Play and Creative Practice: 5 Ideas to Bring Back the Fun

Just this last week I posed a question about play in a Facebook Group. I asked the members to share their favourite activity as a kid. Reading the answers felt like a walk down memory lane and there was a lot of “Me, too!” going on.  I believe play is one of the most important ingredient in my creative practice. Without it, I get too serious and then all kinds of creative obstacles rear their heads. Things like judgement and perfectionism. It’s not long before I’m stalled and finding ways to stay out of the Studio.

Play is one of the most important ingredients of a creative practice. It stops perfectionism and judgment.

Which puts me in the weird place many of us creative types find ourselves — passionate about our art while running away from it at the same time. SO here are 5 ideas for keeping a sense of play in your creative life.

play with ladybug rocks1. Paint rocks (or shells or leaves or…)

One of the things I find many of us have in common is a fear of ruining something ‘precious’, even when it’s just paper. So let’s remove that from the equation, shall we?

Take a walk and collect smooth rocks. The shoreline here is covered with them but if they’re hard to find in your area, pick up a bag at the dollar store. I’ve even seen this done on leaves, so let your imagination go. No rules.

Grab some inexpensive craft acrylic paints and markers in all your favourite colours and have some fun. If you need ideas, check out Pinterest. Search on Painted Rocks and you’ll find all sorts of ways to decorate your rocks. Scatter them around your studio and in your garden.

Here’s a YouTube video with directions for LadyBug Rocks.

2. Create Inspiration Ribbons or Prayer Flags

Prayer FlagsGet some wide pieces of ribbon or strips of cloth. Write wishes and inspiring words on them with markers. If you have the skills you could even embroider these.

Zig-zag stitch or tie them to a longer ribbon or string and secure them across a window or doorway in your creative space. Bonus points if there’s a breeze to help them flutter.

Lots of ideas here at The Prayer Flag Project.

zen play3. Create a Zen Garden to play with on your work table or desk.

Get a small box top or even an Altoid tin like this one I found on Pinterest. Fill it with fine sand. Use a fork to create patterns. Decorate your garden with tiny pebbles. You might even find some tiny figurines. (Or make your own from Fimo.)

Love this portable Zen Garden!

4. Get a kid’s colouring book and some crayons

I know there are great colouring books available for adults but we want to inspire playfulness. Keep the images simple. And there’s nothing quite like a box of 64 Crayola Crayons to tap into your childhood memories of play.

And speaking of childhood memories…

5. Build a tent fort

We all need to block out the rest of the world some days. That’s why kids love tent forts. It’s their private retreat. Why not build your own temporary shelter right in your studio or even outdoors.

Gather some snacks, take your journal or sketchbook inside and take your own trip down memory lane.

Who care what the neighbours think?

10 thoughts on “Play and Creative Practice: 5 Ideas to Bring Back the Fun”

    1. Colouring really does get us into creative flow. There are a lot of reasons but I think the fact we don’t have to be original, only authentic is part of it.

  1. I love doing creative things. Painting shells is my favorite and I’m saving golf balls that fly over our store to paint into ladybugs! Thanks for your great ideas.

  2. Last summer I saw the girls across the street drawing on their driveway with chalk. I had this strong urge to go out and buy some chalk and do the same. Some online friends even encouraged me when I jokingly mentioned it… but I admit I chickened out. Sadly, I did wonder what the neighbours would think (and my husband). Now after reading this, I am thinking “Who cares?” I love the fort idea! Having my very own “she shed” would be even better! Those painted ladybug rocks are adorable. I’m off to check out Pinterest now. Thanks for the inspiring post Aprille.

    1. Funny, I saw some chalk drawings this week and thought it looked like fun. Maybe we can start a new fad between us! And I hadn’t thought of a She-Shed as a fort but you’re so right. It’s a playhouse for grow ups kids like us.
      Thanks for sharing!

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