Tips For Creating With Kids

Because I love to create, I'm intentional about making time for my kids to create. Spending time DIYing is one of our favorite things to do together. I always receive compliments about how much people love how I create with my kids, so I threw together some of my tips for a successful creating session with my girls.
PREP - Prep is key to enjoying time creating with kids. Lay out a drop cloth, have paper towels and wipes handy, strap younger kids in high chairs (if using tray, cover with garbage bag), and messy clothes (or no clothes) for everyone. Snacks and music are always a good idea to prolong the DIYing.

CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS - be okay with a mess, focus on enjoying the process, and don't expect a masterpiece from every creating session. Many times I have to remind myself that our materials aren't precious... It's okay to use up a lot of paint or go through a million sheets of paper. Expect some projects to take multiple sessions. Our DIY christmas ornaments took a couple days to make (clay one day, paint another) so starting early and planning for multiple sessions made the project more enjoyable.

LIMIT COLOR PALETTE - Choosing an analogous color scheme (colors next to each other on the color wheel) keeps your child's art from becoming muddy. I generally like to choose a couple different blues and greens so they have a lot of shades to pick from. As my kids get older, they get to pick more colors.

CONSIDER COLLABORATING - Some of my favorite creating sessions were when we work on something together. These usually result in a fun piece of art to enjoy and a longer creating session than when we're working on our own solo projects. When working on a piece with your kid, follow their lead so they can stretch their creativity, mirror their strokes, and keep up the encouragement.

MIX IT UP - Work with a variety of medium. Sometimes we'll start out working in watercolor and end up drawing with markers. I introduce different medium as they start to get tired with something (usually when they get super messy) and they will continue on creating. Introduce them to different things like clay, water color, acrylic paint, pastels, etc. They may really love something random and we'd never know if we didn't try out a bunch of different things. I also love to let the girls work on larger projects like furniture painting or our cottage makeover.

DOCUMENT - Snap a couple of photos at the beginning when they start... or throughout the process. I love cutesy end of DIY pictures, but generally when we're finished, the girls are finished and won't even stop for a quick pic. The in process pictures are some of my favorite pictures and sometimes an in process art piece ends up so completely different than the finished piece.

CELEBRATE THEIR WORK - Compliment their technique and imagination, discuss what they like about it, and display their work! Building confidence in their artistic ability is a huge boost for the enjoyment of future creating sessions. I love hanging the girls stuff around the house in frames, on our fridge, on our calendar wall, or gifting it to family members.

ENJOY THE PROCESS! - I know I already mentioned this, but it is the most important tip so I'll say it again. Enjoy the process!!! If you want to instill the love of art and creativity into your kids, you want this process to be enjoyable. A lot of our artwork gets scrapped, but we enjoyed our time creating so we call it a success. 


Thrifting in Iron River

During our family trip to Wisconsin, Ben and I got a chance to take a little date in Iron River. We checked out some of the thrift shops and had fun looking at every little thing. My Grandma used to visit these shops, so it was fun to spot things that reminded me of something she had or that I know she would have purchased. The thrift shops in this town had lots of duck decoys and fish stuff... which is not something you see a lot of in Cincinnati. I love thrift posts, so I thought I'd share what caught my eye.

I wanted to get a little something, so I picked out this little set of Brass Quails. They're currently on the shelf in the master bedroom and I love the reminder of our thrifting date and a little town I love.


Long Living Room Shelf

Ben bought a projector and needed a lowered spot to mount it. We decided to finally add some bookshelves to the living room. Due to the layout, there is really only one spot for us to put the projector and screen. We looked at a couple options and decided to run a shelf along the whole wall to make ample space for all our books. We settled on these IKEA brackets and boards (sorry, can't find the link). We spent the rest of the afternoon calculating, measuring, and installing.

Months later, we're still working on unloading the rest of our books, but I'll share an updated picture of the projector setup and books whenever we have everything up there.
Today marks two years since we closed on our house!  See before pictures and a house tour that I'm working on continuously updating when I post about projects. We have loved making this place a home so far and we can't wait to see what else this home has in store for us.


Monthly Calendar and Managing School Clutter

We've been creating these large calendar pages for about a year and it has helped our crazy unorganized family so much! Cora was asking about dates and when certain events were happening and which days she had school, so I started making these monthly calendars to simplify things a bit.

I have a big roll of white paper (we have this one) that I cut a piece from each month. I quickly sketch out the grid and fill in the dates. Right now, I use a mixture of symbols and words so that she can quickly know what is happening each day (ie. balloon for birthday parties, etc). As Cora gets older and gets better with reading, I switch over from symbols to words. Cora helps color in and draw faces on different days... always a smiling face for school days.
Thanks to school, there is a huge influx of papers. I immediately take any papers with important dates or information and input it into my own planner. When art is sent home, we tape it up around the calendar so we can enjoy it for the remainder of the month. We also put up Cora's favorite drawings that she draws at home. When the month ends, I take a picture and we take everything down. If there is art that we love, we'll save it... everything else is thrown away. Just a couple simple steps that keeps our school clutter to a minimum and keeps the kids from asking me the same questions over and over.


Walks With Ida : Eden Park Lunch Date

Yesterday, Ben and Ida picked me up for a lunch date in Eden park. I used to work about 2 blocks from Eden park, so we would have lunch dates here at least once a week when Cora was little. One of our favorite spots was the Presidential Grove area. It is way less crowded than the lookouts and there is plenty of space for kids to play without having to worry about ponds or drop offs. Ida enjoyed running around and throwing acorns. I enjoyed watching her little scrunched up shoulders as she ran around and giggling when she'd throw an acorn and it would somehow go backwards. We missed Cora (she was at school), but liked getting to spend time with just Ida. I love our sweet random lunch dates and making new memories in places we love. 


UC's Homecoming

Last weekend was UC's homecoming. My girls were sick at the end of the week, so we missed out on some Friday night events. Saturday morning, we headed down to campus to meet up with some of my college buddies and enjoy some tailgating activities. I don't make it to main campus very often, but when I do I get a little nostalgic. The girls and I hung out on the big steps for a bit while we waited for Ben. I spent a lot of spring and fall afternoons hanging out on these steps with my friends.
There were a bunch of fun things to do up on McMicken commons and we made sure to enjoy every single activity. We did face painting, tossing a football, photobooth pictures, and ate lots of free treats while we hung out chatting. The girls enjoyed seeing my friends and they really enjoyed the mounds of donuts they could enjoy.

Once the game started (we did not get tickets this year), we headed to the rec center for a tour from my friend. I worked at the rec center for 3 years in college and that is where I met Ben. Cora loves to hear the story about how we met, so the rec center was somewhere she was very excited to see.
We had a fun morning hanging out on campus and Cora loved checking out my old college spots.
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