Creative Time : : 10 Minute Shadowbox

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Living the creative life you would like your children to mirror – it’s tough. It seems that time has a way of slipping by at once both unnoticed and keenly felt. But Time, along with Tools and Space, these are the three key things we need to craft a creative life. We focused on the tools you need – both physical and emotional – last week; today we’re going to talk time.

As a parent, time seems especially important. Our children’s lives roll by in the blink of an eye and there is so much to do in the day – work, laundry, cooking – we all have our “to-do” lists continually rolling through our minds. So as good as our intentions are, often times things like personal time, creative making, or even exercise get pushed to the bottom. Suddenly it’s the end of the day and you are left wondering where the time went.

But connecting with your little one doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Sure, we would all love to devote an hour or two (and more!) every day to our children, but that is not the reality of life; plus, it is just as important to take a bit of time just for you, too.  When it comes to connecting with our kids, even devoting just 10-15 minutes in the day can provide a whole host of benefits. The important part isn’t the actual number of minutes you spend on a project, but rather the fact that you’ve taken the time to focus on and craft with your little one. Whether you know it or not, in this simple act you are expressing important and resonating messages to your child:

You are important and loved. Creating is valuable.
Creating and connecting with You is worth my time.

And so today, to help foster these messages while at the same time making it feel less overwhelming to you, we bring you a project you can complete with your little one in just 5-10 minutes, with very little prep or clean up time. What’s better, this shadow box can act just as Vashti’s “shiny gold frame” for your child’s art – taking something that is special to them and elevating it, showing that it’s special to you, too.

You Will Need

IMG_9329 Paint
Ribbon or string
An old box

What To Do

Gather your materials – any old box will do!

Set your little one up with a couple of paints (or other coloring utensils – if paint it too much for the moment, or if your child doesn’t like paint, you can use markers, crayons, chalk, etc.)

Now, create. The only instructions needed are to create, to paint. Paint the entire inside. Paint the outside too if you’d like (we mostly kept ours paint-free). Paint and talk and sit. Notice the colors, ask your child to describe what they are creating, be present. Connect.

IMG_9365 IMG_9344 IMG_9354 Hang it up. When your little one is done painting, set the box to the side to dry. Once dry, cut holes on each side and string your ribbon through. Now you can hang the shadow box in a place of importance. We decided to hang ours with some other artwork we have in the living room.

The box will look lovely empty, or showcasing your child’s latest art.

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Or even hosting other special treasures your little one would like displayed – the options are endless!


Explore More

What other materials or coloring tools could you use to decorate another shadow box?
Can you find a different container to make into a shadow box – what makes it good for a shadow box? Are there containers that wouldn’t work? How come?

Reading Connections

Look at the page where Vashti’s dots are on display at their school art show – do you see the shiny gold frame? Do you see anything that looks like your shadow box?
What else do you notice?

Is there a spot in your home where you have a collection of art?
How would your shadow box look in that collection?
Can you find a spot in your home to set up your own art collection?
Perhaps you can host your own art show!

Connect with Us

How did your shadow box (or boxes!) turn out? Please share your ideas, inspirations, stories or pictures in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or email us and we will feature you on our site – we look forward to connecting with you!


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