The ‘Art’ of Having Fun

Welcome to the April 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Pastimes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about family pastimes.


What came first, the chicken or the egg? That’s a question I’ve never quite been able to get my head around… Equally, I can’t quite answer this: What came first, my enthusiasm for art or my children’s enthusiasm for art? A tricky one, that one.


When I was a child I loved to draw, to colour in and paint, but as I got older and received no positive feedback from the art teachers at school I assumed that my creations weren’t any good. I struggled on, trying to teach myself how to paint with watercolours, but unfortunately, chose a book that wasn’t particularly useful or instructive. I put the paint brushes away, assuming that I lacked the inherent talent necessary to become good at art.


Almost twenty years later I started drawing and colouring in alongside my three-year-old daughter because, you know, these are the kinds of things mums do. I enjoyed doing this and was even quite pleased with some of my doodles.


The next couple of years I was busy with my new baby, my son, but I still encouraged my daughter to paint and draw, as she seemed to really enjoy it, and gradually, very gradually (and as my son grew more independent) I was able to snatch a few minutes of time here and there to have a go at painting with watercolours once more. And I LOVED it!


Okay, so my initial efforts weren’t great, but I was enjoying it, and the more my children painted, the more I painted. And the more I painted the more I could see that I was improving. I borrowed some great books about art from the library, and began to teach myself all over again. I now realize that anyone can paint or draw – all you really need is the ability to see and an illustrating tool. (Although plenty of practice and patience help too!)


‘Art’ is now simply one of the things that we all ‘do’ and like to do. I try to do a little drawing, or painting every day, but if it’s not possible it’s not a big deal – there’s always tomorrow.


The main thing is that we all have fun with it, and I know that in years to come our pictures will be a lovely reminder of the precious times spent together as a young family.


MS 'Our family' cartoon in colour
MS ‘Our family’ cartoon in colour

Grandma and  3 year old grandson art
Grandma and 3 year old grandson art

MS and RB Rainbow slug lady
MS and RB Rainbow slug lady

TCB Willy Wonka's chocolate factory board game
TCB – Dad: Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory board game

TCB (from magnetic sketcher) 'sibling argument'
TCB – Dad: (from magnetic sketcher) ‘Sibling argument’

RB lady smelling flower
RB – Big sister: A Lady Smelling A Flower

Dad's  dinosaur maze
Dad’s dinosaur maze

MS Rainbow line art 'mother and child'
MS Rainbow line art ‘mother and child’

Brother and sister collaborative line art
Brother and sister collaborative line art


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • 8 Reasons to Go Camping with Your Kids — The weather is warmer, and it is time to think about taking a break. As you plan your family vacation, Mandy of Living Peacefully with Children, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, explains why you should consider hitting the trails with your kids.
  • Crafty Cohorts — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys crafting with her kids, and the skills they are learning.
  • 10 Hobbies For Families With Young Children — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama knows that finding hobbies families can do together (with young children in tow) isn’t always the easiest of feats. She has compiled a list of 10 family friendly hobbies that children of all ages can enjoy and that won’t break the bank!
  • Helping Himawari — Sophelia’s family at Sophelia’s Adventures in Japan share a passion for helping when a dog is abandoned at the nearby elementary school.
  • The ‘Art’ of Having FunMarija Smits shares some thoughts on family art and fun.
  • How we made our own Family Day — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares how her family celebrates the best day of the week, a chance for connection and adventure and endless possibilities: Family Day!
  • Our Family Hobby — Survivor talks about how animal husbandry has become her family’s favorite hobby at Surviving Mexico Adventures and Disasters.
  • Sowing the Seeds of Passions — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs wonders if her interests, and her husband’s, will shape her children’s passions as they mature.
  • Harry Potter Potions Party — One of the best activities Dionna at Code Name: Mama has ever done with her family has been a Harry Potter Potions Party. She is sharing the resources she used to create their potion recipes, the ingredients and tools they experimented with, and the recipes themselves. Feel free to use and adapt for your own budding wizards and witches!
  • Pastimes Have Passed Me By — Kati at The Best Things takes a new perspective on projects that never get done.
  • Food as a cultural experience for preschoolers — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings finds that food is a good way to engage her preschoolers on a journey of cultural discovery.
  • 10 Reasons I Love Thrifting With My ChildrenThat Mama Gretchen has always enjoyed shopping, but with a growing family she’s become more frugal and thus, her little ones are now in tow on her thrift store adventures.
  • Pastime with Family vs Family Pastime — You can share lots of pastimes with your family, but Jorje of Momma Jorje discovered a family pastime was much more pleasant for sharing.

19 thoughts on “The ‘Art’ of Having Fun”

  1. Pingback: Crafty Cohorts « Our Mindful Life

  2. Good for you for picking it back up with your kids. I know that I’ve had several different experiences of activities that have been immeasurably more fun with my kids than they were before.
    Love the collaborative art 🙂

    1. Yes, art after having kids has been much more enjoyable – probably because I don’t put such a great weight of expectation on myself. Glad you like the collaborative art – it is very good fun to do!

  3. Pingback: Our Family Hobby | Surviving Mexico

  4. I love all your art! You’re inspiring me to create more alongside my children. I’d always been under the impression I wasn’t particularly skilled, but I do love creating, and I enjoyed a watercolor class I took as an adult but haven’t gotten back into it since having kids. Thanks for sharing your family creations!

    1. Thank you very much Lauren! Your kind words about my art mean a lot to me 🙂

      I’m so glad I’ve helped a little to inspire you to create more alongside your children. I always thought that you were either ‘good’ at art or you weren’t. Turns out it’s really more about practice and patience than anything else. So go for it! I think the key thing is to simply have fun with it.

  5. I am genuinely terrible at drawing and painting, but I try to be mindful never to say that as though it is a reason not to enjoy it! My sin sometimes focuses so hard on being “good at” things as though achievement is all that matters. Art is a great opportunity to talk to him about self expression, and the importance of the process not just the quality of the end product.
    I love the idea of illustrating board games and mazes, we will definitely have to try those!

  6. I love this post and your family artwork! It’s so true – anyone can paint or draw. I think what deters us is the standards we hold our self to. Drawing or painting next to my kids helps me not take myself so seriously.

  7. I love this! It looks like you all have so much fun with it. I need to get some books on painting and see if I can pick it up more. What a great idea!

  8. It is sooooo important to grow up with a sense of art as an expression of self and not as something to be judged for. My husband drives me batty because he uses judgment words when commenting on my daughter’s art. I try so hard to help her understand that art is not good or bad. it is everything in between and it is not so much about what others see but how it made us feel as we create it. So I love this post!

    1. Thanks Sophelia, Kati, Kellie and Jennifer for your kind comments which arrived in the middle of the night – I’m in the UK (Greenwich Mean Time) so I guess I was fast asleep when they turned up.

      Sophelia, quite honestly, you cannot be terrible at drawing and painting, you probably just have very high expectations for what a beginner’s work *should* look like. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that feeling of ‘achievement is all that matters’. Letting go of that can be hard, but once one does art is so much more enjoyable… and then the real groundwork can begin! Do have a go at the board games and mazes – they are a fun thing to do together 🙂

      Kati – you’re so right – it’s the standards we hold ourselves to that sometimes deters us from even having a go.

      Kellie – do have a look at a few books and get the ones where you like the look of the art. If you find any that you really like let me know!

      Jennifer – I’m with you there too (about the judgement, I mean!). I wrote a piece about helpful communications and the power of descriptive recognition. Feel free to have a read if you have a spare moment.

      Thank you all lovely ladies, and I hope you have fun ‘doing art’ alongside (or with) your children.

  9. Pingback: food as a cultural experience for preschoolers

  10. That’s so great that your daughter got you to rediscover your love for art. What a great way to spend some quality time with your kids. I think one of the things I’m looking forward to most about having kids (one day!) is that i’ll get to do arts and crafts and not feel guilty about it since it’s “family time” whereas now it’s considered “me time” and I sometimes feel bad if I spend too much time doing that and neglecting other responsibilities.

    1. It HAS been lovely for me to re-discover my love of art through painting/sketching alongside my daughter 🙂

      But please don’t feel bad about spending “me time” on your art Agata! The early years with children are really intense – even now most of my art is done with a child (or two) on my lap and there isn’t often a spare minute (or fifteen) to work on something seriously before someone needs me. Perhaps if more people would acknowledge that time for art/craft is as important for a human being’s emotional (and creative) well-being as exercise is to their physical well-being than perhaps more people would feel better about spending more time on creativity. Honestly, you’ll never look back on your life and regret the time you spent on painting, rather than, say, washing-up. The dirty dishes can wait – they’ll always be there 😉

  11. Pingback: 10 Reasons I Love Thrifting WIth My Children | That Mama Gretchen

  12. Pingback: 10 Hobbies For Families With Young Children Hybrid Rasta Mama

  13. Pingback: Pencil, paper… bright ideas! « Marija Smits

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