Last week, my niece Jaeda came over for a crafternoon. So named by my friend Bec, crafternoons are unstructured arts and crafts afternoons. The adult versions are usually laced with wine, but the kids’ versions always feel more restorative. With my nieces, I colour, paint, make candles, write songs — whatever they want to do.
Here are four ways they’ve benefitted me.
I slow down.
During the week, I stick to a frenetic pace of activities tied to rigid project deliverables. Crafternoons are the opposite. They’re a rare and much-needed opportunity to be directionless; to engage in slow flow action that can approximate meditation.
I practice being terrible at things.
As a card-carrying nerd who got hooked on the drug of straight A’s, I’ve had to coach myself through the fear of failure. As much as I love the arts, cannot sing, dance, draw, paint, nada. Crafternoons help me reframe that. Yes, I can do those things. And I can enjoy them, regardless of how my efforts might be judged.
I connect with my loved ones.
There’s something magical about giving a child — or anyone — undiluted attention. When it’s just you and your co-creators and the tools of the day, conversation and connectedness have room to thrive. Plus there’s value in letting a child watch you learn and fail and in giving them an opportunity to lead.
I connect with myself.
Supporting a child in a creative session can be a step toward building our own creative practice. Healing the relationship with our own inner child can be the biggest payoff. As creativity coach Denise Robinson tells me, “Your creative voice is a healing voice. It provides you space for expression where words fail you or the space is not open for you to express your own ideas.”
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