I soooo appreciate the time that I have with my six-year-old daughter. I know it probably sounds a little crazy, but I often think, "this is her childhood". Not tomorrow. Not the next family holiday or event. Not the next trip. Today. Now. This morning. Breakfast. Walking to school. Picking her up. Making a snack together. Hanging out. This is HER childhood.
With that in mind, I have found that we love to make things together - to paint and draw and glue and stick and scribble and build.
So how do I do that? Where do I find the ideas?
One way that I try to incorporate creativity into our daily lives is to follow the rhythm of the seasons. To find new and creative ways to celebrate the various seasonal holidays that come around year after year. And by creating new traditions we build new good memories.
Do any of you read Amanda Blake Soule's blog soulemama.com? Last year she wrote a lovely book called The Rhythm of Family: Developing a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons.
Following the course of a year, this book explores the ways we can create deep family connections and meaningful memories through living in tune with the cycles of nature...from the rhythms of the seasons come the rhythms in our homes, our hearts, our families, and our every day. Paying attention to these changes slows us down; inspires new types of creative play and exploration; instills a sense of family togetherness; and deepens an awareness of nature and self that can make our lives, days, family, and earth grow stronger.
Here at the cottage we celebrate all sorts of holidays, big and small. We make decorations. We paint pictures, we draw, we cut out garlands, and we make centrepieces. We cook special foods and light candles. Most importantly, we do it together - not just the making, but the enjoying and celebrating too. It's inspiring for all of us.
Is it a lot of work? Well, I do make sure that we take on only what we have the time and skill for. Do you remember when you were a kid how sometimes grown-ups would create something while you just watched? Not so fun for the kid! I pitch the art projects and crafts to the girl's age and ability. You know how it is - that fine line between succeeding AND being challenged without being frustrated!
Where do I find my ideas? A starting point for me is the Crafty Crow - it's a great source for all sorts of craft ideas - her own and those she finds on other crafty blogs. She has them organized in number of ways including by age and holiday. Lots of photos and clear, concise instructions. That'll get you started and keep you busy for a while.
Here's something that we did last week.
Remember how I walk the girl to school each day? Well, I knew that we were going to do some crafts around trees. So one day last week on our way home we scooped up as many twigs as we could.
I let the twigs dry out overnight by the front door. Being a small little house, we were stepping over the twig pile carefully each time we came in and left! I found some 6 inch tall glass jars at Michael's and cut the twigs the same length. I recommend using wire cutters as scissors won't be strong enough.
Get out the glue gun! And some inch wide ribbon about the length of the circumference of the jar with an inch extra to overlap. Lay the ribbon on a flat surface and glue the twigs to the ribbon. Once dry, use the glue gun to attach the ribbon to the jars. Voila - two candle luminaries.
We also made some paper garlands of trees and leaves (10 points to any Canadians recognizing the maple leaf!). And I crocheted some flowers for another garland.
Today after school we will finish a tree painting. The girl painted the trunk using watercolours yesterday and today she will sponge paint the leaves in green, red, orange, and yellow. Then once dry we'll hang it up in the dining room.
Do you celebrate any holidays beyond the usual big ones each year? What are your family's annual traditions?