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Rediscover How to Play in 2016

How do you play creatively? There is no "exactly" how to do it but there are guidelines to lead you- that is the focus of this year's Let's Play link party and giveaways!Why  is play important?  Why is happiness important? They are the same question to me.

If we talk about kids, most would agree it is necessary for children to play.  It plays a significant role in how they develop socially, their physical well being, and cognitive development.  But why is it just good for kids?  Play is just as important for adults in my opinion.

What are the benefits of play?  Once I learned how to play, there was an avalanche of benefits.  Of course, there is the fun and joy that I often get from play and I am always happy to have more of that in my day.

I had greater sense of relaxation in my life because play helps me shake off stress.  Peace.  Yes peace.  When I have strong emotions, art play helps me let them out to process those feelings leaving me with a sense of peace instead of turmoil. But to get all these benefits I had to be able to play.

Play time is also practice and explore time with techniques.  It was through play that I taught myself 
How do you play creatively? There is no "exactly" how to do it but there are guidelines to lead you- that is the focus of this year's Let's Play link party and giveaways! So when I started relearning how to play I had a few big questions.
 Exactly how much time do you need to play?  Exactly what supplies did I need for play?  Exactly what finished project must I create for it to be play?  Exactly how do I feel all sunshine and lollipops when I play?

You can probably hear the freaked out adult talking there.  At first, relearning play freaked me out (at least the grown up part).  Along the way, I found the answers to all of these questions.

How do you play creatively? There is no "exactly" how to do it but there are guidelines to lead you- that is the focus of this year's Let's Play link party and giveaways!
  • Exactly how much time do you need to play?  Whatever time you have is perfect.  5 minutes? Perfect!  30 minutes? Perfect!
  • Exactly what supplies did I need for play?  Anything you have around you is perfect.  Play has nothing to do with the supplies.
  • Exactly what finished project must I create for it to be play?   There doesn’t have to be a finished project EVER when you play.  The goal of play is to play.  Anytime there is a finished project, it is a BONUS.
  • Exactly how should I feel when I play?  Should it be all sunshine and lollipops the whole time?  Play isn’t always happy.  The whole spectrum of emotions have shown up for me when I play because sometimes I am processing feelings that aren’t always happy.  I prefer happy, but sometimes I need to process shadow feelings while playing.

How do you embrace play?  There is no “exactly” how to do it. Taking a line from Pirates of the Caribbean…it’s more like guidelines.  Each month during 2016, I am going to be focusing on one of the ways I use to embrace play.   Every Tuesday of that month, I’ll share with you a different way I interpret that month’s theme/challenge.

How do you play creatively? There is no "exactly" how to do it but there are guidelines to lead you- that is the focus of this year's Let's Play link party and giveaways!I’d love for you to share your play when you’re ready in the weekly link party, because when others see that you’re playing it encourages them to let themselves play.  It’s the best kind of contagious!  Everyone, no matter where you are on your creative journey inspires everyone else.  Truly!  To share whatever you’re creating whether it is from the monthly challenge or not, just use inLinkz below from Flickr, Instagram, your blog, G+, or you upload directly.  If you’re new to link parties, you can find out how they work as well as technical help here.

Giveaways!  In celebration of the play, each month, one randomly selected winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for their play.  Want to win?  Link up your play using inLinkz below (you get a bonus entry in the giveaway every time you link up in inLinkz- limit 3 per week please) or you can leave a comment telling something that  you liked about one of the photos shared.  Each month, random.org will pick one lucky person from all of that month’s link ups and comments.  Winner will be announced on the first Tuesday of the following month.

January's Let's Play challenge of using something that would have been thrown away

The January theme/challenge is to use something that would have been thrown away.  I’m using junk mail…or more specifically, the envelopes that come in junk mail (and a few from bills too).

How will this help me play?  It takes the pressure off that I will ruin something important or precious.  It’s junk mail that gets thrown out all the time!

Watch Rediscover Ways to Play in a Monthly Challenge on YouTube.

Supplies Used: Mixed Media Mail stencil and Mini Blade.

How do you play creatively? There is no "exactly" how to do it but there are guidelines to lead you- that is the focus of this year's Let's Play link party and giveaways!

This month’s giveaway is a $50 gift certificate to Dick Blick!  Link up what you’re creating (and you get a bonus entry into the giveaway for sharing your play) or leave a comment telling something that you liked about one of the photos shared. One comment per person.  Giveaway closes Sunday, Jan 31st at Midnight PST and will be announced the following Tuesday.

This post is just one of many Let’s Play link parties and each one has a video all about creative art play!  Click here for a list of them all and the most recent one will be at the top of the list so you can jump right in and share what you’ve been creating!

[inlinkz_linkup id=595422 mode=1]

This post is just one of many Let’s Play link parties and each one has a video all about creative art play!  Click here for a list of them all and the most recent one will be at the top of the list so you can jump right in and share what you’ve been creating!

Link up etiquette  

  • If you see something you like, leave a comment on their photo or blog post and show some love – let them know they inspired you! 
  • Share your recent play (any form of creativity is welcome) that hasn’t been linked up to a Let’s Play before ( limit 3 per week please)
  • Add a link back to to this post so that others can find it, be sparked, and join the fun!
  • New link party begins each Tuesday 
  • Enter the giveaway for the $50 gift certificate by linking up (and you get a bonus chance for sharing your fun) or by leaving a comment telling something you liked about one of the photos shared in the link party. One comment per person on this week’s blog post.  The winner will be announced on the first Tuesday of the following month. You can find all the details about Let’s Play here.

You can upload a photo or use a URL or Instagram.  Not sure how to find a URL or link up? Check out this page of Let’s Play FAQs.

Want to put the button your blog? Just copy all of the the code from under the button.

Let's Play!
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  • Zsuzsa Karoly-Smith January 5, 2016, 7:56 am

    I so know that clenched up feeling of “having to ” create something. For me, obligation is the killer of creativity. Much as I would like to turn my hobby into a business, I’m afraid that it would take away my creative freedom. It’s so important to play just for the sake of it!

  • Consie @ Atop Serenity Hill January 5, 2016, 8:31 am

    Great idea to add a theme! I know that even though it is suppose to be playtime, I can still get stuck in that adult brain loop of trying to make it the perfect play date! Now, I have something to start with. And I have a stack of those envelopes! Looking forward to seeing everyone’s play.

  • April Lopez January 5, 2016, 10:35 am

    Well this just looks like a whole lotta fun!!!

  • Theresa January 5, 2016, 11:06 am

    Can you use Pinterest or Tumblr for the link? I love this challenge.

    • Carolyn Dube January 5, 2016, 11:10 am

      You would think you can Theresa- if there is a URL for any of the work you’ve created, it should work!

  • Dawn Pietzsch January 5, 2016, 11:16 am

    I LOVE using junk mail in my art! Love!! I reuse envelopes for mailing my mail art out into the world and I use the to make “junk journals” with a simple pamphlet sewn binding! I’m so enjoying your “play”ful spirit!

  • Tara Medrano January 5, 2016, 11:44 am

    I have been saving cereal boxes …. the kids and I used them to make Glitter Putz houses for Christmas gifts!! Glued them ontop of a dollar store tin, added trees and fake snow…….. Wow. They were something else!! They really came out Beautiful!! We put homemade fudge inside! smile emoticon That was my recycle for the month! Now to find NEW crafts to make with the remaining cardboard! I will make wall art this month using some of the cardboard and some crochet lace and tulle that I have inside! Thanks Carolyn!!

  • Beverly Stout January 5, 2016, 12:10 pm

    I just happen to have a huge stack of envelopes & lightweight advertising cards that came in the mail. They will be perfect for playing. Boo-ya!

  • Ruth Reaves January 5, 2016, 12:21 pm

    Can’t wait to play- now on to the recycling bin?

  • Mary January 5, 2016, 12:30 pm

    Absolyely love the colors in #4…stunning!

  • Megan January 5, 2016, 1:30 pm

    Loving all the texture on the “Inky Dinky Doodle”. I would be afraid to go so dark, so it is inspiring to see it done.

  • Jessica Loughrey January 5, 2016, 1:36 pm

    I love the picture of the loaded paint brush with the stencil! Makes me want to get out my stencils and paint and play!

  • diana January 5, 2016, 3:24 pm

    Yes I’d like to play!

  • Susan Berkowitz January 5, 2016, 4:08 pm

    I don’t have a place to post a picture, so I can’t link. But I have a huge, ever-growing pile of those envelopes, too, just waiting to become a book of some sort – just haven’t had the time. What else do I use? Pieces of corrugated cardboard and other packing materials that make great textures, pieces of string and cord that come wrapped around anything, tags, toll booth slips are ephemera,any newsprint I get in a foreign language, pictures in magazines of people I can cut out and use as masks or stencils, old pieces of pipe or electrical wire or other “waste” – you name it, I use it. I’d love to be entered. Can I be entered to win even if I don’t have a site to link to?? Thanks so much. Your videos are so full of energy, they inspire me – I need to be told to play!

  • Amanda Walden January 5, 2016, 4:52 pm

    What a great theme! I love to play in my exercise — I am a laughter yoga teacher and a hula hoop dance teacher. And I need to let loose and play more in my art. I love picture number 6 with the bird and bright colors! Bright colors are always so cheery!!

  • susanjw January 5, 2016, 5:11 pm

    Off topic here – your smiling photo is so genuine and relaxed looking (play is best medicine) . Over last few weeks, I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning and watching the videos from the beginning. It’s exciting and inspiring to observe your growth as an artist and play groups leader Thanks for all that you do.

  • Sandy Boreen January 5, 2016, 5:56 pm

    Thank you, Carolyn for all the ideas. I love to play in between doing my “serious ” watercolors. I am always saving paper, ribbon, cardboard etc. and this is a good way to use them up. I call it my stash for collage.

  • Jen January 5, 2016, 6:00 pm

    Yay! This is so fun…love to see art everywhere, its all so inspiring! Thanks for doing this Carolyn!

  • Gloria Westerman January 5, 2016, 6:57 pm

    Carolyn I love your envelopes and you are such an inspiration to me…I will hopefully be playing along..tfs..

  • Lou January 5, 2016, 7:07 pm

    Loving everyone’s pages! Especially the turquoise haired lady in #10! This is fun!

  • Susan Schultheis January 5, 2016, 8:20 pm

    Thank you for this great challenge project. Love watching your YouTubes and seeing all the wonderful artwork. Will try to share, but I do not have a web. I especially like #6 on Instagram by Janet. Love all the colors!!

  • Carol Simenc January 5, 2016, 8:38 pm

    I’m putting in a lot of effort to getting some funny, beautiful & creative pages in my art journal. Some pages do me proud and others leave me thinking I could do better. But in the long run, I feel so much happier after I’ve spent time at my husband’s workbench in the basement that has become MY WORKBENCH! ‘Squatter’s Rights’, don’t you know?

  • dawn January 5, 2016, 9:26 pm

    OMG! I just went to Michael’s with a gift certificate and bought some new art “toys”. I went right down and used some of my leftover cardboard from “Permission to Play” and got down to having some fun. Like you say I didn’t think, just did. I don’t have a camera so I can’t upload but I wanted to share with you how timely this post was for me. Thanks for reminding us to have fun and create!

  • Caroline Duncan January 5, 2016, 10:01 pm

    That photo of the colorful paint on the brushes is just beautiful! …. such good color inspiration. The linky parties sound fun and I’ll be sure to participate. 🙂

  • Maria McGuire January 5, 2016, 11:50 pm

    LOVE this stencil!!! A must have and I LOVE how you played with it!!!

  • Maureen Bartling January 6, 2016, 7:24 am

    All month I have been purging items that I could give away. Just when I thought I could part with it………….

  • Terry January 6, 2016, 8:00 am

    The creative juices are flowing- I just want to get to the studio to play….

  • Prerna January 6, 2016, 10:14 am

    This looks like fun. Lets play.

  • Karen January 6, 2016, 1:06 pm

    I like the quotes on the Kindness cards #15

  • Donna Harris January 6, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I love to play! And I have plenty of trash to play with, envelopes, magazine cut outs and such! Looking forward to this since it doesn’t take much time or expensive things to use! What I really love is it doesn’t have to become a project, it’s just play!

  • Shanna January 6, 2016, 4:50 pm

    I made a journal out of toilet paper rolls and it is too cute! I love making art using recycled materials. I am also working on using envelopes that come in the mail to make a journal. Fun!

  • robin January 6, 2016, 4:51 pm

    #2 inspires me to do some play on my last year’s calendar pages, then add them to my altered book/diary/journal and use what I did last year on each day as a prompt for journaling for this year.

    • Lou January 7, 2016, 4:08 pm

      Robin, I love that idea!!

  • Jeanne Kelly January 6, 2016, 9:32 pm

    I love the wide array of playtime ideas. Thank you for the video also. I like your mail art idea and think I will try this – looks like so much fun!!

  • Glory Mooberry January 7, 2016, 2:04 am

    Love the happy bird in #6 – playing sounds like fun.

  • Carolyn January 7, 2016, 1:02 pm

    The links so far are very encouraging and inspirational as I attempt my first journal. This will be a fun year for me, thanks to How to Play.

  • Jennifer McDonald January 7, 2016, 8:35 pm

    I can’t wait to play! What a fun year this is going to be. I hate to say it, but sometimes I need someone else to give me permission to play before I give it to myself. I hope that will change in 2016 with this journey. Thanks Carolyn!

  • Toni January 7, 2016, 8:45 pm

    I can’t wait to join in on the fun maybe this is just the jump start I need! Thank you!

  • Carla Lemar January 8, 2016, 12:08 am

    I do have to say… I finally had to take some of the cardboard to the recycle center, because my basement was starting to look like the recycling center. I took a deep breath and reminded myself I can always go there and get as much cardboard as I need when I need it!

  • Theresa Sim January 9, 2016, 6:01 pm

    I’m loving the challenges. It helps me stay on my unpainted toes and splash in color!

  • Laurie January 9, 2016, 8:03 pm

    What a GREAT theme “Use something that would HAVE BEEN THROWN AWAY”. I always save the cardboard pieces that are in or attached to crafting items I have purchased. They usually have a neat design on them. I will either use them as is or add some color of my own to them. Even if they are just plain I still save and use them as they are pretty sturdy. When I saw what you did with your envelopes you got me started……..you created a Messy Monster……LOL LOL LOL I had spray, stains, inks, paste and more all over. Boy did that FEEL GOOD!!!!!! Thanks!!!!!

  • Lorrie January 9, 2016, 10:38 pm

    I’m just starting, thank you for all your videos, they are very informative!

  • Pam January 10, 2016, 5:46 am

    You inspire me. Thanks for the videos and lessons.

  • Rose January 10, 2016, 3:14 pm

    Hi, Carolyn! I finally got it together enough to post my first project. Thank you so much for offering us such a fun chance to exchange ideas and play!

  • ionabunny January 10, 2016, 3:58 pm

    What fun! The faces are very striking. #3, #10, Jill’s baby. Hope to join you soon. Hugz

  • Carole B January 10, 2016, 5:26 pm

    So glad to see you are getting the recognition your talent and creativity deserve. Have been a fan for a long time. Enjoying your “play” time.

  • pat January 11, 2016, 6:13 pm

    how would you make the envelopes used into a book please?

  • Cassandra January 13, 2016, 5:01 am

    I love the notion of playing. I also see the value in playing.

  • Bernadine anderson January 13, 2016, 11:23 pm

    Can’t wait to learn to play! I did my first challenge today and it was a blast!

  • Annie January 14, 2016, 3:52 am

    I have many old cards and envelopes waiting for me to play with paint and stencils

  • Anne Godwin January 17, 2016, 8:47 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve kept the sweetest 3 and 1 year old grandchildren for a week. Hope to get back to playing AFTER I rest!

  • pat quilty January 18, 2016, 11:52 am

    Your play videos are so inspiring. I can hardly wait till they are done, so I can go gather supplies and PLAY.

  • Theresa M January 24, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Late to the party but enjoyed your video Saw a cool self portrait under video. Printing out a b&w photo of me to start working one for my birthday layout (March, but I’ll be 55 so I’m actually going to scrap a page again….)

  • Teresa January 31, 2016, 6:40 pm

    I have been following the Let’s Play videos and the additional blogs and videos this year. It has become easier for me to play instead of stressing over what it is that I am doing with my art. I did make a journal form return business envelope that I have been saving. I stenciled most of the pages and made a cover for the two signatures that I made. It would be nice to share a picture of this project but, the directions to participate in these link parties seems overly complicated to me.

  • Lisa Somerville February 2, 2016, 3:37 pm

    Thanks for the challenge, I could probably play along forever, as I have a ton of neglected art supplies! LOL