She hadn’t followed instructions. There weren’t any.
She beamed as she stood before me with a delightful mobile she’d made with her own two hands and a vision born solely in her head. Starting with supplies we’d provided for, potentially, a fairy house and a wind chime, she’d imagined and repurposed, adding sticks and a few pine cones she’d foraged, to create her very own one-of-a-kind non-fairy-house, non-wind-chime masterpiece.
And… did I mention it was delightful?
Not just the mobile, but the moment, HER… her smile, her straight spine and wide eyes as she brought it to show me. She was delighted by what she’d made, no instructions. And I was delighted to see it, all of it.
This is where my love of story, my love of children and my love of creating and of nature all have found a sweet little harmony: in offering to children – and the adults who love them – an opportunity to create process art (self-led creating) with simple supplies and items they forage in nature.
We do this through our outdoor “Wonder & Wander” events at The Story Barn – the home of Frieda B., in Somers, CT – but if you can’t visit us, you can just steal the idea. Because it really is as simple as:
- putting some simple supplies together (think crayons, chalk, markers, scissors, glue, ribbon, buttons, googly eyes, construction paper, yarn, a hole puncher, etc.);
- taking your kids on a nature walk to forage for items in nature (pine cones, leaves, acorns, flowers, sticks, stones, bark, feathers, etc.); and
- giving them a big piece of cardboard to place on the ground, with all their supplies; and
- letting them be, with little to no guidance from you.
I’ll bet you’ll be delighted with what they create.
Summer is here. Your child’s imagination and wonder are calling. Answer in this delightfully simple way of giving both an abundance of freedom.
At the close of one of our Wonder & Wander events at The Story Barn, a shy 8-year-old girl made her way up to where I was standing and said, head down but eyes up, “thank you for allowing us to make whatever we want.”
“It took a lot of courage for her to do that,” her mom later told me, “but she couldn’t leave without saying it. She loved the freedom of today. So did I.”
And so did I. It’s delightful, every time.
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To learn more about our Wonder & Wander events at The Story Barn (we’d love to welcome you!), visit www.FriedaB.com/W&W.
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