The most powerful way to genuinely connect with anyone is to give them our time and attention—genuine, all-in, physical and emotional attention. Without our phones. Without any electronics. Which, of course, is very hard to do today. Because we’re all busy, making important calls and answering important emails. We’re all working hard for our families. We’re all doing our best.
But there are small, meaningful ways we can reconnect every single day—all the while encouraging and sharpening our kids’ creativity, curiosity, compassion, sense of self and problem-solving skills.
You’ll find simple, beautiful ideas in the new book The Creative Family Manifesto: Encouraging Imagination and Nurturing Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule. Soule is an author, editor-in-chief of Taproot Magazine and blogger at SouleMama, which she’s been writing since 2005. She lives in a 200-year-old farmhouse in Maine with her husband, five kids and various farm animals.
According to Soule in the book, “When our every evening is spent not in front of the television or looking at a screen, but instead connecting with ourselves and the people around us through the channels of creativity, we see the world in a different light. We see all the possibility, all the ideas still to be dreamed up, all the room from which we can find our place in the world.”
The first page of The Creative Family Manifesto fittingly features a manifesto. Which includes everything from unplugging to playing to believing in the impossible to encouraging curiosity to telling stories to making art to being silly to loving fiercely. Below, you’ll find ideas for doing just that.
Creating a theater inside your house is a great way to encourage kids to perform everything from plays to puppet shows to concerts. Which you can do by creating a doorway theater: Soule used a shower curtain tension rod and two long curtain panels in their double-door-sized opening between the dining and living rooms. This created a stage and a backstage for props (in their dining room). She also added flashlights, which created spotlights.
According to Soule, “This theater stayed up for months and saw use every day as one performance after another was practiced, dress rehearsed, and ultimately, ‘performed.’”