In an ideal world, I would spend time every afternoon playing creatively with my kids after school. We would paint, draw, stamp, punch, make collages, have lessons in knitting, sewing and cooking and spend time exploring the woods in the nearby park. Unfortunately, even though an afternoon may start in this way, reality often manages to get in the way of this perfect playtime. Every now and then, however, an afternoon proceeds as hoped and intended and the kids and I manage to spend an enjoyable hour or two making something great as a family. We recently had one of those afternoons and it was glorious.
Though we have plenty of art supplies in our home, I really like the idea of being resourceful, using what we have on hand. I find it difficult to convince the kids to use the backs of “used” paper for their drawings and art. I guess there is something about a truly blank canvas and I respect their wishes and don’t push the issue. However, when I read about the recently published book The Paper Playhouse by Katrina Rodabaugh, it sounded like it would provide a better approach (you can buy it here, here or here). I pre-ordered it as a Christmas gift for the kids and when it arrived last week, my daughter was so excited that she didn’t want to go to sleep without doing a project right away. While we eventually got her to drift off, head full of creative promise, we couldn’t wait long to get started. Although her first love was the lemonade stand, I convinced her that something more simple might be a better way to start. We picked the first project, the Pretty Paper Garlands.
Amsterdam has a pretty good recycling program, but it’s always cool to recycle something in a more immediate way…especially one that is pretty! We fished out a few papers from our recycling bin, but mostly we used paper from a pile of magazines I had kept for a project just like this one (though I didn’t know it at the time). Armed with a punch from my studio as well as some kitchen twine and a glue stick, we went to work. The kids enjoyed selecting paper, using the punch (and relearning how to take turns), coloring on the papers with markers and applying glue liberally. The project was simple enough that both kids could participate to their abilities, we all enjoyed the time we spent together and we made a lovely little garland. The trifecta! When I told my daughter that I planned to write something about our afternoon on my blog, she wanted to contribute and did her best to find the letters on the keyboard to type: “We had fun making the garlands!” Great stuff we will definitely be repeating soon!