!) tutorial for creating fun songs to sing together!
- Create This — jessica at instead of institutions considers different aspects of creativity including those without an end product.
- Make Your Own Pocket Bib — A tutorial from Amy at Anktangle on how to make two simple and quick bibs to keep your little one clean at the table.
- Creating Together in the Kitchen — Despite not feeling "crafty," Momma Jorje finds a way to create and connect with her toddler.
- An Artist-Mama's Perspective — In this post, Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the differences between her choice of artistic outlet and her son's, and how they embrace those differences together.
- Heart of the Home — Jona at Life, Intertwined shares some highlights of cooking with kids.
- Getting creative with kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how much she enjoys watching her daughter getting creative.
- Creating with Children - The Nature/Seasonal Table — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama celebrates the rhythm of the natural world with her toddler through the creation of a seasonal nature table.
- How Involving My Kid Saves My Sanity — The Happy Hippie Homemaker explains how involving her toddler in projects allows her to get more done, while providing valuable opportunities to teach and to bond (added bonus: amazing oatmeal raisin cookie recipe!).
- In the Kitchen with Kids — Cooking with Real and Pretend Food — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle engages her kids in the kitchen with culinary creations of both real and pretend food.