Connecting through art projects

Question of the Day: When was the last time you created something?

Whenever I create something with my daughters, they are always amazed with my artistic work.

And, to be honest, so am I.

The Playful Family Series

Before becoming a mother, I would have never dreamed of picking up a paintbrush or a canvas.

And yet I find the process so relaxing and to be the creative boost I need that day to make me feel grounded and centered.

We’re big fans of experimenting with art as a family.

While my book, “The Playful Family,” doesn’t give any art project ideas, one of our favorite ways to play together is creating art.

Simple supplies and simple directions can lead to big results and big smiles.

You can get more inspiration for a Family Art Night over on Simple Kids.

But, at our house, Family Art Dates are really just slow days when we are drawn to gather around our dining room table and creating together.

It’s our time to slow way down, talk, laugh and be creative all at once. We all seem a bit more peaceful after a good hour of making something with our hands and sharing our work.

Connecting as a family through art

Here are some 6 Creative Games for Family Time to get you doodling and playing together in the spirit of playful creativity — our favorite kind of play!

The Doodle Game — If you have an easel, turn it around so only the artist can see their design. Everyone else sits and snuggles on the couch, waiting. The illustrator draws a picture and then the rest of us must guess what the picture is by asking 20 questions. Like Pictionary, but backwards — and way more fun for little kids. Also, like 20 Questions or Headbandz but much more creative.

Family Banner — Honor your personalities and fun traits with a family banner. We love doing this together on a slow night. Dads should participate, too.

Color Wars — Cut out paper crowns and have each person decorate it with their favorite color and then dress up and get all fancy in just that color for the night. You can even hold a parade at the end. And take pictures … lots of pictures.

Puppet Show — Using craft sticks, paper, glue and other materials, have each person in your family create their own puppet character. It can be anything at all. When you are all done creating, share your characters and perform a puppet show with them.

Secret Drawing Game — Another favorite that is perfect with a theme — such as a season or a holiday — is to have each person in your family draw a picture in secret related to the theme you all agree on. Take as much or as little time as necessary. Try to be as creative as possible. At the end, share what you each created and compare and contrast your ideas.

Create a Story Mural — I first read about the idea of story maps on Mama Scout’s site and since then we’ve made it our own and have been creating a story mural about every month together. The best idea is to have the children decide who their characters will be and where the setting is and then from there let the plot develop. Our last story mural was about a black bear chasing after the strawberries in a strawberry patch.

Not only is a Family Art Day relaxing, it’s a great way to work in being creative when you don’t have time otherwise. Use this time wisely to boost your own creativity for your own art project ideas!

The Artful ParentFor more great art ideas, though, check out Jean Van’t Hul’s the brand new book just out this week, “The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family Life with Art and Creativity.” With more than 60 projects for kids 1 to 8,  any family can find something worthy of a family art date.

I received my pre-ordered copy on Tuesday and can’t seem to stop flipping through its beautiful, inspiring pages. Jean and I have been friends for years and I’m excited to finally get a chance to meet her in real life very soon. Her creative adventures have long inspired my family and I can’t wait to give all of these projects a chance. We’re going to start with the pillow case art as our next Family Art Date.

Question of the Day: When was the last time you created something?

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