Wednesday, October 10, 2007

and the theme for today is, "culture of creativity"

So, I was reading around this weekend, and I linked into this blog/post:

On Oct. 1st earthchick set forth these questions:
How do you build a culture of creativity and imagination in the home? How do you resist convention? What do you think hinders imagination, and how do you deal with that? What rituals and rhythms do you think help nourish the artistic souls of children and families? ... Did your own parents do anything in particular to support your creative pursuits? What do you do to feed your own creative self? Where do you find inspiration for the creative life?

These questions have kept me thinking for a couple of days now - pretty good when I can't normally engage in a complete conversation! Take a look at the flickr group that she has started. Share your ideas here flickr group, or leave them here. It's a pretty important conversation, in my view.

So, what do we do in our house to help create a culture of creativity? Well, we do lots of things - my husband and I are both actors, writers, teachers, musicians, etc. But my very favorite thing to do is: THEME DAYS

Theme Days were born out of boredom - on my part. When I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom, I found myself with not quite enough to do (OK, so I am a little Type A). We started our tradition one very cold winter when Via was quite little. It gets really damned cold for a very long time in Minnesota. You've got to do something, or you loose your mind, or drink too much, or both... To save ourselves from the insanity that is winter, we pushed all of our furniture to the sides of the room, put on our bathing suits and the best summer music we could find, and voila', we had Beach Day!

That very first Theme Day has evolved throughout the years. Now, every so often, we have a conversation with the girls about what kinds of things would be good for theme days.

The usual things pop up:
Princess Day, Pink Day, Pink Princess Day...

Daddyman and I throw some that we'd like to share in the mix:
Football Day, Fantasy Football Day, Mommy-Spends-As-Much-Money-As-She-Wants-To-And-Doesn't-Tell-Daddy Day...

Those are sure fun.

We write down all of our ideas, and put them in a jar. Then, when we need to liven up/change the mood in our house, we go to the Theme Jar and pull out an idea.

The ones that work the very best are these:
Everyone Cries/Everyone Whines Day (lasts about 15 minutes until the chaos and trauma is over. For some reason, when Daddyman and I cry &/or whine, the Littles think it is Hi-larious! We don't wait until that one actually comes out of the jar. In fact, we may never even write that one down. Of course, it's getting trickier to pull this one over on The Littles as Via is now reading at an accelerated level.)
Share Everything Day (We bring this one out and flop it on the table when no one is sharing... it helps get the ball rolling, if you know what I mean.)

My favorite:
Opera Day. It's really hard to get bent out of shape when you have to sing everything that you want to say. That, and it's kind of fun to see the reactions that we get in Target.

I really, really love Opera Day. I love to hear all of The Little singing to each other.

Pass the green crayon.

Give me that book, please.

You are a stupid sister and I don't love you anymore. I never loved you anyway. No one in this house loves ME.

It tickles me when I hear Yaya sing - in true Opera Day style: I want more Cheerios. I want more Cheerios. Please, oh please, oh please, oh please. May I have more Chee-e-e-e-e-rios.

Now, if I can only teach them to sing it in Italian.

Voglio più Cheerios. Per favore, potrei avere più Cheerios?

If you try a Theme Day at home, let me know how it works out for you. I'd love to hear all about what you do to create the culture of creativity in your world.


emilyruth said...

oh i love this!
such a fun idea!
i think we may need to opera it up around here soon...

earthchick said...

I love this post!!! I loved it when I read your comment on my blog about theme day, and I love it even more visiting it here as a full post on your blog. This is *definitely* something I want to incorporate in my home. I lovelovelovelove it! Thanks for being a part of the conversation!

Sue said...

OK, this is a way long post, but I LOVE this post. I love these ideas. I am definitely going to try them. I love this topic.

We spend a lot of time dancing in the family room (this morning to ABBA's Greatest Hits for half an hour). We like to sit at the piano together and sing. My oldest takes piano (all of them will when they are old enough.)

We like to write stories together - I'll write a few lines of a story, then my kids will illustrate it. It's a lot of fun.

We also do a lot of playdough together. On Sunday we spent hours making "food" - pretend fruit and cereal and rolls and whatever we could think of.

I think too many structured activities, and not enough down time hinder creativity. My kids are at their most imaginative when left to their own devices. That's when I'll hear Emma singing to herself, something she made up, or hear Jake playing with the play family people, all wrapped up in a story he's got going on. I'm all for doing stuff with my kids, but I think they need to have times when they are BORED, and they have to think of something to do on their own. I think that's when the imagination really takes off.

I also think reading to your kids is SO important.

That was obnoxiously long. Sorry. You have me all jazzed now.

Sue said...

Oops, I meant it was a way long COMMENT. Arg.

by Johanna Brandvik said...

I've always loved your theme days. We don't do themes (though we may start some now), but we all love the days when we do some local traveling (mostly to just get out of the house and usually on the metro) and let the girls decide upon each and every destination. Inevitably we end up in Chinatown or Olivera Street in Downtown LA, but not until we've fist stopped in South Pasadena for some chocolate milk or ice cream at Buster's. Freya and Esme love the fact that they make important contributions that impact how we spend our time together as a family. I love to see their traveling fantasies play out in real life. Perhaps next time we'll do Opera on the Train in LA Day! Thanks for the reminder to mix things up a bit and to give the little ones many opportunities to choose for themselves.

angelawd said...

My favorite thing when the girls were little was the Tasting Game. We sat in front of the refrigerator and they would close their eyes, then I would have them taste each of the condiments in the kitchen. They were supposed to guess what it was and also to describe how it tasted. They came up with some pretty funny things!

I loved your opera theme day description!

Patti said...

will you adopt me?!

Richelle said...

We have theme days, but ours started with Talk Like a Pirate Day. It's an official day on the calendar every year. Once we were hooked on it we decided Pirates weren't the only things that deserved their very own day. We have progressed from there.

Jada2929 said...

Thanks for visiting me. Glad to have had 2 minutes to speed read your latest post ;) I'll be back!

chris said...

Hi, I'm a first time visitor, just thought I'd leave a footprint. I share your enthusiasm for ee cummings.

Bethany said...


Pirates and opera! I am in HEAVEN! Those are two of my favorite things!

We are SO doing this, my dear!

You're genius!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

My kids have been on a real cooking jag lately and doing lots of theme-y things with food. It's been great, although I'm always the one who has to eat the "experiments" so I don't squash their excitement.

Sometimes good, sometimes not so much...

Shandy said...

Hilarious and so creative! I'm so trying this on our long days. Thanks for the fun link too!