You will have no doubt noticed the massive craze for colouring books. Maybe even bought some for yourself or your children as a creative and therapeutic activity to help with mindfulness and switching off from the stressful world – as many a sales pitch tells us.
I suspect many practising artists would question how truly creative they are. But the fact remains that people use them as a creative pursuit they find relaxing. And if colouring is something anyone can turn to for improved mental wellbeing, as is suggested, then it doesn’t matter what it’s called.
In fact, artistic and creative pursuits might soon be what doctors prescribe instead of pills to help patients with mental health issues. For research now shows that these activities make a valuable contribution to our overall health, as well as contributing to the development of various skills in our kids.
This follows a study by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing who found that being involved with creative activities in any form had a noticeable effect on mental wellbeing.
So it is increasingly worrying that most forms of art are being squeezed out of the curriculum, and children’s lives in general, as academic grades in schools and digital pursuits at home fill the time and opportunity once spent on drawing, making and creating.
Parents and educators need to compensate by putting creative activities back into lifestyles and learning activities.
Many adults are nervous of creative pursuits, not only because of the bad press labelling the arts as time wasting and unprofitable, but also because they feel ill equipped as artists themselves.
However, it’s not necessary to be an artist to get creativity into life, as the colouring craze shows as well as perhaps illustrating how desperate we all are to do an activity that is physically creative rather than digitally so. And there are such a range of creative activities families can pursue once you start looking.
To get the family started you could;
- Check out what clubs, classes or groups are available in your area which offer art, crafts, drama, music, dance etc.
- Visit the Art and Craft shelves in the library.
- Take a look at the craft sections in cheap shops, like The Works, Poundland, or The Range for example, for ideas and inexpensive materials to inspire.
- Consider though, how you can make or improvise rather than buy your craft. Inventiveness is creative.
- At the risk of returning you to the digital, Pintrest and other social media sites are great for ideas if you try a few relevant hashtags
- Don’t be afraid to have a go, copy, do it wrong, make a mess, customise, cut and stick, experiment, deviate from the instructions and create outside the lines, all of which are creative.
- Take a look at Keri Smith’s book ‘Wreck This Journal’ and others. The kids love them.
- If all else fails; doodle. Or colour in. Then make your own pattern to colour!