Welcome to Week One of the month-long Carnival of Creative Mothers to celebrate the launch of The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood
by Lucy H. Pearce.
Today’s topic is Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home. Be sure to read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Join the Carnival and be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of The Rainbow Way!
- November 27th: Creative Heroines.
- December 4th: Creative Inheritance.
- December 11th: The Creative Process.
When I began this parenting journey, I was immediately intrigued by the voracious appetite babies have for the world around them. They want to get every sensory experience into their bodies and they have no rules about what is safe and what isn’t. It’s pure creative energy.
I would argue that as children grow, this need to explore their world grows larger. It may appear that they need less pure, raw creative energy, but they are actually becoming more focused as their control and awareness of their bodies increases.
That is, unless they are interfered with. Well meaning adults who have become limited in their creative viewing of the world attempt to curb or redirect a child’s exploration of life. It can be for safety, control or comfort. And by safety, control or comfort, I mean the adult’s.
In our family, we’ve created our own culture of creativity.
Our culture of creativity is based on our connections. I sometimes feel like an armchair anthropologist as I catalogue their movements and expressions of interest. I listen to them with my whole attention. I respond with support. I’ll qualify that by saying that I do this imperfectly because I’m managing a family of 5 kids, 2 adults, and 2 pets, each with their own strong vision of their needs and wants. But, this is also part of the learning process for us all.
While I make mental notes of what they seem to gravitate toward, I try to think of ways to arrange areas for them to explore. For example, my 7 year old became fascinated with stop motion animation movies. So, I made sure Lego was available for him where no one else would disturb them, but that he might create movies with, if he expressed an interest in doing so (which he did.)
Other spaces I try to set aside are quiet corners for reading or other activities. Tabletops, underneath tables, tents, pillow nests and even cardboard boxes make excellent places for kids to explore whatever they wish, how they wish.
Creating spaces is different than strewing, or placing objects that I think might encourage an interest, because it is an area that may simply be an empty space. I set out a yoga mat or meditation cushion next to a Buddha statue, but I have also tried clearing an area rug away from everything. I find the kids gravitate toward these places, too. Sometimes they fill them with objects and sometimes they simply relax in the space.
Strewing is also something I enjoy doing. If one of my kids becomes interested in the moon or Louis Pasteur or dirt bike racing or fairies or cream cheese or well, anything at all. I casually make sure there are books, experiments, toys, et cetera around the house. There is no pressure from me for anything to be picked up, but I am there to facilitate them create.
Some of the things they always find strewn for them are art supplies, clean, empty containers and trash waiting to be recycled, wood and tools, play dough and modelling materials, and so on. They often explore these materials while simultaneously learning about a new interest. They create incredible art expressing something that piqued their interest.
One of the things I do not include in their supplies is instructions. I keep them, in case they ever ask for them, but I find they create more vibrantly when they aren’t constrained by the official way to use things. I am always close by to monitor safety, assist them, and demonstrate anything that really needs it.
However, I think we could make a culture of creativity without any of these things. The one thing that I believe is absolutely necessary for creativity is free play time. I am fiercely protective of my children’s unstructured play time. One of the hardest things for me as a homeschool parent, is limiting our activities.
We have periods when we are out every day at museums, art galleries, theatres, aquariums, classes and more. But, then I notice the kids are less patient with each other and they seem less happy. They need to right their ships with unstructured play. I have often looked in my rear view mirror as we drive to an exciting animal encounter at the zoo and notice they aren’t sparkling with life.
So, I turn the car around for home or a big green area with dirt or swings so they can just BE for awhile. And they create with sticks and mud an even more exciting animal encounter.
My parenting goal is to make sure they keep this passion for creativity growing with them as they become adults. I hope when they’re 20, they’ll still look at an empty cardboard box as filled with opportunities.
How do you foster a culture of creativity in your home? As an adult, do you look back and point to a time when you felt you had less permission to create without boundaries? I’d enjoy hearing from you.
and grab your free extras (first 200 orders only!):
- exclusive access to a private Facebook group for creative mothers
- a vibrant greetings card and book-mark of one of the author’s paintings.
or order it from your local bookshop!
- Carnival host and author of The Rainbow Way, Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares an extract from the chapter Nurturing a Family Culture of Creativity.
Lilly Higgins is a passionate food writer. Now a mother of two boys, she’s discovered a new calling: to instil in them a love of food and creativity in the kitchen.
- DeAnna L’am shares how visioning the New Year with your child is an invitation to be inspired: use creativity and resolutions to create a fun road map for the year ahead.
- Molly at Talk Birth on Releasing Our Butterflies – balancing motherhood with creativity.
- Laura shares some of the creativity happening at Nestled Under Rainbows and a few thoughts about creativity.
- Georgie at Visual Toast celebrates her own unique culture of creativity at home.
- Esther at Nurtureworkshop spreads the love of the ordinary, the delights of everyday things that can be an adventure of the imagination.
- For Dawn at The Barefoot Home creativity is always a free form expression to be shared by all in a supportive environment where anything can be an art material.
- Naomi at Poetic Aperture is a mother, artist and photographer who tries to keep her daughter away from the expensive pens and paints.
- Aimee at Creativeflutters writes about keeping your sanity and creativity intact with small kids in the house in her post: Mother + Creativity – They Must Coexist.
- Amelia at My Grandest Adventure embarks on a 30 Days of Creativity challenge…you can too!
- Becky at Raising Loveliness explores creating with her smaller family members.
- Jennifer at Let Your Soul Shine reveals how children help us connect to our souls, through music and movement.
- Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush shares her experiences of creating with kids.
- Brooke at violicious spent too much time worrying and trying to be creative instead of letting it flow.
- Joanna at Musings of a Hostage Mother explains why creativity at home is important to her in her post “I nurture a creative culture.”
- On womansart blog this week – nurturing a creative culture at home.
- Creative woman at Creator’s Corner loves color and uses it to paint, draw and decorate to inspire herself and her family.
- It took until Amy at Mama Dynamite was pregnant aged 35 to discover her dormant creative
streak – she has found lovely ways of tuning into it every since.
- Anna of ArtBuds is a trained educator and art therapist. She has been creating all her life and nurturing her daughter’s creativity at home is a priority.
- Deb at Debalicious shares how her family enjoy creativity at home.
- Emily at The Nest explores how creativity runs through her family’s life together.
- Jennifer at OurMuddyBoots sees that encouraging creativity in children is as simple as appreciating them for who they are: it just means overriding everything we know!
- Lisa from Mama.ie has discovered that a combination of writing and traditional crafts can provide a creative outlet during those busy early years of new motherhood.
- Anna at Biromums shares what nurturing a culture of creativity means to her.
- Zoie at TouchstoneZ argues that the less they are interfered with, the more creative children become as they grow up.
- Darcel at The Mahogany Way celebrates creating with her kids.
- Molly at MollyLollyLoo explores her family’s shared creative times.
- Liz at Reckless Knitting shares how she celebrates creativity with her family.
- Sally (aka The Ginger Ninja) of The Ginger Chronicles is continually inspired by her own mum and grandmother.
- Just being creative is enough, says Nicki at Just Like Play, as she ponders her journey of nurturing a creative family.
- Allurynn shares her creative family’s musings in her post “Creativity… at the Heart of it” on Moonlight Muse.
- Laura at Authentic Parenting explores how being creative saves her sanity.
- Mama is Inspired talks about how she puts an emphasis on the handmade in her home, especially in the holiday season.
- Kirstin at Listen to the Squeak shares with you several easy ways for busy mamas and dads to encourage their children to be creative every day.
- Chiswick Mum believes that a healthy dose of chaos is the secret to nurturing creativity at home.
- Mila at Art Play Day always lived in her dreams, sleepwalking through life … now she is finding out what creativity is all about…. her inner child!
- Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From describes how picture books can nurture creativity in young children.
Post for NaBloPoMo
(Since I’m writing most of these late at night, in bed, while tandem nursing twins, I’m choosing to concentrate on writing rather than formatting, proof-reading, researching or editing as much as I’d like. Please forgive the extra typos and non-nonsensical grammar. Thank you.)