I have thought a lot about how being creative in different ways has really helped us during our time at home and away from school. This has led me to think about how creativity can take our minds away from some of the negative things that sometimes come to light and help us to take time to be just in the moment and ‘express ourselves’.
This creativity can come in any shape or form. Your child can use their imagination or creativity in an amazing Lego construction, or use the recycling to make a robot, drawing a beautiful picture, planting seeds in the garden or baking a cake. I have heard of adults spending time using their sewing skills to make masks or learning how to carve a piece of wood. How do you use your imagination and creativity to express yourself?
One thing I feel important to mention is that creativity is not just about making something artistic, it can be expressing yourself in other ways and using your imagination to find different ways of seeing or doing things, this can manifest itself in so many different things.
Can Creativity and using our imagination have a positive impact and support our wellbeing?
I know that when my children are given the time to be creative and use their imagination it is a time to express themselves. It can often be trying something new, experimenting with something they have not tried before. I often find my son digging out the recycling to make and construct something his wonderful imagination has thought about. This has inspired me to write this blog about creativity and expressing ourselves through using our imagination.
On our daily walks again through this new lockdown and during home schooling I have often found myself thinking about how we can make sure that we allow ourselves the time to be creative. During the last lockdown and when the schools closed we spent time outside creating nature art and I thought it would be great to do it again but this time in the winter using things we find on our walks.
My initial ideas had been about creating a Green Man using things we found. If you’ve never heard of a Green Man is (sometimes known also a Green Woman) it’s a ancient legendary being primarily interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of new growth that occurs every spring. Images of Green Men can be found in Churches and holy places around the world, I know that we as a family are looking forward to spring and the hope that this may bring for everyone. Hope, of a new start with things returning to some normality. I keep thinking at least the sun will be shining more and there will be more daylight.
[Left: Made by my son, aged 9, using things he found in nature. Right: Carved 'Green Man' by Chris Pye.]
Knowing that there may be less variety of things to collect outside at this time of year. I thought about what sort of things might we all have in our homes that we could use as an alternative to a green man made in nature. In particular I was thinking about those people who don’t have easy access to nature during this lockdown.
I thought about how we could create a green man using what we had in our recycling. Thinking of a green man in different terms, ‘Green’ as in ‘recycled Green man/woman.’ My kids loved this idea as caring for our planet and making use of the things around us to make something, this ticked all the boxes and their imaginations and creativity went into overdrive. They took on this challenge with great enthusiasm!
Here are some examples of the Green Men/Women the children created using what they found in our recycling and a glue gun. If you don’t have a glue gun, you can always use PVA glue or a glue stick or sticky tape. If you don’t have those things either then you can just arrange the items on a surface and then take photograph, if you have a smart phone or a camera. It can also be fun to film the making of the piece in time-lapse (fast motion), the children loved seeing how all the work they had done filmed and then sped up.
We spent some time on this activity expressing ourselves through being creative, at the same time really exploring what this word means and what it looks like to both my now 9 and 11 year old children. I often find that when we are all sat together making things that we are talking more with each other and giving each other the time for questions and discussions and being able to express how we feel about things that have been on our minds.
Have a look at the Character Tree card on ‘Creativity’ below, to start a discussion with your own family.
Each week I am using my *Character Tree cards with my children, they pick a character quality/virtue and then we discuss and reflect on what it means. How does creativity make us feel when we are expressing our ideas? When might we use our creativity at home or in the community? How can we use our creativity to help others who might be finding things difficult during this unusual time?
Download Character Tree cards.
Where will creativity take you? How are you going to express yourself using you imagination?