A couple of days before Christmas I decided to give myself a small gift and get Amanda Soule's wonderful book, "The Creative Family", which is only about $10. It's not a craft book per se. To my thinking, 'craft book' means lists of specific materials, instructions, and a certain end result for each project.
That's not what this book is. Far more than end results and 'do' lists, it's about fostering a creative, imaginative spirit in every member of your family. It was funny, with a bevy of gifts to put under the tree, and many commercial 'name brand' presents, to be reading about paring down and being more selective. I felt simultaneously guilty, a bit rebellious (hey! we're happy, and not nearly as consumerist as so many families I know!), and mostly unsure of how I felt about it as I read the opening chapter of the book.
In the week that followed, I kept picking up and putting down the book, slowly absorbing, and considering what I do and do not think would work in my house. Really, I am still thinking.
One thing I am sure of is that I will continue instilling in the children a love of art and craft... of creating things with your hands and imagination. I would like to also teach the children embroidery. While my kids also have Leapsters, I think there is something to be said for busy hands that are actually creating. There are ways to learn hand-eye coordination that do not involve Mario, I am sure! ;)
This will be an ongoing thought process for us here. I have somewhat restocked the art supplies, and am in the midst of changing the dresser cum entry table into a art/craft supply 'cupboard'. Perhaps someday I will have a whole wardrobe filled with well organized supplies, but until then I will be happy with what I have done and provided for the children to learn and explore.