As many of you have noticed I have linked to Amanda Soule's blog quite a bit here lately. Following her lead in being present for my children and self. She inspires me in so many ways as a mother and as a woman. I really started reading her blog first when I borrowed the book The Creative Family from my friend Anna a few years back. It's on how to encourage imagination and nurture family connections. This book is inspiring and brings you in. It is well written and has a lot of tips on how to inspire creativity and gratitude in your children even if you don't feel very creative yourself.
Table of Contents:
Part One: Gathering
1. Preparing Your Creative Mind- Gratitude. Inspiration is Everywhere
2. Gathering Materials- Use the Good Stuff. The Best Toys
3. Being Resourceful- Alternative Art Material. Clothing Recommendations. Toys from Natural Material
Part Two: Playing
4. Encouraging Imagination- Weaving a Story. The Power of Imaginative Play. On Stage. Playing in the Parlor.
5. Supporting Your Young Artist- Family Drawing Time. Art-on-the-Go Bags. Freezer-Paper Stenciling. Displaying Children's Art. Creating with Children's Art
6. Sharing the Tradition of Handmade- Embroidering with Children. Sewing with Children. Knitting with Children. Felting with Children.
Part Three: Living
7. Exploring Through Nature- Finding Your Spot. Seeking the Wild. Garden Journal. Fairy Houses. Changing the Seasons.
8. Capturing Moments- Children with Cameras. Saving Spaces. Keeping it all Together. Your Life Story.
9. Everyday Rituals- Meeting in Bed. Mealtime Gatherings. Bedtime Bags.
Part Four: Connecting
10. Celebrating Your Family- Family Celebrations. Birthdays. A Visit from the Tooth Fairy.
11. Handmade Holidays- A Child's Wonderland. A Gift to the Earth. Giving Handmade. Supporting Handmade.
12. Creative Connections- Craftism. Hootenanny. Art Night. Art/Craft Show. Creating with Food.
Just reading over the contents inspires me.When I read the book the first time I read right through it and incorporated a few of the things in it to my family like family art journaling, leaving instruments out for my kids to enjoy when they feel like it, and I really took to heart simple toys and connecting with nature. But one only gets so much from something when you read through it all at once. I got the book out again yesterday, since I am going through the Hectic to Harmonious Home Cleans, and started reading. Looking for new inspiration. Especially about birthdays, since Magni's 3rd birthday is on Saturday. I'm wanting to make him a birthday crown and one for each one of my children as well. She says that she writes love letters to her children on their birthdays. I have started something similar. Each child gets a journal that is brought out on their birthdays and special occasions and everybody writes something in it as a message to the child. It starts with their birth story and keeps going from there.
If you are like me and are looking for a way to teach your children how to connect with nature, art and to their fellow man, then this is the book to get ideas on how to do so. You might not do things exactly like Amanda but you can pick and choose what you want out of the book and if you are like me then you will try quite a few and tweak them to your liking. I recommend rereading it again later to remind you of some things that you wanted to try but wanted to start small.
Amanda has written two other books Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures and The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons and I really look forward to reading them as well and hope to be able to write a review about them here soon as well.