Spring has finally arrived. It’s time to get outside and play! Whether you’re inspired by the bright colors, fresh smells, sight or sounds, there are tons of fun ways to play outdoors. April is a great time to fully embrace new beginnings. We can’t imagine a better event to celebrate Mother Nature with Earth Day at the end of this month.
Many of us don’t realize how important play actually for our bodies and minds. Participating in daily playful activities such as walking your dog, painting with your child, cooking or even reading can bring joy and is essential to building problem solving skills and creativity.
Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, said in a Ted Talk that play is born by curiosity and exploration. The very nature of play and creativity is more about discovery and enjoying an experience rather than reaching a specific goal.
When it comes to creativity everyone has an inner artist. Self-expression doesn’t have an end game or require approval by others. Finding a creative outlet that suits your interests may not be easy at first, especially if you don’t already feel like an artist. But have no fear!
We’ve compiled a list of activities for you to test the waters. Spring is just beginning. Explore!
6 Ways to Harness Creativity
1. Free draw or paint — Let go and get messy with this one. Getting outside the lines might just spark some new ideas. Pull from any inspiration inside you and don’t forget to add color! You may have noticed that coloring books are very popular right now. That’s because coloring can be a calming activity and tap into the non-logical part of the brain.
2. Listen to or make music — Like painting or drawing, music can be a great outlet for letting go. This can be a great activity to have children participate in as well as a way to learn more about different instruments and sounds.
3. Go outside — It’s been shown that connecting with nature can help to improve creativity and overall well being. By becoming active outdoors through yoga or taking a long stroll through the park, or even reading underneath a big tree, you can feel more in touch with mother nature. Plus, bringing elements like rocks, shells and flower indoors can help you to tap into your creative powers and use your imagination even more!
4. Get cookin’— Stir it up instead of ordering out. Take a trip to a local farm, or even walk through the grocery store. It’s fun to teach your children about where their food comes from. Spend time chopping it all up and cooking together, incorporating different fruits and vegetables to create a beautiful and colorful meal.
5. Try meditation — Believe it or not, creativity is cultivated best when we are able to take the time to be still and absorb all that is around us. Taking a moment or two throughout the day to be in solitude and silence with help for bursts of creativity!
6. Write it all out — Have you ever just opened a blank notebook and, without limitations, filled the pages? It can be a liberating experience. James Pennebaker, PhD, has researched the benefits of expressive writing. Over and over again his studies show that writing can lead to a path of healing. If nothing comes to mind try reading a short excerpt in a novel or magazine and then follow your stream of thought. Who knows, a few things you might not have expected could come up.
So go ahead and get creative. Be inspired by the springtime nature around you, use your hands, listen to your intuition… play in puddles.
Stay tuned for more articles this month on creativity and play.
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