I'm currently reading Amanda Blake Soule's book "The Creative Family", a beautiful resource book where Soule describes how she brings imagination and creativity into her family life and nurtures strong family connections. Well, I'm not so much reading as absorbing, conscientiously flipping through the artful photos, inspiring stories, and descriptive projects, picking up ideas and dreaming about all the possibilities for nurturing our own creative family life.
Soule goes through various stages in her book - gathering (how to not only gather great materials at low or no cost, but also how to prepare the creative mind); playing (encouraging imagination, supporting young artists in the family through events like regular "family drawing time", or carrying around "art on the go" bags full of art supplies); sharing handmade traditions (passing on traditional skills like sewing, knitting, felting and embroidering to kids); living creatively (exploring nature - for example, finding a special nature spot, building a fairy house, or keeping a garden journal); celebrating and connecting (handmade holidays, everyday rituals, creating with food, holding a hootenanny, organizing community art nights), etc! This book is chock full of super ideas, not only for keeping little ones busy, but encouraging the artist in all of us.
Here's a quote from the "everyday rituals" section of this book, that seemed to sum up in a simple way what much of our life should be about. Taken from the Tao Te Ching:
"In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep it to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present."
Amanda Blake Soule has her second book, The Handmade Home, coming out in August 2009. She also writes a regular blog, a place I go to often for ideas and inspiration, and to admire her artful photography. Go to: www.soulemama.com