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May 2022 Exploring the Trails by Sarah Jolk, Featuring Melynda O’Brien

With Spring upon us and Summer right around the corner, many families are looking for ways to be creative with their time and how to inspire creativity over the summer.

While speaking with local Parent Empowerment Coach Melynda O’Brien the other day, we discussed how often we divide ourselves into right and left brained thinkers, but it turns out we have more in common than we realize and creativity plays an important role in our lives. Here is what Melynda had to say:

“Creativity is a vital part of the human experience. Many people have been told that they are either ‘right brained’ (creative, intuitive, artistic, feelings-oriented) or ‘left brained’ (analytical, logical, rational, strategic), but science actually tells us that we are all ‘right brained’!

Our brain’s right hemisphere operates six times faster than our left hemisphere. All information is processed through the right side of our brain before it goes to our left. While it is true that everyone’s temperament is different, science confirms that in order to properly engage our left hemisphere, we cannot bypass the right. This means that the best way to learn and mature is through experiential learning - engaging in something that is felt in the 5 senses.

One of the ways that we can create emotional resiliency is through relational connection and one of the best ways to do that is creating together! Joy-filled connection lights up the brain, strengthening our capacity for strong mental health. We have mirror neurons that literally “mirror” those around us - when someone is happy to see us, it makes us happy on a cellular level!

Drawing chalk art on the sidewalk, finger painting, fort building, water colors, and singing are all low stakes (i.e. non-competitive) ways to build joyful connections within our families. Now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s the perfect time to take that creativity outside.”

Do you have any tips or tools to share with our community?

“Yes! One of my favorite outside art projects is Fizzy Chalk. Create the chalk paint by mixing 2 cups baking soda and 1 cup corn starch. Slowly mix in water until it creates the consistency of paint. Add food coloring (I like to divide up the paint mixture in a muffin tin and put different food dyes in each section). Use any paint brushes you have on hand (I prefer sponge brushes) and paint away on the sidewalk! Once you have finished your masterpiece, take a squirt bottle (empty ketchup bottles work great), fill it with vinegar, and spray on your artwork! Watch the vinegar and baking soda react with lots of fizzing and bubbles and see how it transforms your art!”

Many thanks to Melynda and her wonderful advice! Stay tuned next month when I share about creativity and the brainstorming process!

If you want to hear more about Melynda’s tips you can follow/contact her at:

Melynda’s contact info:

Instagram @the.connected.parent

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