Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I’m not the mom who knits during parent meetings or makes her children little felt figurines all the time. The latter I’ve done twice, practically under duress. Knitting makes me cry. Someday it won’t, but I can’t predict when that will stop.
Likewise, I stand in awe of people who actually make clothing their children wear in regular life, like this mom from my son’s preschool. Getting my children dressed in relatively clean clothes is enough of a victory for me; I doubt I will ever celebrate much in the way of self-styled schoolwear.
But Halloween costumes? Those are a project I will not outsource. Mine were almost always homemade, and while my mom was a superb seamstress the likes of which my kids will never see from me, I am proud to throw off my perfectionism when it comes to forcing a needle and thread into a costume.
My son’s first getup at age seven months was inspired by a friend’s adorable gift of a knitted acorn hat. I found him some brown pants at Old Navy and a green onesie at a consignment store onto which I sewed felt leaves. Volia, a tree! Daddy and I got craft store fake leaves glued onto craft store green tees, so we were a whole family tree, a bi-arboreal Maple-Oak mix.
My son’s second year I let him lead with his hair, an orange mullet
perfect for a Bozo look, and his third year he got to wear the homemade leopard costume I’d worn as a child. So those were quiet years for craftiness.
But when he said he wanted to be a frog at age three, I took up the challenge. I found green pants he could wear again and paired them with a green shirt onto which I glued and then sewed brown swatches in a froggy design. Styrofoam eyes got sewn into green felt that got sewn onto a green hat, and the look was topped off with green gloves that got worn by yours truly later in the winter. Decidedly homemade, clearly not fancy or perfect, but thoroughly fun for him and full of heart.
This past year, the boy got in his head that he wanted to be a scarlet macaw when it was still summer. Apparently this is the real name of the bird always just called “parrot.” It has a lot of colors. And wings. With my newborn in my arms, I told him that was fine if he still felt that way closer to Halloween. He did.
So I cast around on a local moms list for a red shirt and red felt, and I scored. One mom even left her castoff on my porch for me, and the other pickup we made on the way to preschool. My husband scoffed at first at my efforts but then joined in a late-night feather gluing session with supplemental store-bought felt.
It might have been the day of the neighborhood parade that I sewed the eyes and red head onto one of three faded U of M baseball caps my husband had littered around the house and that I sewed the feather panel onto the red shirt. But whether at the last day, hour or minute, it all came together in a fashion that seemed to impress the parents at the park. Little do they know this is the only sewing I do all year.
Almost three months now before Halloween, my son is asking to be a firefighter, and I haven’t gotten any lightbulbs of inspiration for the baby, who just turned one. So if you check back in November, I can’t promise exactly how much of a Jessica original or two I’ll have to show for myself. But I do know that I will make a good faith effort to show my kids once again that the process of creating a look is part of the whole fun. And I do hope that I can keep up a tradition of keeping my sewing needle from getting rusty by at least putting it to some use when the leaves start to fall.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Family Draw Time Art Show — Kate Wicker shares art (and inspiration!) from her family’s cherished tradition of family draw time.
- The Rules of Creativity: Learning to Create with the “Non-Creative” — Zoe at Give an Earthly shares how she learned to accept her “non-creative” child and claims that anyone, child or adult, can be creative given the right handling and environment.
- Creating With Kids: 4 Ways That Work For Us — See how Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings nurtures creativity with her kids through craft projects, outdoor creative play, celebrating the creative process, and setting up “little spaces of beauty.”
- Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how ‘creating together’ has evolved from ‘things’ to memories.
- The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is already thinking about winter.
- Hidden Talents — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how providing the opportunity for creativity sometimes means learning to look for hidden talents in unusual places.
- Creating Joy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she and her one year-old son create joy for their community.
- How to do Crafts with Kids — Gaby from Tmuffin guest posts at Natural Parents Network and describes how to keep things simple when doing crafts with kids for magical (easy-to-clean, and tantrum-free) results.
- Sugar & Spice & Baking on the Kitchen Floor — Carrie at Love Notes Mama enjoys making a mess in the kitchen with her daughter.
- Young Scientist Makes Purple Potion — Hannah at Wild Parenting loves being a lab assistant for the young scientist in her life.
- Making a butterfly house — Lauren at Hobo Mama demonstrates the proper way to build a wooden butterfly house with a preschooler.
- Nurturing Creativity — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares the enjoyment she feels in nurturing the creativity of her children.
- Home School Music – Sparking A New Generation Of Musicians — Based on her musical background, Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she creates with and teaches music to her children.
- Creating (im)perfectly Together — Mudpiemama shares some of the highlights of a summer spent building everything from ships to hoops but most of a lesson on letting go of perfection.
- Family Soccer Kick Around — When her children wanted to play soccer, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children helped organize something that would work for her family.
- Creating Memories Together on Skype — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how you can create memories online with adult children or anyone who lives in another city or country.
- We’ll always have Halloween: Creating costumes for kids — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is not the craftiest mom on the block, but she does make a mean homemade Halloween costume.
- Let’s Make Juice! — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment shares about the benefits of juicing with kids, as well as a quick recipe.
- Everything’s Better When It’s Homemade — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro praises the art of homemade goods.
- Creating the Opportunity for Art — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how her family has created an environment conducive to art.
- 10 Easy and Functional Crafts Preschoolers Can Do with Minimal Assistance — Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers ten easy crafts preschoolers can do while sitting near parents — but they don’t need a lot of parental help. Added bonus: all of these ten ideas double as something functional (gifts, decor, educational).
- Creating with Kids: Singing Together — Ana at Pandamoly details the important role music takes in her household and provides a quick (and easy!) tutorial for creating fun songs to sing together!
- Create This — jessica at instead of institutions considers different aspects of creativity including those without an end product.
- Make Your Own Pocket Bib — A tutorial from Amy at Anktangle on how to make two simple and quick bibs to keep your little one clean at the table.
- Creating Together in the Kitchen — Despite not feeling “crafty,” Momma Jorje finds a way to create and connect with her toddler.
- An Artist-Mama’s Perspective — In this post, Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the differences between her choice of artistic outlet and her son’s, and how they embrace those differences together.
- Heart of the Home — Jona at Life, Intertwined shares some highlights of cooking with kids.
- Getting creative with kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how much she enjoys watching her daughter getting creative.
- Creating with Children – The Nature/Seasonal Table — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama celebrates the rhythm of the natural world with her toddler through the creation of a seasonal nature table.
- How Involving My Kid Saves My Sanity — The Happy Hippie Homemaker explains how involving her toddler in projects allows her to get more done, while providing valuable opportunities to teach and to bond (added bonus: amazing oatmeal raisin cookie recipe!).
- In the Kitchen with Kids — Cooking with Real and Pretend Food — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle engages her kids in the kitchen with culinary creations of both real and pretend food.