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The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections
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The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,575 ratings  ·  352 reviews
When you learn to awaken your family’s creativity, wonderful things will happen: you’ll make meaningful connections with your children in large and small ways; your children will more often engage in their own creative discoveries; and your family will embrace new ways to relax, play, and grow together. With just the simple tools around you—your imagination, basic art supp ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Roost Books
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  2,575 ratings  ·  352 reviews

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Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book, I really did. But I didn't. In fact, it made me want to grab a big bag of partially hydrogenated Cheetos and an aspartame-laced Diet Coke and revive myself.

The writing is fine, the projects included are fine (though I would have liked to see more). And the photography is okay (in my opinion, I prefer more professional shots rather than the do-it-yourself ones that were included).

While I appreciate and applaud Soule's ideas and perspective, what
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, creativity
I struggled with this book. I wanted to love it. I love the "ideas" that are in the book, but I couldn't love the book. All of the ideas are Waldorf inspired, but I feel like the book was lacking a bit in execution. If Good Reads gave half stars it would be a 3.5 star book. 5 for ideas and a 2.5 for practicality.

As with many Waldorf type books leading an art based and nature centric life is wonderful, but it is very difficult for those of us who either have to or chose to work full t
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
i loved this book at first, then got to wondering if amanda blake soule ever does anything other than sew bunting, throw birthday parties for her kids' imaginary friends, and breathlessly encourage them to pick up sticks and leaves. does she ever do laundry, for example?
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book, I was so incredibly inspired by Soule and her parenting philosophy. Soule’s basic idea is that as parents we need to foster imagination and creativity in our children’s lives. We need to do it because the ability to be creative is innate in every child, and it is through the use of this creativity, or their imaginations, that they learn to express themselves, to communicate with the world and with each other, and to become both confident and nurturing.

When Soule speaks of our
Jun 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people wanting inspiration for creativity with kids & in a family with kids
Recommended to Henrik by: Christina Stind Rosendahl
This was a mixed experience for me. I'd like to be all positive about it, and I support the essence of what is said in it... But... hm...

Here's the thing. There's great ideas and suggestions in this little book to inspire creativity within a family, with a focus on children. However, the author's tone of voice too often grated in my ears:-/


The author's "I-am-saved"-like tone of voice. That's a turn-off for me, although others might not mind it so much. She comes across/>
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I find myself making the same complaints about every instructional book I read: sentence fragments, typos, too much preaching-to-the-choir type filler material, too many annoyingly repeated words and turns-of-phrase (for example, "each and every", and the word "gift" used as a verb). And yeah, this book wasn't really different. Well, there were only a couple of sentence fragments.
But I still enjoyed it, snobbishness aside. It's full of really interesting ideas, and I think I'll refer to it more
Leila T.
Mar 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Families, teachers
Recommended to Leila by: The internet
Shelves: parenting
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I like Soulemama's blog. I like the devotion to her family and her craft. Her book felt like her blog. I like how passionate and creative she is about her home and family and how she incorporates nature into the craft projects she organizes with her kids. It made me happy to read that a mom, inspired by the birth of her children and the growth of her family, was encouraged to make art for and with them. I know lots of women who push their creative sides way down to the bottom of the priority lis ...more
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book, full of wonderful ideas for incorporating creativity into our own and our children's everyday lives. I found many great ideas I'm already using in my home, and it's really inspired me to consider the SPACE we play in and how to make it more beautiful AND useful (I always was a William Morris fan ;0) I put up an art wire (from which are dangling many of the kids' projects, to their great pride and joy), boxed up a bunch of toys to rotate so that the shelves are uncluttered, ...more
Mar 31, 2008 rated it liked it
How do I say this? For starters, let's clarify that I really love Amanda's blog. It is probably one of my three favorite craft blogs out there.

That said, I think the editor was a little too present in this book. It promises Amanda's same warm tone as on her blog - I didn't find this to be true. There are times when you do hear Amanda but often it is muffled by editorial organization and phrasing.

What did I love about the book? The ideas, the details of family routines and traditions
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Finally got my copy in the mail, and am enjoying it tremendously. Since discovering Amanda's Soule Mama blog several years ago and being a devoted daily reader of her blog, I feel like I'm buying a book written by a good friend. The pictures are worth the price of the book alone. There are a wealth of great of ideas as well.
Oct 01, 2009 rated it liked it
I got this book from the library because I've recently discovered the author's blog (Soule Mama) which is generally focused on crafts, sewing, motherhood, family, etc. I'm actually not a very "crafty" type person, but I still enjoy the blog and thought I would check out her book.

That said, the book was OK but nothing really amazing. I really like the premise of encouraging your children's imagination and creativity in various ways, as well as finding small things to really bring your family clo
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
I like Soule’s perspective that a child’s imagination is something to be nurtured and not simply left to nature. I whole-heartedly agree. I agree with her premise that children need to see the adults in their lives engaged in regular creative pursuits as an example that a large part of a healthy life centers on continuing to feed our creative selves. I appreciate that she sees creativity less as a paint-by-numbers project here and there and more as a way of life, or of seeing the world. What I d ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
You might not have time to brew purple dye from cabbage leaves or cook glue, you might not be lucky enough to find or afford a beautiful cabinet for storing art supplies, or to implement all of the author's other solutions, but this book is full of good serving suggestions for surrounding children with lovely things to play with, alternatives to buying mass-produced and packaged "fun" if you are looking for inspiration.

The book may have benefited from an extra dimension, as noted in a review be
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Although I agree with a lot of the reviews regarding how the author presents an all-too-perfect idea of how life, family and creativity should be woven together into a perfect tapestry made from wool freshly shorn from a local sheep and dyed with organic berries grown in one's own backyard, I came away with the message that our lives would be just a little bit better if we stopped to take a collective breath with the people we love, recognize simple beauties around us, and feel gratitude for the ...more
Elke Ursin
OMG, what an amazing life this woman leads! There are so many nuggets that I am taking out of this and applying to my life. Many many practical and low cost suggestions on how to lead an amazing creative life with your family. Well, to be honest I can't see my husband participating in every aspect, but at least little one will have a blast with mama! :) I highly recommend this book to any mother of youngish children who has the smallest desire to be crafty and creative. One of the biggest bits o ...more
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked it, BUT...I have to agree with other reviewers that were a little put-off by the slightly smug tone. I don't think Amanda Blake Soule set out to say that her family is perfect and everyone else is doing it wrong, but frankly I felt like if she brought her kids over to my son's birthday party, I would worry about her raising her eyebrow over some of his plastic toys. I think some of her ideas are great (I've been looking into reconstructing cast-off clothes to make into clothing for my so ...more
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book has a lot of great ideas for organizing your home and for creating routines that nurture creativity and connectedness within the family. There are a handful of crafting ideas I think I will do and a few more that I'd like to think I can/will do but probably won't. Mostly though I think it is worth reading for the simpler stuff - like modified parlor games that little ones can do (already a huge hit at our house), collecting objects in a large craft cabinet - particularly found objects ...more
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is a great inspiration and resource for families looking to connect with each other through creative endeavors. I also found it refreshing to not read about fitting the projects in school schedules, matching the art to a curriculum etc. (which is a breath of fresh air when school is not part of your family's lifestyle) The author makes the case for a homespun and nature-based aesthetic in the home. I am enjoying the ideas and images and am already implementing some with our 7 year old. ...more
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
What I liked best about this book is how excited it got me about being a mother. Soule gives a lot of great suggestions about how to really enjoy family life with small kids. I especially like her suggestions about how to use and display childrens' creations.

I'm not so big into the hippy-like elements of her book. Not all of us can live in the Maine countryside either. Then there was the part about all holding hands as a family before meal time and taking a deep collective breath tog
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was going to give this book three stars, but that was only because I felt guilty while reading it that we don't do more crafty stuff around here. It really does offer some great ideas for spending creative time with your kids, indoors and out, and encourages families to live more simply. I am going to attempt some of the projects with my kids, although some of her other "living" advice we'll probably skip. I just don't see us ringing the meditation bell as we gather around the solstice table. ...more
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's filled with great photos and patterns, not to mention LOTS of practical and inexpensive creative ideas to implement with family. She is showing me how it is possible to be a mom and an artist simultaneously by getting more creative with my parenting. I just can't say enough good about this book right now.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crafting, parenting
I just finished this book and was very inspired by many of the ideas in it. So many things just make sense to me and I wonder why I haven't been doing more of it already. I did try the freezer paper stencil already and it is soooo much better than a traditional method on clothing!!!!
Apr 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
I just got this after perusing a copy on a neighbor's porch. Some great ideas and projects on how to inspire creativity.
Jun 26, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm not sure you can say I READ this book. Skimmed is more like it. I enjoy her blog and I like the concept of crafting with your family. It's just not my thing, though.
Jess Gill
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I'd been looking forward to reading this book since Amanda first mentioned it on her blog. It was as genuine, heartfelt, and inspiring as I'd anticipated.
Rebecca Walker
Dec 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Really enjoying this. A little too Waldorfy at times--wistful, earth centered, fairy-driven--but calming and helpful just the same.
May 15, 2012 rated it liked it
You know how there are crafty blogs that make you feel like you'll never get half the stuff done in a year that the blogger does in a week?

And you know how some of those blogs are written by moms and their kids are always adorable and well-behaved and whimsical and only CUTELY mischievous and the blogger does all these lovely creative projects and has the PERFECT organizational system (held in a gorgeous "found" piece of furniture, of course) for craft supplies and whips up princess or pirate o
Dec 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The rating for this book was really hard to decide. There are a lot of good ideas in here about creative things to do, like easy ways to start your kids learning to embroider and "joy jars" as gifts. I also appreciate the author's emphasis that anyone can be creative by pursuing hobbies they enjoy, and that the only real quality metric needs to be that you are doing what you want to be doing. The writing is good, engaging, and easy to read.

What I don't appreciate is that the author s
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
This isn't necessarily a review, but rather a few ideas from the book that inspired me.

The art on-the-go bags and freezer paper shirts are some crafts that we will try in the near future. I also appreciated Amanda's suggestion of photographing rooms of your home during different times of your child's life. I really wish I had done that when my son was an infant and we had baby gear (swing, tummy time mat, non-wooden exersaucer etc.) all over the house. Of course, I have photos of him with all t
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I'm Amanda, and I live in beautiful Portland, Maine with my husband, Steve, and our three young adventure-seekers — Calvin, Ezra, and Adelaide. Our days are spent making things, exploring our coastal Maine surroundings, and growing together as a family.

I've always had a love of textiles and crafting, but it wasn't until the birth of my first child that creating became an essential part