Fellow parents and participants in my Creativity Summit often ask me: "With life being so busy and with so many things to juggle, how are you able to spend so much time doing creative projects as a family?"
The question arises because they feel like they are not doing a good job nurturing their own creativity and the creativity of their children.
Many families have a lot going on, and the amount of time they spend outside their homes exceeds the time they have to spend in their living spaces. Kids have playdates, enrichment activities, school, homework and a number of other things that compete for their time. Parents manage their work schedules, caregiving, volunteerism, running of the family household, meal planning and more.
With a vibrant life filled to the brim, how can a busy family carve out time to get creative together? And, if the family is not artsy or crafty, how is it possible to boost their creativity, and where do they start?
Steps to creativity
The first step to becoming more creative is learning and developing skills that enable you to express yourself in a variety of ways. It’s not solely about being a trained artist or being able to complete projects found on Pinterest.
Creativity helps my family stay connected to what is important, provides a platform for developing healthy habits and keeps us mindful during our daily lives. We are also able to learn a lot from each other based on our varied interests.
My 9-year-old son is a huge fan of Minecraft and would play it all day if we allowed it. When we want him to have screen-free time, we leverage his love of Minecraft with baking or drawing. My husband and I take turns baking with our son, and we’ve made Minecraft-themed cakes, cupcakes, cookies and bread.
Not only are we spending time together creating, we also are learning about our son’s imaginative thinking and using math skills while we bake. In addition, our son is learning about kitchen safety - an essential life skill.
It’s important to realize that you don’t have to set aside dedicated time right away to get creative as a family. You can embed creativity into what your family already has going on.
Putting a creative spin on anything increases the fun. As a mom, I spend a lot of time shuttling my kids to various events. The minivan is like our second home. My kids enjoy a family trivia game I created while I was doing some ancestry research. I wrote questions and answers on index cards, and my kids take turns asking the questions and tallying up who has the most correct answers. They look forward to continuing the trivia game anytime we are going to after-school activities or running errands. I enjoy listening to them discuss the family history and then ask me clarifying questions. It makes the driving time seem very short.
Another way a family can increase its creativity is to gather supplies and make things. It may be fun to jump into a heavy-duty or sophisticated craft project, but I encourage families to ease into things.
I have a set of dresser drawers in our family room dedicated to crafting materials. Anyone in our family can start a creative project when they feel like it. We have even decorated a beverage carrier from the local grocery store and turned it into a supply caddy. My kids love this because they can take the supplies and tools they want to their rooms if they want to work in that space.
Our current project is a dream box. Each of us selected a cardboard box from our recycling and we are decorating them with drawings, pictures cut from magazines, stickers, duct tape and glitter. The decorations on the exterior of our boxes are related to a dream or goal each of us has for ourselves. As the weeks of 2017 go by, we will add artifacts to our dream boxes that support our goals, motivate us or symbolize something we’ve achieved.
Have fun playing and creating as a family. It’s time well spent, and you’ll make some of your best memories as your family continues to grow up and grow together.
Kanesha Baynard lives in Los Altos with her husband and two children. She is an author and the creator of the Creativity Summit, which provides tools and materials for families to learn, play, create and connect. For more information, visit boldlivingtoday.com. b
Basic creativity tools to have on hand at home
• Crayons/markers/colored pencils
• Glue/glue sticks
• Blank paper
• Sticky notes
• Old magazines (to cut up)
• Clean recyclable mater- ials (paper-towel tubes, cereal boxes, hard plastic tops from juice bottles, etc.)