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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Easy Ways to Build Family Creativity

Jun 01, 2011 08:26AM ● By Jan Whitted


Daily routines often keep families too busy to make time for creative pursuits, but one easy way to spark creativity is to simply look at ordinary things in a different way. The following activities are great for awakening the senses and inspiring opportunities for sharing creative activities as a family.
1.      Explore. Treat every excursion as an adventure, even a trip to the supermarket. Keep your eyes open, both indoors and out. If you’re in a familiar place, imagine it’s your first time there. What you see will surprise you.
2.      Collect. Look for items that capture your imagination or delight you. They can range from a shell or leaf to a bottlecap or postcard. These items are meant for your Box of Interesting Things—something every member of the family should have, even moms and dads. Any container, even a shoebox, will do.
3.      Record. Keep a journal of your finds, noting the item, the date, the place in which you found it, and why you picked it up. Your notes can be jotted in a pocket notebook, scrawled on sheets of paper or even documented in a full-fledged scrapbook.
4.      Create. When it’s a rainy day or everyone is bored, dig into the Box of Interesting Things and see what you can make. Ideas include a collage or a “found art” mosaic to display for visual inspiration.
5.      Share. Start a round robin of artwork with your family or friends. Each person starts a work of art and passes it on to the next person, who adds his or her own touch. Keep it going until it returns to you, transformed! Take photos of your artwork and share them via email or Facebook.
Summertime offers families a great chance to increase their creative quotient. This month, ARTBEAT Creativity Store and Studio in Arlington presents a free artful adventure for families. “A Summer Tweet” begins June 4 and includes a Bird Search and Art Challenge; a Creative Birdhouse/Feeder Contest; and weekly story and art time. Details can be found at

Jan Whitted is the creative director of ARTBEAT Creativity Store and Studio. For more information, call 781-646-2200 or visit ARTBEAT at 212A Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, or