Enriching Your Daughter’s Summer with Creative Expression, Part 1

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

Summer is upon us. And, we may find ourselves paraphrasing Mary Oliver’s wonderful words: “what is it we plan to do with this one wild and precious summer?” Creativity can help enrich our summers–as well as help us and our daughters answer the big question: what is it we will do with the gift of our one wild and precious life.

We often view creativity more in the realm of visual or performing arts. But, we don’t need to be professional artists to use our creativity! In these articles I will be sharing some of my ideas about the value of creative expression in the development and enrichment of the lives of our daughters.

As a coordinator for the Institute’s Summer Workshop Programs, I want to start this series by providing you with a more in-depth look at how we are incorporating creative expression into our workshop programs. As you know, our Summer Workshop Programs are not therapy; they are educational and empowerment programs designed for girls 3rd grade through high school. If these activities sound tempting, you may consider enrolling your daughter–or you may be inspired to try some of the activities on your own.

Our theme for the program is Mind, Body, Spirit: Adventures for the Whole Girl. As with all of our programs, our goal is to help girls apply their “Whole Selves” to their relational world. Girls will express themselves through varying creative activities and engage in discussions to help support the development of hardiness skills, growth-fostering relationships, empowerment, and self-discovery! Here is a glimpse into how creative expression fits into our theme:

Our Minds:

  • Journaling–free writing, drawing or guided journaling are all great ways to use our minds to discover more about ourselves, sift through tricky situations, and discover our true selves.
  • Relaxation exercises and guided imagery help to awaken our creativity and provide tools for calming and soothing our sometimes-muddled minds.
  • Dialogue between girls helps them explore and expand the benefits of creativity. How can they use their new creative tools and insights to make positive decisions? To figure out and achieve their goals? To know themselves better? To be creative in social conflict and friendship issues?

Our Bodies:

  • Collage, arts and crafts, making bath salts… these are all creative activities that the girls will be enjoying as they develop media literacy, build a positive body image, and explore the idea of Embodiment (appreciating our bodies for what they can do, how they feel, how they can help guide us and how we can keep them healthy.)
  • Girls will get to explore what their bodies can do, and enjoy using their bodies through outdoor activities and games and of course, through yoga.
  • Using creative expression with our bodies (movement, relaxation exercise) to learn how to calm and relax ourselves.

Our Spirits: (Our spirits yearn to be creative!)

  • Collage, clay, painting and other arts and crafts will be used to discover more about our personalities and what is unique about each of us.
  • Imagination and insight through journaling, creative writing and discussion to learn how to use feelings to help find solutions.
  • Skits, movement and music as tools for creative expression to discover and express personalities and feelings.

I hope that this more in-depth information about how we are incorporating creativity into our summer inspires you to tap into your own creative spirit. In Part 2, we will delve more into the power of creativity in enriching and healing our lives!

Here are a few quick summer activities to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Start a summer journal. Experiment with allowing your thoughts to run wild on the pages. Maybe you want to incorporate some collage or drawing into this. You and your daughter may also want to start a collaborative summer journal–passing the book back and forth for fun and for growth.
  • Choose a craft. Go to Michael’s (my personal favorite) or any other craft store and choose a craft to do with your daughter. There are so many fun choices! (Making jewelry, cards, candles and more!)
  • Take turns telling stories with each other… maybe the one hearing the story gets time to relax and use their imagination to become a part of the story.
  • “Dance like no one is watching.” Turn on some music and dance. There’s nothing like feeling free to look silly or dramatic or elegant or whatever. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to just let loose! And you might just share a funny and memorable moment with your daughter!


Please note: Nothing in what you find here should be construed as medical advice pertinent to any individual. As is true with all written materials, and especially information found on the internet, you must be the judge of what appears valid and useful for yourself. Please take up any questions you might have regarding the content of this website with your psychotherapist or physician.

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