What does the phrase “field trip” invoke for you? If you are channeling your inner child you might be thinking…
Freedom from school! School Bus Shenanigans! Lunchables!
If you are a teacher or parent who has ever played chaperon you might be thinking…
Stress and chaos! Anarchy! Why can’t this bus stop at a winery for once!
I want to talk about a “field trip” today that could actually be a positive experience for children and adults alike. Last week I wrote about the inspiration I took from Creative Habit and the beneficial lessons I try to incorporate into my daily routine. One of my favorite creative breaks and moments to spark inspiration is the recommendation to take a creative field trip.
A creative field trip can involve different elements for different people, or needs. Often the break from the day to day is enough to spark creativity, whether you hit the mall or the art museum. Sometimes you just want the chance to find peace to think, like hiking or sitting in a coffee shop. Sometimes you want to be inspired. Maybe a local book store or library gives you a moment to brainstorm, dream. Perhaps window shopping at a cute boutique. There are no specific guidelines for what a creative field trip means to you, and it may change depending on your needs at any given time. I think the only rule is you allow your mind to wonder to positive, productive,“dream big” thoughts instead of long to do lists.
Children need these creative field trips as well. Less for the need to spark creativity and inspiration, for I believe the beauty of childhood is that innovation, imagination, creativity is endless. But rather, a creative field trip for a child is a helpful break from the expected to the unexpected. It gives them a chance to stretch their imagination as well as critical thinking. When faced with a new space, new experience, they are learning to navigate the surprises, creating new thinking pathways, and challenging their current world view.
Sometimes this means creating a space with open freedom. Have you heard of a penny walk? When heading out for a daily walk, instead of loading the kids up in a stroller and heading to the same favorite park, give your child the freedom to pick the path. At each intersection, flip a coin to decide which way to turn. The journey then becomes part of the excitement. And freedom to explore provides confidence and problem solving.
Or maybe try being a tourist for the day. We live in a pretty exciting city with endless ideas. But I bet even in the smallest of towns, there are unique spaces to visit you never would have considered before. Having visitors in town always sparks this chance to check out something new. Often this means we find ourselves in places that may not necessarily be on the top ten list of kid favorites. Children’s museums are fantastic and we are so thankful for ours and our annual membership. But local history museums or government buildings can be an interesting field trip for a child when given the right prompts. This often means we play many games of eye spy. On this particular State Capitol visit, I asked Caroline to point out every star she could find. And while keeping her mind engaged, we were able to sneak in a little bit of history about who works in that building. Win win parenting moment right there.
My brother is a fantastic photographer with an exceptional eye for urban scenes. I knew when he came to visit this would be a perfect opportunity to check out the Hope Outdoor Gallery.
Concrete walls on a hill decorated with graffiti for any artist to use on a rotating basis focusing on positive messages. I loved the chaotic mess that hits you upon arrival and then followed by the hunt for inspiring messages throughout. I took a particular interest in looking for “love.” I loved the self expression of words and art layered upon one another. And I loved that it wasn’t permanent. A constant shift depending on the artist, the mood, the inspiration. You could come back time after time and see something different. A new creative spark every visit.
Caroline, meanwhile, loved tagging along with her uncle. She asked to see his photos. She climbed up the hill to take in the view. She pointed out silly art and asked Sam to take her picture. This messy art probably didn’t shock her as much as it does another adult. She is quite comfortable with the mess of creating and recreating. But the freedom part, the chance to wonder, and follow in her uncle’s footsteps, that was inspiring to her.
So where are you going today for your Creative Field Trip? You don’t need a whole day. Take a different route home from work. Go for a walk during lunch. Finally check out that thrift shop you’ve been eyeing on the corner. You never know what it might inspire.