For me, a big part of having a happy family life is the creative projects we do together. Discipline is important, but often everything looks a little brighter and everyone is getting along a little better when weâ€™ve got interesting things to make and do. In the spirit of focusing on where I want to go instead of the choppy waves all around us that appear from time to time, I picked up The Creative Family from my public library, hoping to get ideas for a few new projects.
Written by blogger Amanada Blake Soule of SouleMama, The Creative Family is a lovely, earthy, Waldorf-y, multi-age alternative to activitiy idea books like The Toddlerâ€™s Busy Book. Instead of including activities for a specific age group or theme, Amanda Soule focuses on activities that promote a sense of meaning, wholeness and creativity for all family members. This holistic, everyone-can-participate approach makes creating stuff feel accessible and fun instead of stiff and daunting.
As I read through the book, I picked out projects that seemed to fit my daughterâ€™s developmental stage and interests, and which required fairly minimal investment of time and money to set up. The first thing we tried was embriodery, using a scrap of linen I had around and some leftover white embriodery floss. It was an instant hit. We didnâ€™t have an embriodery hoop lying around in my craft supplies, so I held the fabric while Beatrice navigated the needle and thread, and it was a pleasant way to spend time together, chatting about things as she decided where she wanted to draw her next line with the thread. We soon moved on to adding plastic pony beads to the embroidery, and smaller glass beads too. That project was finished up and weâ€™ve started in on the next one now, after a quick trip to pick up some more colours of cotton floss and a hoop, a sign that this may become a lasting interest.
I will admit that while reading The Creative Family I had a few pangs of â€œI wish I had a huge yard to build a Banging Wall in!â€ and â€œI wish I had some beautiful felt gnomes for a winter nature table!â€ However, I do appreciate that living a creative life is an iterative process – we go around and around the yearâ€™s cycles and each season we might make another project to add in to our collection. Since I made advent bags last year, this year Iâ€™ll have some time to (perhaps) try my hand at felting gnomes. I wonâ€™t be able to do every project that catches my fancy, well, at least not all at once.
The Creative Family is an inspiring, easy read to pick up at night with a hot mug of tea once the kids are in bed. This book will appeal especially to those who already have an interest in and appreciation for natural living, Waldorf traditions, family togetherness, the pursuit of art and homemaking. It certainly inspired me and gave me a few new ideas to try with my kids.