Purposeful Parenting & Creativity

Purposeful Parenting & Creativity | creativity in motion

July recognizes Purposeful Parenting Month, which highlights the significant relational value of parents and children having resilient and meaningful connections with one another. Purposeful Parenting embraces understanding, unconditional love, and empathy with the consistency of structure, safety, and healthy boundaries. To parent with purpose is to be an active contributor in sustaining rapport, connection, and intention with your child or teen.

An offering I have facilitated is an art therapy group for moms living in a shelter with their children as they work on transitioning out of homelessness. This art therapy group was part of the shelter’s trauma informed parenting support program as an opportunity to receive nurturing assistance during this challenging time to strengthen coping, self-care, and explore empowering ways to sustain an affirming relationship in their child’s lives. The power of art and the creative process offers a safe place to address these topics.  Over the years that I was involved with this program, I met moms of amazing strength and resilience, not only committed to creating healthier relationships and attachments with their children, but often working on their own trauma recovery.

For children who have experienced trauma and loss in their young lives, having adult attachments that engage with purpose and compassion can be a key component to their healing. Perry & Szalavitz (2006) speak to how a child’s relationship with the adults in their lives has an essential component to how they react to trauma. They also note that if a child is surrounded and nurtured by caregivers who are safe, comforting, dependable, and present; this can help protect youth from the adverse effects of trauma, as well as strengthen their ability to recover.

“Recognizing the power of relationships and relational cues is essential to effective therapeutic work, and indeed, to effective parenting, caregiving, teaching, and just about any other human endeavor.” (p. 67, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog).

Ohio’s American Academy of Pediatrics identities six components to purposeful parenting for parents and caregivers to keep in mind. Being Protective, Personal, Progressive, Positive, Playful, and Purposeful in our relationships decreases the impact of chronic stress exposure and ultimately supports a child’s fullest potential and well-being.

The foundation of purposeful parenting and fostering relational enrichment inspired me to reflect on some fun and creative activities for families (and adult helpers involved in children’s lives) to engage in together that encourage affirming experiences and supportive interaction. Creative experiences can be an enjoyable way to foster connection, develop interpersonal ties, and positive memories:

  • Painting with Bubbles or Shaving Cream: These sensory-based twists on painting can encourage play and experimentation between child and parent using simple, inexpensive materials. Levine & Kline (2008) cite that activities involving art expression such as painting and drawing are great bonding opportunities for parents to engage in alongside their children.
  • Sidewalk Chalk: Grab a bucket or box of sidewalk chalk, head outside and take a break to chalk it up together—at home, a local park, or playground! Suggested ideas to support collective participation in this activity include drawing where the child and parent can add to one another’s images, marks, or doodles. If you are up for making your own sidewalk chalk, here’s how. Families can also play these classic sidewalk chalk games.
  • Nature Walk & Scavenger Hunt: Parents, young children, and teens can benefit from unplugging and taking time to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and reconnect! Take a walk in nature, go biking or hiking together. Create a scavenger hunt of different nature items that the family can look for and find as a group or in pairs.
  • Homemade Play Dough and Goop: Spend a morning or afternoon making a batch of play dough together, or for older kids goop recipes can be equally as inviting and fun. You can even make scented play dough, which can add an additional sensory component to this experience.
  • Visit an Art Museum, Art Festival, or Creative Community Event: Check out your local art museum or art event as a family outing. Many museums have family related programming or guides that can help enhance your experience!  Here in Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Art offers a hands on, interactive family-friendly art space called Studio Play.  For young children (ages 2-4), this mail art program allows caregivers and kids to engage at home with art. And it’s free!

No matter what the month or season, there is true power in the relationships we nurture for the children and teens we care for, either as parents, caregivers, or helpers. It’s important to keep enriching these healthy attachments by cultivating safe experiences and moments of meaning all year round.

Recommended Reading:

Levine, P.A., & Kline, M. (2008). Trauma-proofing your kids: A parent’s guide to instilling confidence, joy, and resilience. Berkeley : North Atlantic Books.

Perry, B.D., & Winfrey, O. (2021). What happened to you?   Flatiron Books.

Perry, B.D., & Szalavitz, M. (2006). The boy who was raised as a dog. New York: Basic Books.


Introduction to Purposeful Parenting (PDF) | Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

How to Approach Mindful, Purposeful Parenting

The Purposeful Parenting Mindset | PsychCentral

Purposeful Parenting Month: A Time to Learn and Grow

The Artful Parent


Creative Deed 365: July Offerings

July was a busy month for Creative Deed 365!  🙂

Earlier this month, Creative Deed 365 Minneapolis took place during this year’s AATA Conference in Minneapolis, which was a delight to follow via participants who shared this activity on social media.  There were some inspiring discoveries left and found during these 5 days!  Thank you to everyone who participated, both deeders and finders- so much fun!

Creative Deed 365: July Offerings | creativity in motionCreative Deed 365: July Offerings | creativity in motionI also discovered another local find on Instagram this month of a creative deed I left last week:

Creative Deed 365: July Offerings | creativity in motion

Below are all of July’s offerings that I made and distributed throughout the month…. I am still making progress with my Creative Deed 365 mailing list, where I am sending out creative deeds through the postal system too- some of July’s offerings went out today!

Instagram continues to be a popular place to share: over 700 creative deed related photos have been posted so far-!  Check them all out here with the #creativedeed365 hashtag.

Wow….definitely past the half way point now— August creative deeding awaits!

212 days of revo’lution making | my 365 project

“Energy flows where intention goes” ~Unknown

212 days of revo'lution making : July 2013 | creativity in motion
212 days o’ revolution making

Month # 7 of revo’lution making has just come to an end…although in many ways when I reflect on the pieces created, the last 31 days also seem to be just starting!  This past month in particular really felt like my 2013 revo’lution intentions: simplicity, service, trust, honor, light, and stillness were really starting to come into their own beyond the small paper space I visit and create within everyday.  Definitely an on-going process in many ways! I am super grateful for these teaching moments of unfolding, abundance, growth, and challenge…inside & outside of this daily practice.

revo'lution making on the go | creativity in motion
hotel revo’lution making on the go

This month I took a week of my revo’lution making on the road with me as I traveled to Michigan.  Spending time with the project each day away from home was a nice moment for centering.

my 365 revo'lution : Days 182-193 | creativity in motion
At a glance: my 365 revo’lution | Days 182-193


my 365 revo'lution: Day194-Trust | creativity in motion
my 365 revo’lution: Day 194: Trust


my 365 revo'lution: Days 195-206 | creativity in motion
At a glance: my 365 revo’lution | Days 195-206

This month also celebrated the project’s 200th day milestone, which included this video montage , as well as welcomed a new intention (bloom) into the next five months of this journey.

Days 207-212 | my 365 revo'lution | creativity in motion
At a glance: my 365 revo’lution | Days 207-212

I curiously await with wonder what new and familiar gifts develop during month #8 of this project!


Related Posts:

Two hundred days of revo’lution making [VIDEO]

In Bloom: Glue It Tuesday

Revo’lution Bits: My 365 Project Begins

365 Grateful

I recently discovered Hailey Bartholomew’s 365 Grateful Project, where Hailey took one Polaroid photo a day of something she felt grateful for in an effort to fight depression.

The project is now being worked into a documentary to share Bartholomew’s inspiring personal journey and to feature the impact of practicing gratitude in people’s daily lives. Check out more here:

365grateful.com from hailey bartholomew on Vimeo.

More than any other time of year, July always reminds me of what I am grateful for and giving thanks for the last 365 days.

I have been keeping up with my gratitude list and wordle making.  This is my latest Gratitude Wordle: