Making art using naturally-occurring and recycled materials connects us to nature’s magic and highlights how much we rely on unsustainable art products. Pause and reflect on how many art materials you throw away. Does it feel wasteful? How could making art as a family be less wasteful? Check out ArtScraps in St Paulfor recycled materials. How can the art you make at home be zero-waste or even supportive of nature’s systems?
Fresh mushroom(s); Recycled paper (the back of a letter, a used newspaper…); Knife; Container that fits over the mushroom
Get a fresh mushroom! Try a portobello from the store or go on a foraging trip (If you hunt for your own, be sure to wash hands and avoid eating wild mushrooms as they can be poisonous).
Cut the stem off the mushroom so that the gills are exposed (gills are the slim fins on the underside of the mushroom).
Place the mushroom face-down on the paper. If you have multiple mushrooms, arrange them in a composition.
Put a couple drops of water on the mushroom.
Cover the mushroom with the container (so that it stays moist and undisturbed).
Let it sit overnight or 12-24 hours. Then gently lift the mushroom and check out your mushroom print!
ages 2+, physical
Our mirror neurons play a role in developing empathy, and therefore having an ability to understand others’ viewpoints and experiences. Many of us mirror (intentionally and unintentionally) with babies and toddlers, but ‘forget’ about its power and delight as our kids grow.
How to: With a partner in a spacious area, take turns being the mirror and being the animal, person or inanimate object. You can set a timer, or just feel the energy between you and your partner. Do your best to mirror each other’s actions, starting first with just physical and then adding layers of sound or words. If you want to add complexity and scaffold skills, here are additional layers:
Experiment with being a mirror and copying exactly (mirroring people will be using the opposite side of the body).
Experiment with switching back and forth as the leader.
Experiment with an actual mirror – see what this additional element can add to the play.
Make really weird faces! Silly sounds!
Caring for the Common Good
Radical Compassion Through Empathy
Christians are called to love God, love our neighbors and love our enemies. Sharing that kind of radical compassion begins by understanding one another. This daily journal invites your family to try small exercises to “swap shoes” with others. When we get good at walking in another person’s shoes, we gain empathy and make the world a more loving place.
Discuss the famous saying, “Before you judge a person, walk a mile in their shoes.” What do you think that means? How do you think “walking in their shoes” can help us relate to people we don’t know well? How can it help us with people who are treating us or others unkindly?
Make time each day for a week to write/draw in response to the instructions you see on each page.
How were you feeling in the moment you described in your journal? How was the other person feeling in that moment?
What did you learn by taking time to step into the other person’s shoes?
How might you act differently if this happens again?