As kids we spend our entire days playing, we learn about the world and ourselves through play but at some point, we decide we’re too old to play.
Being called childish as a teenager was a massive insult, so we stopped doing what seemed like fun to prove to our friends and family that we were fully functioning adults.
We feel like everything we do must have a purpose, we must be grown up, sensible and not waste our time being childlike.
Fun is reserved for once you’ve done all the adult stuff, well that’s what we’ve been conditioned to believe.
The sad thing is we lost something special during our childhood. The urge to play just because we wanted too. To get lost in our imaginations for hours on end and to colour and draw just for the sake of it. To write a story, just to see where it would take us and to paint because we loved how the colours interacted.
If I handed you pretty markers and tell you to colour something. You’d you probably ask why? What’s the purpose? Is it going to be used in some way when it’s finished?
It’s likely you’d tell me you’ve got more important things to do, such as the housework, a family to look after and a job to do.
But wouldn’t you feel so much better doing that “responsible adult stuff” after you’ve had time to play? How rejuvenating would it be to spend an hour being childlike, getting chance experience the simple wonder and satisfaction of creating something?
Allowing ourselves to play with craft supplies or to create something, tells us so much about ourselves. We are often surprised by the things we like, those we thought we’d love, but don’t and the happy accidents that occur along the way. Creative play gives us the opportunity to see “what if” without it having disastrous consequences. If we don’t like what we’ve created, we can throw it in the bin, lessons learned.
My favourite way to find that wonder and satisfaction is to throw paint down on a Gelli plate (it’s a surface you can use to make prints on) I love it because although I’ve decided the paint colours, I never know how much I’m going to love the print until I lift if off the plate and turn it over.
It really wasn’t that long ago, I barely created anything because I wasn’t sure what or who I was creating it for. Was I going to turn it into a card? Was I going to put it up on the wall? Because I didn’t know the answer to this, I never bothered to start. It was only when I focused on the feelings of surprise and satisfaction that I realised that the purpose of creating anything wasn’t the end product, but the discoveries you learnt along with way.