Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun

Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I have to admit when I think about my family being creative, I automatically assume there will be a mess involved. A lot of the time that's just how it works around here.
We make messes when we play with playdough. We make messes with paint. Sometimes the painting is more messy than others. Sometimes it's almost organized. See that photo? Painting doesn't usually look like that. More often it looks like this. Most times I embrace the mess and simply try to make it as easy to clean up as possible. I know anytime we play with the tabletop beach or gak, there will be a lot of wiping up to do.  Most painting sessions end with a bath or a run through the sprinkler. No big deal.

I love hearing my daughter ask, "Want to paint with me? Want to play goop with me? Want to make something?" I'm grateful I have a daughter who likes to get messy. Yesterday our creative mess was making slime. Even drawing with sidewalk chalk or painting with water is good creative fun and a great way to spend time outside. (I still count our projects as creative even if I find many of the ideas on Pinterest!)
I'm just happy that we're making and doing and creating.

But more recently I've realized that we don't always have to make a mess to be creative. By encouraging our daughter's imagination and playing along, we're being a creative family. Every time we put on a dolphin show or have a dance party in our living room, we're being creative. Every time she asks to use the camera and we say yes, we're encouraging creativity.

The dolphin show that used to be L. giving us (her dad and I) a few hand signals and jumping around the living room has become much more elaborate. Now she puts a blanket on the ground for the water, she found a bucket for the invisible fish she feeds the dolphins, she has a whistle so she can reinforce the dolphins (my husband and I play excellent dolphins) good behavior. When she's the dolphin and not the trainer (we have to take turns) she does a somersault for the hand signal for a forward flip instead of just jumping up and down...the games never stop evolving.  

As L. is growing up and becoming more and more independent her creativity shines through more and more. She loves to take photographs and I'm happy that it is something we can do as a family. Passing the camera around so we have photos from all our different perspectives makes me ridiculously happy. Her creativity inspires our creativity and vice versa.
All of these things have become such a part of our every day normal that I have to remind myself that art projects and imaginative play are not the only ways to be creative.

We are a creative family whether we're making messes or not.  

What are your favorite ways to be creative with your family?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Garden Soup — Bailey finds a way to help momma Katy (from Muse of a Daffodil) in the garden.
  • This One Time, I Tried To Make a Car — Ashley at Domestic Chaos tries once again to make something crafty from stuff around the house.
  • Pin-tastic creative ideas — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how Pinterest is inspiring creativity in her family this summer.
  • Baby Hiccups In The Womb — Alinka at Baby Web shares one of the ways she bonds with her unborn baby.
  • Turtle Mosaics — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school and her little family spend a quiet hour making a turtle mosaic inspired by the work of Melanie Mikecz.
  • Edible Art Plus 8 Art Supply Recipes — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares some natural, chemical-free art supply alternatives, which are gauranteed to be tons of fun for children of all ages. They taste great too!
  • A surprise art lesson — Tat at Mum in search has been taking art lessons from her 5-year-old son.
  • Memory Creation — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about how her family aims to create as many memories as they can as a family.
  • A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words — Melissa at Momma Beer tries to replace cars with crafts.
  • My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM embraces the messes that sometimes accompany creative play but admits you don't always have to get dirty to have fun.
  • Fun Family Learning: Constellation Cave Tutorial — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter gives step-by-step instructions for building a fun new twist on a cardboard box playhouse.
  • Cooking... Kind Of — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings makes pizza with her daughter, hoping to inspire a love of cooking and encourage a bigger interest in food. As well as making mess and having lots of fun, of course!
  • Crockpot Refried BeansThat Mama Gretchen's family loves to experiment with new recipes, and today she's sharing a kitchen success!
  • Creating Memories — Andrea at Tales of Goodness reflects on how the best creations can emerge from just letting kids be kids.
  • Making Beautiful Things ... And Sometimes Just Average-Looking Ones — Tamara at Tea for Three looks for ways to add more craft and creativity into every day family life.
  • Making Fruit Leather Together — When Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work took some time to involve her children in the process of finally trying a fruit leather recipe stored on her Pinterest food board, she got more than just a scrumptious homemade snack as a result!
  • Making Glasses from Children's Art — Mandy at Living Peacefuly with Children used her children's artwork to make some very special glasses for her husband for Father's Day.
  • Preparing Family Meals Together — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares how she started the tradition of creating meals together with her children, which makes family gatherings more fun.
  • It's a trap! — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares the innovative snares her son and husband have set for her.
  • How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shows us the first few weeks of the Summer Camp At Home project for keeping boredom at bay.
  • Creating with... well, what do we have? — If necessity is the mother of invention, Momma Jorje thinks perhaps boredom is (or at least can be) the mother of creativity. In a pinch, she got creative with a household item to entertain herself and her toddler.
  • Creating Joy! Felt Counting Fish and other Fun — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle started creating Felt Counting Fish and then fell down the rabbit hole of fun with a number of other games.
  • I Am Going! (A Code Name: Mama Homemade Theater Production of Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie book) — This might be the finest example of child and baby acting ever recorded. Enjoy this Mo Willems treasure via video from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.
  • DIY Summer Sleep Sack for Baby Tutorial — Shannon at GrowingSlower made an organic summer sleep sack for baby, and you can too with her easy tutorial.
  • Chalk It Up! — Amy at Anktangle recounts how an impulse buy has turned into a fun collaborative activity that she hopes will continue to foster creativity in the whole family.
  • The Family Garden — Excited that her son has been a big help in the garden this year, Ana at Pandamoly shares how her garden grows and offers up some secrets on how a toddler can be a great assistant in the garden.
  • Getting my craft on — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Jona at Life, Intertwined takes a trip down memory lane — and finds it in stitches.
  • Easy DIY Sandpit for Toddler Play — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her easy DIY toddler sandpit tutorial.
  • Building Without Nails — Laura at Laura's Blog builds a swinging bar using just sticks and twine.
  • Family Talent Show — Erika at Cinco de Mommy holds an after-dinner family talent show.
  • Ar matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play. Positive Parenting Connection is sharing lots of really fun Pirate-themed learning activities for the whole family.


  1. I remember playing dolphin show almost every day in the pool during the summer! My brother and I would take turns being the trainer and dolphin, swimming around, fetching toys,etc. I love the idea of pretending inside too!

  2. Hee hee... messes. Oh the messes :) They are glorious aren't they? My theory is that the messier they are, the more the neural pathways are being exercised... so go to town!

  3. Just the games games my kids come up to never stop to amaze me. I don't think they ever get bored, there is always something else they can play out! Mess is sometimes part of it, but not always.

  4. I actually have to encourage my son to be messy, because he is very particular about getting anything on his hands/body/etc. He comes by that honestly - I'm the same way :)

  5. My kiddos are all grown and out of the house, but we used to be a messy, crazy, and creative group together, as we are, now, apart. One thing that comes to mind is the games I came up with for driving to school/work. I gave the kids a sheet of aluminum foil, and encouraged them to 'sculpt'. It was great fun that we saw other friends take up, too.

  6. You're the mama I aspire to be — not so scared of messes! It really sounds like you all have a lot of fun. I love the description of the dolphin training imagining. It's so fun to see what kids come up with!

  7. Great post. Like you, I try to embrace the mess. But it sure is a nice surprise when we have a show or something not quite so destructive for a change. Just every once in a while.

  8. I love it that you encourage your daughter to take pictures and be creative. I've seen mothers deny their children access to cameras and kill their enthusiasm. Kids can take great photographs to :)



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