Creative Solutions to School Holiday Blues
Remember the time when the words ‘school holidays’ were accompanied by unbridled joy rather than a sense of dread or panic?
It’s one of the virtually inevitable side effects of being a parent - no matter how much you like spending time with your kids, knowing you’ve got two weeks of it and are often responsible for coming up with the expected (often demanded) fun can sometimes be overwhelming.
There is a simple solution that fits any budget - getting creative. With the growing concern about the ‘death of creativity’ in Aotearoa’s schools, it’s crucial parents take proactive steps to keep their offspring’s mind sharp, agile and artistic.
And with World Creativity and Innovation Day upon us (21 April), it’s the perfect excuse to turn the threat of boredom into something that broadens their horizons and imagination beyond just mind-numbing video games and dragging heels through malls.
Share your creativity
Using your talents and passions can help open a gateway to your child’s own creativity.
If you’re good with a guitar or piano, work with them on writing a song about something they love. If you’re handy with a pencil, work with them on a comic book, letting them come up with the narrative, characters, the entire world.
Letting them see you in your creative element is the best role model you can be to unleashing theirs, and it’s an unparalleled bonding opportunity. Even if you don’t consider yourself creative, you’ll be surprised how much fun you have giving it a crack.
Find a new groove
Christchurch indy group The Butlers (seen here at Rythym & Vines) have some cracking tunes to discover. Photo: Facebook.
If you don’t already, make a concerted effort to have more music playing in the house these holidays. Whether it’s your preferred streaming device, your own CD or vinyl collection, having some sounds playing can brighten the day.
If you’re using one of the streaming services, mix up the genres and try to inject as much local kiwi flavour in there as you can - and think outside the square, there’s more to NZ music than just Six 60 - look for artists you won’t find on your mainstream radio stations.
NZ on Air has some fantastic playlists on Spotify that are worth checking out.
At home exhibition
The Acorn Foundation Junior Art Awards at Tauranga Art Gallery providing inspiration to a new generation of creatives. Photo: Mercedes Ackerman.
Set your budding artists a mission - think of a theme and start building their own collection of artworks about it. Visit a local gallery, get some inspiration - and make a plan to put on their own exhibition at home by the end of the holidays.
It gives them time to come up with ideas, potter around with it daily if they want to, and will be a proud moment when they show Granny and Poppa their creations in a loving, criticism free environment.
All the world’s (or living room’s) a stage
For many creative minds, performance is an outlet where they can escape to new worlds - especially at a time where much of the world isn’t open to visit.
With whatever level of help is needed for their age, encourage them to put on a production; be it a one-person show, a sibling effort or roping in help from family, friends and neighbours.
They can either take it straight from their favourite book or write one themselves - either way, it could be the spark that helps build their confidence and skills.
For those who are a little reluctant to perform live, maybe work on a short film and shoot it on a smartphone/tablet. Every Taika Waititi starts somewhere.
Discover a Kiwi artist
We have so many ridiculously talented creatives in Aotearoa. Take the time to show your children some of them.
Introduce them to the work of some of your favourites or the ones that inspired you growing up - or look up more contemporary artists online.
No one develops a love for the arts without experiencing it, so see what door your child wants to open.
Try something new
Experimenting with different mediums gives your child a chance to discover what they enjoy - even when it's not what they'd expect. Photo: Unsplash.
Sounds easy but if it was, everyone would be doing it.
Getting out of your comfort zone, both when you’re young and not-so-young, can be tough but it’s also so often rewarding.
A quick google search or visit to your local community arts centre will give you ideas and options, maybe trying pottery for the first time or watercolour art classes.
Perhaps poetry is your kid’s jam and they just don’t know it yet. Talk with them and find something that is outside their normal choices, but still one they’re interested in.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods on World Creativity and Innovation Day on Wednesday 21 April - New Zealand is participating in the global movement for the first time ever this year.