Creativity is at your elbow, always available. I try to remember that. If you are a parent who, like many people, considers him- or herself "noncreative," just think of creativity as a water faucet. Turn the stream on, and it can be a steady flow into your everyday life.
One thing that works for me is to let myself get sidetracked from the original plan. That's when I discover that having fun with kids is what's most important, not the end result. It can happen naturally when you stir up a gloppy, messy batch of papier-mache, a craft you probably remember from your own primary-school days. Grab stuff from the recycle bin and magically turn newspaper, plastic water bottles, golf tees and paper-towel tubes into creatures like these whimsical pigs.
This activity has all the basics for family fun: tradition, creativity and a gooey mess!
To make the basic papier-mache goop for any form, stir together equal parts of all-purpose flour and water in a large bowl. (Two cups of each is good to start.) Tear newspaper into strips about 1-inch wide.
To create a form for a pig and piglets, start with a small-size plastic water bottle for a piglet and a plastic liter-size bottle for a pig. Place a bottle in front of you horizontally and note how the spout can be the snout.
For the pig's legs, tape four trimmed bathroom tissue tubes to the bottom of the body of the bottle. For piglet legs, poke the pointed end of four golf tees into the bottom of the body of a small bottle.
Make ears by cutting cardboard into two triangles. Tape in place just beyond the neck of the bottle.
Dip the newspaper strips one at a time into the mixture, remove excess goop with your fingers, and then drape strips over the form. Lay the coated strips any which way, covering the entire surface. Smooth out the wrinkles as you go, making the surface as smooth as possible. Let dry. Make a second layer, if you wish.
Paint the pig with poster or acrylic paints. The brighter, the better!
Poke a spring into what was the base of the bottle for a curly tail. For a piggy bank, cut a slit through the top to insert coins. Cut out a flap underneath the pig when you wish to retrieve the money.