Creativity in the family:

essays by Bruce Van Patter

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Creativity on my mind

These are essays from the weekly column I wrote for a parenting website. They cover a range of thoughts I have concerning how we can make creative ideas thrive in our families. These essays are part blog, part personal storytelling, part advice. I hope you'll find them entertaining and useful.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think. Feel free to send me your thoughts.

Jack of All Trades or Master of One? -- the dilemma of whether to let kids specialize

Reading Between the Lines -- a broad base of knowledge is a key to reading

A Recharged Battery -- some thoughts wait for a moment's silence

Exploring -- children have an urge to go press into uncharted territory

Outdoor Stories -- take your read-aloud book outside!

The Five Sense of Summer -- using all our senses to soak in the world around us

Keeping Loose -- helping kids make the most of summer

Hunting for Surprises -- my daughter and I turn a trip to the park into an adventure

A Cartoon Hero -- kids need creative heroes. Here's one of mine.

Seeking Beauty -- Spring reminds us that we have a need for beauty

Let's Put Our Hands Together -- creative people do not have to work alone

Ifs, Ands or Butts -- inventing new words can be fun!

Mysteries and Monsters -- there are still places where unknown creatures live

April Fools -- when I've used my creativity for dubious purposes

Animation Nation -- get ready: the flood of animated films is on its way!

Read-Aloud Movies -- silent comedy films are wonderful for kids

Getting Unstuck -- what do I say to a creative girl who's stalled in her creativity?

The Man with the Big Picture -- how boyhood shaped Ansel Adams

The Frame Game -- kids and cameras

Blanket Forts -- adventures without leaving the house

Wrestle Ball -- kids and a parent and a game on a carpet

Lessons from Norman Rockwell -- the simple beginnings from a great American illustrator

Adventure on the Air -- recapturing a love for audio stories

Tale of the Tape -- tips for making your own audio adventures

How to Catch a Light Bulb -- a small, simple way to get big ideas

It's a Snap! -- using photos to spur imaginations

The Boy Behind the Wardrobe -- the beginnings of Narnia

Sunny Side Up -- fighting the ever-present cloudy views of life

Background Music -- how music can lift your family's mood

Listening in Layers -- training our ears and minds to hear beneath the surface of sounds

Keep Me in Suspense -- the thin line between suspenseful and scary

Pirates in Our Living Room -- ways to dress up a child's imagination

It's Like This -- creative people think in analogies

Keep a Puppet on Hand -- a few tips on making toys come to life

Tasting Excellence -- how to decide what art, books, films are worthwhile

Fortune Cookies -- your dessert is trying to tell you something

To Boldly Go -- what is your final frontier?

In the Mind's Eye: Books vs. Movies -- you've read the book, should you see the movie?

A School Year's Resolution -- setting a creative goal for the new school year

A Turn for the Verse-- a sadly neglected section of the library awaits you

What Guests Leave Behind -- the hidden treasures of hospitality

Tire-Swing Time Machines -- plastic playgrounds and an old tire on a rope

The Nine Lives of Copycats -- Hollywood copies. Is copying all that bad?

Walled Gardens -- is it naive to think we can protect our kids?

Chalk It Up -- let's make our driveway into a board game!

Cartoon Characters -- cartooning can be great fun for kids, and a way to build characters

The Man Who Played With Perceptions -- mind-bending images flowed from this artist's pen

Open Roads, Open Minds -- traveling gives us new horizons

Backyard Basics -- want to think outside the box? Get outside the house!

Making Museums Fun -- ways to get kids excited about museums and historic places

A Legacy of Limericks -- the genius of Edward Lear

In the Field of Play -- it's time to blow the whistle on organized sports

A Plug for Unplugging -- one very easy way to help kids be creative

The Voice in the Toy -- a simple stuffed bear wins the day

Creative Free-fall -- that sinking feeling when we try to create

Yellow Snowflakes -- my daughter teaches me to paint outside the box

Lessons from Dr. Seuss -- we can learn much from a simple boyhood story

An Audience of One -- an century-old autograph book has a lesson for us to learn

Finding New Ways to Be a Kid -- what we've lost and a thought or two about how to get it back

The Day of the Sparkly Castle -- one day my family was forced outside the box

Plotting Romance -- put some imagination into your marriage

The Perfect Peanut Butter Partner -- combining things is a key to creativity

Art That's Bold and Cold -- snow sculptures on a small and grand scale

That's One Super Question -- one that will get your family imagining

Surprising Angles -- looking at life in a fresh way

Feast On -- a plan to feed your family's minds

all material ©2005-2006 Bruce Van Patter