Inspiring Your Creative Family

Amy Rees
May 12, 2008

Ah, the day after Mother's Day.  The homefires are burning especially brightily, we are all smitten with these loving little ones, and, sigh, another 364 days until our next breakfast in bed sounds awfully tough to take... 

Luckily for us, the truly soulful Amanda Blake Soule throws us a line.  The wonderful SouleMama has a new book out, The Creative Family, and it is just the inspiration we are looking for to help us bring a spirit of creativity into our homes. 

This book is a hopeful guide, whether you think you are already inclined to be creative or perhaps a bit more skeptical.  There are lots of activity books out there, but we've not seen another one that starts out with a powerful link between gratitude and creativity.  And there may be nothing we wish to cultivate in our little ones quite so much as gratitude.  We were sold.

After showing you how to learn from your kids (rather than thinking that you need to teach them how to do x, y or z), Amanda glides through sections arranged like rituals themselves -- gathering, playing, living, connecting.  She reflects on the art produced by preschoolers with a digital camera.  She tells you how to make a joy jar (a lock for next year's Mother Day gift for a grandma -- thank you!).  She makes it sound eminently possible to introduce your children to embroidery and knitting, and she backs it up with photos of her own children doing the work.  No band-aids in sight. 

This is serious, soaring stuff.  And it also looks fun and delightful for all.  And striking in its simple richness of style and approach.  Savvy, we say.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    I think the approach of this book sounds wonderful! I much prefer it to the activity books that are just a laundry list of things to do that I've usually already thought of. This is an area where I'm challenged myself, so I need all the help I can get!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    This sounds like a wonderful book. I love all the savvy tips!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    I've been wanting to check this book out, it looks like it's full of projects that aren't just time wasters, unlike most kids' craft books.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 4

    When I look back on my childhood I realize that we didn't have much money, and therefore, not a lot of toys. At the time, though, I did not know that we had very few toys because we were always playing and always having fun...the "homemade" kind. We played dress-up, built forts on tables with blankets, played beauty-shop with bobby pins and rollers, cooked, played school, and made "toys" out of whatever we found around the house. We had no choice but to be creative. I am completely convinced that my lack of (store bought) toys is the reason my sisters and I are such a creative and resourceful people today!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 5

    I'd LOVE the book. I am a mom of a toddler and I try approach the world with a creative spirit with her. I read her blog all the time an am a big fan of her ideas. Thanks for this offer! We'd be so greatful to get this book.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 6

    This looks very inspiring -- I'm always looking for new activities and need to see with my own eyes that it is possible to instruct a 2-year old to embroider!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 7

    This is on my to-read list--thanks!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 8

    This looks great! Thanks for another great find!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 9

    In this day and age of "plugged in" kids and busier than busy schedules, what a treat to think about getting back to basics by producing some unique works of art. It sounds like many life lessons can be learned in the process, not the least of which is being creative as individuals in a family unit. Take time to smell the fingerpaints...

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 10

    This would be a great book! I would love to have this for my three kids! I am always looking to do something fun and different with them!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 11

    I love the idea of bringing more creativity to my two year old twins and it sounds like this book would be a wonderful way to get some great ideas and fun things for our entire family to do!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 12

    I purchased this book the night before it released at my local B&N and went home smitten reading all of the wonderful ideas Amanda poured into her pages. Her blog is equally impressive if not more so - and I highly recommend both for a daily dosage of inspiration with your family. Amanda gets it. That not only should we look to our children to be their best selves - but we should too. By doing what love - whether its to cook or hand sew a dress - we should do it, and make time for it. The biggest "idea" - the most important to me - is to share these moments of learning together as a family. She also gets how learning, exploring, creating, everything itself is an art - and should be expressed and nurtured by us as parents. I highly recommend getting her book - if you win this or not. It's just the inspiration you need to get started on a project with your little one - and the antidote we need as parents to find our artful sides as well. I did just that by opening a studio in my garage and filling it with everything that inspires me to be creative - I also took my first sewing class and taught myself how to use the sewing machine my mom handed down. I also took out my digital camera - as I've always loved photography - but was afraid to have it around with young kids who want to play and possibly break it. Now we take photos together - I let her setup the tripod and we take photos every day - capturing moments - and put them on our own family's blog - which we started - for our friends and family to see how quickly kids are growing and learning: theartoffamily.blogspot.com My 2yr old loved to embroider - thanks to Amanda's technique for small children. Not only is it helping her to develop her fine motor skills - but she enjoys seeing her own process develop - "mom, I made a line!". Go get it!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 13

    I would love to have this book as I consider myself creative and can't wait to do creative stuff with my daughter!

    over a year ago

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