I recently hosted an art-themed birthday party for my daughter. She was very clear from the beginning: she wanted art activities that involved painting and lots of color. Oh yes, and she wanted to have her American Girl doll Saige up in the mix. How this girl managed to score an American Girl doll is another story, and yes, I do raise a very particular batch of bossy girls and they embrace it. Anyhow, I’ve never been a fan of too much structure, so I opted against structured timed activities by creating an inspiring setting with a bunch of color and a scattering of art supplies, including paint, crayons, chalk, ribbon, glue, loom bands, beads, glitter, stamps, etc. I’ll post those pics and the details for you to scope out in the upcoming week. My goal, given my daughter’s instructions, was to provide an environment where guests could create and play. As always, the adults were welcome to play too.
The weather was insanely beautiful and the kids ended up splashing away in the pool for most of the day, but all of them made something and got their hands dirty at some point. I’m a pretty observant gal, and even though I didn’t manage to save my two year old from falling off the play structure swing set thingy (parenting fail), I did notice a few things I thought were important to share as I watched the kids dropping in on the creative zone: They jump right in and get their hands dirty and just create. They are supportive of each others’ creations. They share and they help one another.
Beautiful stuff, and what stood out the most was this: to kids, the creative process is a form of play and they don’t get all caught up in the self-conscious place that stuns the creative process for us adults. I’ve noticed this before with my own kids and hosting a larger batch of kids confirmed my observations and made me reflect on some of my own “stuff”.
In the aftermath of it all, as I was packing up the magic in the box, I reflected on how things went. As I set this collective canvas down to take a pic, my middle child runs up smiling, “Look mom, that’s my squiggle!” Her eyes beaming, with that twinkle of pride and that air of accomplishment.
With that, I was reminded of just how powerful their example is. They aren’t all that reserved or doubtful when it comes to the creative process. Even more curious is that they are proud of every squiggle, scribble, dash and splash. In short, they trust their art. I think I’ll take a cue from my kids and encourage you to do the same. Take that magic out of the box more often, let yourself play, and trust your art.