Young children have fabulous memories and we want to promote both memory and creativity. After a nice hike, a trip to a beautiful garden, a beach, or just a day spend in the backyard, take a few minutes at home to have your child recall something they particularly liked and remembered. Now take just a few minutes to sit down and draw or paint it. The beauty of this exercise is in the simplicity of it. It does not require a lot of time or energy. It does not require special art skills. It does not require critiquing (in fact please don’t). It does strengthen the memory and provide a record of it, along with allowing the brain to further process the day.
Do whatever works for your family. Here are a few suggestions. Use a medium that is simple and your child likes – crayons, pastels, pencil, markers, paint. Join your child. Talk about the day. Both of you can create a little something. If your child is remembering the butterfly he saw on flower, I suggest you draw something else so there is no comparison happening in your child’s mind. You might draw the colorful insect you both saw on a log. Don’t make a big production out of this and don’t worry about what it looks like. It is just a time of debriefing the day in a visual way instead of a verbal way. Your child may draw something you think is completely different than what you saw. That is wonderful. Don’t critique, but do feel free to ask questions. “So what is your butterfly doing?” or “Where is the butterfly going?” Who knows it could even lead to a short story you may want to write on the back of the picture!
Think simple. If it’s stressful, you’re trying to do too much, or trying to control too much. You want to have a nice relaxing moment for both you and your child. I guarantee that if you enjoy this exercise once every couple of weeks, you will end up with some wonderful art that will bring memories of happy family time and a reminder of the great outdoors.