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November 30, 2013

3 Playful, not Perfect Things to do with Kids over the Holidays.

Repeat after me: I will be creative, not consuming.

We will be playful, not perfect.

Here are three easy and silly things to do with your kids over the holidays, or this daze of celebrating, to encourage openheartedness.

1. The picnic basket.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Here’s one of my favorite playful, not perfect things to do:

Fill a picnic basket (or a Christmas stocking) with the pieces from the dust of our daily lives. Add bits from the junk drawer—we all have one—those stray buttons, pipe cleaners, twist ties from the head of a lettuce, scraps of origami paper, glue, fortune cookie slips and more.

Find objects that are age appropriate; obviously, keep the buttons and marbles out of the way of toddlers.

Once we’ve collected our bits and pieces, then throw them into the picnic basket.

Get the kiddos excited with a drum roll.

Set up a challenge to see what they can create from what’s inside the picnic basket. Use a timer for more of a challenge.

Remind your kiddos that it’s about being silly, not building a perfect model of a T-Rex out of the scraps (although that would be really cool).

One. Two. Three, Go!

But, first, before we sit down for art, let’s…

2. Move our bodies:

Yoga. Dance. Basketball. Soccer. Snow ball fights.

Take a walk to your local park to play on the swings or dangle from the monkey bars.

Most importantly, get outside and play.

“Above all, play requires freedom. One chooses to play. Play’s rules may be enforced, but play is not like life’s other dramas. It happens outside ordinary life.”

~ Diane Ackerman.

Experience has shown me that children, and grownups, easily delve into a creative space if they’ve moved their bodies.

Even falling in-and-out of tree pose or a game of hopscotch works before picking up the tools for making art!

3. Build a fort.

Outdoor forts are the best.

Here’s an outdoor fort that our Uncle Tony (a metal sculptor) threw together on a summer afternoon.

Snow forts are totally cool, too!

Be mindful with the tools around the children (don’t leave them alone with an axe or saw). Although, I’ve survived my childhood with only a few scars from making forts; just don’t worry, be playful!

Of course, indoor forts are just as sweet.

Pull the cushions off the couch, drape blankets over them and crawl into the nook with your child and their favorite books. Don’t forget the flashlight!

A few quick tips for these playful, not perfect moments:

Let go of expectations: it’s about being in the moment, not the final outcome (although who doesn’t love amazing artwork).

Remember to be mindful of our child’s age. Keep little trinkets (buttons, marbles and such) away from little fingers.

Also, simplicity may be the easiest way at times. Keep a bucket of markers and a sketch pad on the kitchen table.

And, most importantly, accept that creativity may be messy at times, but it’s worth the experience. Playful, not perfect for the holi-daze.

“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.”
~ John Updike

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo Credit: Pixoto

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