Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.
At our house, we have a long-standing family Friday Night Nest tradition: sometimes we watch movies, sometimes we play games, sometimes we read books, do puzzles, or grab some blankets and head outside to star gaze together. Whatever we do, the important is that we do it together, our family, in our “nest.”
Now that the kids are a little bit older, and can be trusted not to eat crayons or tattoo themselves from head to toe with markers (well, for the most part), I wanted to start having a family art night.
My inspiration for a family art night
I love Amanda Soule’s books. They don’t often make it back to the bookshelf at our house because they are always out and in rotation. Her blog, SouleMama, is a constant source of inspiration for me, too.
“Fortunately, we don’t have to ‘teach’ our children to be creative – inherent in the very cores of children’s beings is the embodiment of creativity. To think of something in a new way, to inquire about something that others don’t even question, to come up with something truly unique and new is what children do best.” – Amanda Soule
We had our first official meeting a few Fridays ago, gathering during our family Friday Night Nest time. With all six Flecks around the kitchen table, though one of us was snoozin’ in the baby sling, we unleashed our inner artists for the evening.
Setting the stage for creativity
There really wasn’t anything too complicated about setting the scene for an art-filled evening. Basically, I set the kitchen table with plenty of blank papers (many of them recycled to give a variety of textures and colors) to create on and plenty of colorful pens, pencils, and markers to create with. We grabbed the safety scissors and glue sticks from the homeschool cubbies, too.
We take turns picking favorite music to play and we serve fresh popped popcorn and simply let the wild rumpus start!
What I love to see is that, even though we all have the same supplies to choose from, each kid creates something unique and different, using the materials in their own way.
- blank printer paper
- recycled papers (from junk mail, old watercolor paintings, other art projects, etc)
- cardboard (also from the recycling bin)
- old magazines
- painters tape (if you peel very carefully, you can remove this after you have colored around it. We tried masking tape but with disappointing results.)
- safety scissors
- Pentel Arts Slicci extra fine gel roller pens
- Pentel Arts color pens
- glue sticks
- Bic Mark-It markers
- Stockmar beeswax crayons We have the sticks and the block crayons.
- Having a $20 yard sale table that isn’t too precious to me helps me to relax about this type of family project, but you might want to put down some newspapers or a vinyl tablecloth first.
“A large part of nurturing a spirit of creativity comes from being mindful, slowing down, observing, and looking around you at the beauty and inspiration all around. We are blessed as parents to have the best teachers for this – our children.” – Amanda Soule, The Creative Family
Disclosure: I was given some of the Pentel products featured in this post for review. We loved them, have been using them for a few months now, and they are a regular part of our crafty rotation. All opinions expressed are my own, of course, and I wasn’t paid to feature them.