August 6, 2013

"I'm Bored!"

To be honest, I don't hear the cry of boredom much. We're an active family, not to mention creative in many things, whether the tangible or with time. I remember my grandmother saying that she was just "piddlin'." I never thought she was doing just seemed that she did a little bit of this and a little bit of that...yet she created beautiful porcelain dolls with intricate dresses.

She found great satisfaction in just putterin' about. The older I get, I find that I enjoy the freedom and creativity of piddling; so do my kids.

My kids are learning how to use their time--well, sometimes it's not used all that wisely--but they do fill their time doing.

Since TV is limited (we don't even have cable) and a generous amount of art supplies are readily available, they always have their hands into something. Their unstructured play time (though I guess it should be called "down time" or "free time" now that the girls are older) is filled with crafts and baking and reading and music making and gardening and such.

Just to watch them minute by minute you may not notice what is really happening since they sort of flutter from one activity to the next. They seem to being doing nothing productive. But let a little time pass and their little bits of this and little bits of that become a realistic product from their imagination.

"Never Underestimate the value of doing nothing." 
~A.A. Milne
So when assignments and chores are done, and boredom begins calling, you will find my kids:

  • having spontaneous music lessons, sharing what each other knows 
  • trying to harmonize a song that's stuck in their heads 
  • researching the life cycle of moonjellies because they saw baby jellies at the aquarium
  • facepainting
  • learning to draw so that their facepainting art improves
  • baking brownies
  • making playdough
  • creating forts from pillows and sheets
  • creating (sometimes it's zentangling, sometimes it's watercolors, sometimes it's paper)
  • gardening
  • researching why the pumpkins didn't get as big as we thought and how to keep the bugs off the tomatoes
  • drawing birds
I can hear you say, "but you have girls! And girls like to do those types of things! What about boys?"

My boy, who is still young, doesn't lay around long enough to let boredom find him. He can be found:
  • making playdough with his sisters
  • building forts
  • dressing up as a super hero
  • creating a lego tower
  • turning sticks into arrows
  • racing his cars
  • folding paper airplanes
  • drawing and put his artwork on the fridge
  • posting signs to keep his sisters out of the bathroom

So my children are in the process of mastering my grandmother's art of piddling. Independent exploration--a little bit of this and a little bit of that--goes a long way in stirring the pot of creativity and keeping boredom at bay.

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