Creating with Our Kids

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My daughter has access to her crayons and colored pencils (on both floors of our house) all the time, but the paints, markers and stamps I keep in a box in the kitchen for painting time, which seems to be happening lately on Sunday nights, when my sweetie is out of the house and it’s just us girls.

She loves to go through everything in the box. First she’ll want to stamp, them do some markers (she uses every marker once, then hands it back to me to put back in the package), then paint with a brush and her fingers (usually we end up with two different plates of colors going, one her fingerpaints and one that’s regular kid paint, but of course she uses fingers and brushes for both), then maybe markers and stamps again.

All of that is great, and it’s really cute to watch her create, but it doesn’t give me much to do. Still, I like to sit with her, and she likes me to sit with her, so I wouldn’t just go off and load the dishwasher or something while she was painting, even though you know it needs it.

Sometimes I sit and read, but lately I’ve been getting in on the creative action, too.

I think it’s really important for her to see me (and other grown ups, too) being creative, trying new things, testing, failing sometimes and most of all having fun. So I paint.

Sometimes I just draw lines with a brush. When she was painting pumpkins, I did, too. This past Sunday I was thinking about a thing I saw on Pinterest, that I don’t seem to have saved (oh, look, here’s a version from The Imagination Tree, though I don’t think that’s the one I saw) about painting with a cardboard tube. You just cut it down a bit, put the edge in the paint like it’s a stamp and put it down on the paper.

First I tried to do it with the Bit, but she just wanted to paint the tube, which is fine. So I got my own paper and used some of her leftover paint to make this:

paper towel tube painting
My stamp project made with a paper towel tube.

I did this in about two minutes, so it’s not awesome or anything, but I can see the promise of this method for the Bit when she’s bigger and I can explain what she’s supposed to do.

The point of all this, though, is to ask when the last time was you got creative with your kids. Many of us do creative stuff away from our kids (a lot of my knitting, for example, and all of my sewing happens when she’s asleep or not in the house) but I really think it’s important for kids to see that we value and will participate in the making of stuff, too.

So get down on the floor and draw with your kid. If she’s bigger, make a model, fly paper airplanes, get in the kitchen and make some goop to play with (more on that soon, and also many more posts with that “something I saw on Pinterest” label). Sing a song, do a dance, do all those things, as often as possible.

It’ll make you and your kids better people. I promise.

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