If you’re a mom, you’ve most likely been at the receiving end of many school art projects and handmade gifts. I remember when my class planted seeds in little cups and watered them until they sprouted the beginnings of a flower for Mother’s Day. I also made more than my fair share of cards, macaroni collages, slightly lopsided ceramic bowls and other delights, all delivered with love to mom and dad. For many, this exchange is a rite of passage as a child or a parent.
If you’re a crafty mom, you have most likely engaged your kids in rainy or snowy days chock-full of scissors, feathers, glue and glitter. My own mom was not an artsy person in the traditional sense, but we embroidered and colored, made paper dolls, baked cookies, pies and bread, planted gardens and, yes, flowers. We made lots of things together, as she did with her mother and so on, forming a cyclical tradition of spending time together.
Making things with your kids is a perfect time for bonding and providing opportunities for creative expression is so important. Beyond having fun, when kids make things, they’re developing language skills, motor skills, critical thinking skills and a whole lot more. Plus, when they’re creating with you (or dad or grandma), they’re also creating memories, building relationship and quite possibly growing a tradition to take out into the world and share with others one day.
While devising craft and DIY projects was not my strong suit as a mom, an appreciation for art and the work involved in creating was something that I always shared with my daughters. We went to art and music festivals all the time, we always had art supplies in the house, and we were very serious about coloring. Today, I have two of the craftiest, artsiest daughters ever, as they fill our house to the brim with carts, bins and drawers packed with stuff for making things. That love followed them into adulthood and into their careers, growing with them every day.
Young or Old
Forming a habit early on to do creative things with your kids is important — you’re planting seeds for exploration. Then, as they get older, no matter what age they or you are, you can all still grow and create together. My daughters and I love doing all sorts of creating as a team; whether we’re cooking dinner, planting flowers, decorating our homes or making cards for friends and family, we’re sharing moments that we won’t forget. We’re still learning and developing our creative skills.
A Recipe for Memories
A few years ago, my mother unexpectedly lost her sight; last year, she and my daughter Nora baked pies together during our Thanksgiving visit. She told Nora how to make the filling, giving her step-by-step instructions, and Nora helped her lineup the pie crusts on the pie plates. It was a labor of love, a handing down of tradition that allowed them to share a sweet moment together while baking delicious pies.
There are so many ways to be creative depending on your interests. For the adult moms and kids, there are plenty of classes, from painting, pottery, cooking and baking to woodworking, quilting, gardening and more. For crafty moms with younger children, Pinterest has a plethora of ideas.Artsy or not, there are lots of outlets for working the creative muscles — whether it’s telling stories, planting an herb garden in a window box, building with Legos, taking photographs or even seeing a movie.
Pathways to Learning
No matter what age you are, sharing creative moments with those you love is wonderful way to make memories and have fun. They are a pathway for nurturing relationships, strengthening family ties and learning creative skills.
Here are a few places for moms and kids of all ages to enjoy some creative fun together. Visit their websites for full info.
- Impression 5 Museum and Science Center workshops and experiences: impression5.org
- Painting With a Twist (Wine classes for the big girls): paintingwithatwist.com/studio/lansing
- Family Day at the MSU Broad Museum: broadmuseum.msu.edu
- Family Art Days at Studio Retreat in St. Johns, Mich.:studioretreatart.com
- Van Atta’s Greenhouse Wine and Design classes: vanattas.com
- Where the Wild Things Bloom (kid or wine night options available):facebook.com/wildthingsbloom.