A short blog post celebrating simple family creativity and crafts with a mini-tutorial at the end 😊
I recently found this picture of rainbow confetti that I made last year during the lockdown, and it reminded me of how often the simplest of craft activities turn out to be ones that bring a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction.
In the same way that many children’s stories can be enjoyed by people of all ages and at any stage of life, simple, playful crafts and creativity can be fun and joyful to people of all ages too… here are five reasons why I so love simple creative activities, including kids’ crafts, and think they can have benefits for the whole family and beyond 😊
Easy, ‘do-able’ crafts with a spirit of simplicity at their core can be:
Relaxing and enhance wellbeing – it is well documented that making things by hand can create a sense of wellbeing. It might be the satisfaction that comes with accomplishment, being productive and having made something beautiful or the pleasing way in which colours combine. However, it’s also true that, seemingly simple crafts like crochet or knitting, in which a pattern or stitch is repeated, can offer a chance to let our minds roam and recuperate whilst our hands are busy. Crochet, knitting, embroidery, colouring, free-flow watercolour painting, clay work or pottery painting are all examples crafts that fall into this category and can be soothing, and a bit like a meditation practice at times. They also lend themselves well to group creativity, or creating together as a family, and enjoying connecting with others through craft.
Foundational – simple crafts give the opportunity to develop core skills, such as cutting, mark-making and the fine motor skills eventually required for writing and other functional tasks such as shoe-lace tying. Whilst we might have mastered many basic skills as adults, the more we practice with basic equipment, the more we can turn our hand easily to working with new tools – for example learning how to use a sewing machine, or power tools for building furniture. Experience accumulates and becomes transferrable to many different types of project.
Imagination Filled - children can be very naturally imaginative and sometimes don’t need highly structured adult-led projects to express their imaginations through craft. However, it can be so inspiring to facilitate creative opportunities with a few simple tools and materials, and see what unfolds. There are usually surprises, unexpected creations, things put together in ways previously unimagined, delight – and all of this goes towards developing a ‘possibility mindset’ which can come in handy in so many areas of life, and at any age. Furthermore, when simplicity and imagination are the focus, creativity doesn’t discriminate in terms of (artistic) ability – the opportunity for creative play through craft is open to everyone!
Inexpensive and open to all – it is true that some art supplies can be expensive and therefore a barrier to creativity, but many simple crafts require only a small combination of inexpensive materials that can be effectively used over and over. For example, a hot glue gun, whilst a small investment initially, can be used with recycled materials in so many different project combinations! Materials can be sourced from everyday objects, charity shops, and places like the Works (in the UK) meaning that crafting can be enjoyed on a budget.
Helpful with fitting creativity into a busy life – there can be so many reasons why fitting-in craft activities can just feel tricky and time-consuming, especially when life is busy. Keeping things as simple as possible definitely makes it quicker to set up and complete projects, and generally easier to make creativity more a part of everyday life – even a few minutes of colouring or painting once or twice a week, playing with playdough, construction crafts with recycled materials and some glue, a few stitches on a blanket… all add up and offer all of the benefits in the points above!
Even as my children get older, I still enjoy tinkering with simple craft projects whether or not they join in with me! There is satisfaction to be found in making something from scratch, especially if it has come together relatively easily, in a quick and simple way with materials I have to hand. And of course, often it isn’t about the end result at all, but about the process and all the things learned along the way – whether it’s a new discovery that was made by putting different ideas together or having simply made the time for some creative fun at all!
There are plenty of simple creativity ideas on the Family Creativity page, and most recently, I have started contributing to the Kids Art Spot membership site (more info on that soon!), having been a fan of The Artful Parent since the children were small – there is such a broad array of simple creativity ideas on The Artful Parent website – do have a look!
Meanwhile, here is the super-simple D.I.Y. colourful confetti recipe that I used for my rainbow confetti – feel free to use or adapt it for any seasonal celebrations you might be enjoying this autumn! 😊