In preparation for summer I have been stocking up on fresh school supplies.
There are very few things as satisfying in life as fresh school supplies. Everytime I tell someone that we are planning to have school-time over the summer I feel a little like the Grinch, but it's not as bad as it sounds. A little summer reading, a vegetable gardening project, some woodworking, some cooking, some rock climbing, some dabbling with art projects and some creative writing. Swap out shuffleboard for the rock climbing and it begins to sound more like retirement than summer school. There are still the Latin and Greek lessons and a smattering of math, but they like that stuff, I swear they do.
One of our projects for the summer is our creative writing group. So far we only have family members, but we want to eventually open it to friends as well. The idea is to exercise our creative muscles a bit.
We meet outdoors with our Creative Writing Kit and a big pitcher of lemonade and have at it. Sometimes we do creative writing exercises, sometimes we just write. There are no right or wrong ways of doing it, whatever strikes your mood. You can write it in crayon, you can write it in pencil. You can even write it in window markers on the patio door.
We're trying to establish the practice of creativity as a habit, something that is worthy of setting aside time for. It's far too easy in life to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to give yourself space to dream and play. It's easier, of course, for kids, but I think the practice is still a valuable one. The more ingrained it becomes for them to give themselves that time and space the more likely they will be to continue it as they get older and the "real world" (I hate that phrase) increases its demands.
I also hope that now, while their inner critic is still relatively quiet and the world is still a place of wonder and possibility, that the practice of giving themselves permission to just do and create and make will give them the ammunition they need to fight that critic and bring their gifts to the world.
Mostly, though, it's just for fun. I have been participating too. My creative muscles have atrophied a bit over the winter and it's good cheap fun to let my imagination come out and play for a while.