I spent the last two weekends hosting Christmas Crafts and Storytelling on the only canal boat cafe in Edinburgh, Zazou at Harrison Park. It was a little quieter than we had hoped, we didn’t have real life reindeer or a big wheel like Princes Street but we did have a boat, lots of sequins, excited children and snowmen made from socks!
Children and Creativity
I was reminded how wonderfully uninhabited children are when it comes to creativity. The younger they were, the more colourful and creative their sock snowmen became. I’d designed these snowmen to be really simple and easy to make but I hadn’t imagined all the different shapes, sizes and colours that transpired. They became so very individual, just like us.
Parents asked their children questions like “what colour is a snowman’s mouth?” and the children would respond with their pen, wanting to get it right. The younger children made their snowman’s mouth blue or orange and I love that. It’s their snowman, their new creation, it can be any colour they want.
I believe we’re all are creative in some way or another, as we get older we often loose that element of risk and play it safe with our creativity. Children don’t have to be perfect, they’re expected to make a mess and they enjoy experimenting. It helped me to remember to enjoy experimenting and taking a risk.
The children made peg fridge magnets too, I took photos on my phone both weekends and used twitter to share their crafty creations whenever I got a free moment. Most of them are in an album on the banana me beautiful facebook. Here are a few more of my favourites.
This was to be a community event, crafts and stories, something for families, something to bring people together at Christmas, but we needed help to let people know it was happening.
Steve, the boat manager wrote an article for the canalside magazine, they even added their own pictures. I wrote a press release which ended up in the Edinburgh Reporter, Edinburgh City of Literature and Innertube Map, masszive thanks to all of these organisations for helping.
We asked the people who visited the boat how they’d heard about the event. One family had come because someone had posted it onto the Mum’s yoga group facebook page, several people had emails from the local food group, one lady said her Mum had heard about it on Princes Street, some were passing, several came from the kidding around Edinburgh facebook page and others from the links above.
I’d written the story especially for the event to be take place on the canal, it featured a forgetful swan and a singing squirrel. There were chances for everyone to participate, an adult was in charge of splashing (with real water), we all sang the song. Steve the boat owner woofed like a dog and made a big bang half way through the thunderstorm, at this point we were stamping our feet and drumming on our knees. I did a few small story groups, one or two families joined together and we had fun. A small girl said, “can we do that again?” as soon as we finished, her brother didn’t want to do it again, he couldn’t wait to spot the squirrel and the lightning tree from the story, he ran to the window and pressed his nose against the glass, “can we go and see the squirrel?, I want to see the squirrel!”.
And so, even though I didn’t get to tell the story as many times as I hoped, I helped to make a lot of snowmen, angels, stars and Christmas trees. I had a brilliant time on the boat, thanks so much to Steve and to everyone else who helped support the event.