Our two-week September school holidays are about to launch and we are extra-excited about weaving creativity into these slowed-down days. This week past we’ve hardly had time to look ahead and think about how we want to engage with our children these holidays, so today we’ve stopped the WEAVE+WONDER machine and taken a wander through the sweet memories of holidays past.
We’ve re-inspired ourselves and we thought we’d share some of our favourites with you and spread the spark of ideas. We hope you enjoy the little stories below and maybe you’d like to print out the printable at the end and let your family pick and choose and get excited about the days ahead!
NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY—have fun gathering nature in your yard, park, beach, or forest. Bring your treasures home and set up a piece of white paper or cloth as a photography background (your white background works best if it’s big enough to lay on the floor or table and also run up the wall behind).
Experiment with different groupings of objects and different layouts of the same objects. Try taking photos from above and from the side, zoom in and zoom out. Play around with some photo editing software (this one is my favourite free online photo editing option) and even print out your favourites. Set up a photo gallery and invite people to your opening event!
ALL DAY BREAKFAST—stay in your pyjamas and enjoy a slow day at home! Try out some new breakfast recipes, and make breakfast for lunch and dinner as well! Feel like pancakes* for lunch? French toast for dinner? Try toasting muesli or have a go at making hollandaise sauce to go on your bacon and eggs. Make a menu, set up a café and invite your family to enjoy your cooking!
*Pancakes for Sunday breakfast is one of our family’s traditions, and over the years we have experimented with paper thin crepes, fluffy fat pancakes, and disastrously rubbery pancake-frisbees. We love fluffy pancakes, and if you do too, here’s our best tip for getting your pancakes nice and light. Start with your usual pancake recipe which includes eggs, but don’t add them in whole. Separate your eggs, add the yolks to the flour and other dry ingredients, and then add the milk as usual. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk until stiff, then gently fold them into the batter. Pour and flip your pancakes, and this time they should be just that little bit higher, a little bit lighter, and lovely and fluffy. Mmmm!
GRASS SLIDING—Grab a large cardboard box from home or ask for one at your local shops and repurpose it into a grass sliding machine! Find a grassy hill at your local park and experiment with the best slope, the best size of cardboard and the best way to slide—maybe it’s riding it like a surfboard, maybe it’s on your knees or tummy, or maybe it’s being towed by your dog or parent! Persevere with your experimenting – it might take a while to create the best sliding solution – but you will find it’s a perfect way to slide away a day.
Once you’ve worked out your technique, get artistic with your cardboard – decorate, colour, and add accessories – and make grass sliding a holiday-filling activity!
ART GALLERY / MUSEUM TREASURE HUNT – We love visiting our local art gallery and museum and appreciate their school holiday activities. But if these are a bit too busy, head to the quieter parts of the gallery and have a treasure hunt. This should not be a race (you don’t want to encourage your children to run around the gallery!) but a tool to encourage thoughtful, observant and responsive wandering around your local artistic space. Most importantly, pack an attitude of fun discovery – you don’t want this to feel like a chore to be endured! Give each child a clipboard or hard surface to write/lean on, some paper, a small collection of pencils and an eraser, and a list of treasures to find – here are some of our suggestions you can pick and choose from or add your own:
- find a painting which includes your favourite colour and sketch some/all of it
- write down the name of a painting by an artist who was born in the 1800s, and pick three words to describe the painting
- find an artwork by someone whose name starts with S (or any other letter)
- draw the most fanciful frame you can find
- find a piece of art you like the most and sketch it
- can you find an artist with the same first name as you?
- sketch a wall of the gallery
- can you find an artwork that includes an apple/car/dog/book?
- can you find a painting of a lady wearing a hat?
- find a painting of a house you’d like to live in and draw that house
- list as many different types of artwork that you see (eg painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph etc)
- take a photo of a painting which has a tree you’d like to climb or flowers you’d like to pick
- how many artworks can you find that include clouds?
- choose an artwork you would like to hang in your bedroom
- pick an artist’s name which sounds interesting to you, and look at their artwork. Use this information to draw a portrait of what you think this artist looks like. (and when you get home maybe take a look on the internet to see what they really look like!)
Encourage your children to collect their ‘treasures’ and include some time at the end of the visit or once you get home to share their findings and maybe even reward their hunting efforts.
YOUR AVERAGE GARDEN STICK! – In our home, countless varieties of these walk in and out of our door on a daily basis! Gathered for a myriad of purposes from walking stick to sword, a treasure mobile or ‘just because’, every shape and thickness of branch has opportunity to rest awhile here, on the whim of one of my children’s vivid imaginings. At some stage on our ‘branch journey’ over the years we decided that a simple way to celebrate these forms could be to yarn-wrap in rainbow colours and designs. Whenever we have scraps of wool leftover from projects, I can often find one or other of my children quietly embellishing a branch with a burst of colour + pattern in soft texture.
Perhaps this is a simple way for you to gather from nature on your next bush walk or backyard forage and create a unique work of art. Gather your sculptural branches together in a robust vase or lean quietly in a corner. Lay them against a solid background and have fun making initials or words. And of course, who wouldn’t love to be wielding a boldly coloured walking stick or sword on their next adventure!
We’ve created an A4 printable of these ideas for you so you can stick it on a wall to remind you of holiday creativity. We’ll share some more ideas next week, but for now, linger over these ideas friends and let the creativity spark and shine! And we’d love for you to share with us and others some of your creative ideas for the school holidays…