Kid's Art, Creativity & Travel!

February 09, 2010

kids art mom on mac 

Family travel should always include art, creativity and fun because that is how kids learn and express easily, plus it's effortless to add and makes great travel mementos! We always have a drawing pad & colored pencils in our daypack when we travel, as well as  a note pad and cameras.

We love how art has always been part of our family world tour and we've written about it many times like Mozart's Diary when we began our trip, A Kid's View of Florence in Italy and Archeology & Folk Museum in Chania, Crete on the Greek Islands. To name just a few past posts on this topic.

When Mozart was 7 and we were visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site Torre de Belem in Lisbon, Portugal, she decided to spontaneously draw it. We love using art as part of our homeschool education as we travel. Kids learn a lot about what they draw.

Cameras, of course, are another great creative travel tool and our young daughter has been taking travel photos around the world on our open ended journey. I couldn't agree more with National Geographic's Rainer Jenss who recently wrote on the topic of kids,travel and cameras on Intelligent Travel.

Recently, on both Soultravelers3 and the Huffington Post, I wrote about the fascinating scientific studies that prove the power that travel, particularly extended travel, has on creativity. I also think that play and being in nature is so important in travel or any life. I love this TED talk that demonstrates the power of play for both children and adults. 

Just like the art exercise in that video, but strictly spontaneously, Mozart decided to do a quick study of her mom and dad the other day. I particularly enjoy the details she puts in like her dad's slippers and glasses or my Berkies under the table or my messy work table and Mac. I  thought they would make wonderful mementos for remembering our last winter in Spain. I can imagined them framed some day and giving us a chuckle about these sweet memories.

kids drawing of dad

What are your thoughts about travel, creativity and kids art? Do you find yourself feeling more free to be creative when you travel?

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Hi guys! We're new to the traveling life, but are totally in sync with you on the connection between creativity and travel. We recently took up sketching and have a small pack of drawing supplies that we'll be bringing on the road. Have Da Vinci and Jeanne been sketching as well, or has it mostly been Mozart?


Jay-Good question! Welcome to our blog & I wish you well on your travels!

Yes, we are big believers in living life as art, so being highly creative types, we are usually involved in a creative adventure of some sort while traveling & living.

We all do draw regularly, sometimes even together on the same picture! Sometimes 3 separate ones to compare & contrast.

Sketching, art, photography, writing etc brings an enriching dimension to travel for child and adult!

John Pedroza

I think travel opens up the mind to new ideas and that in turn sparks creativity. Our son is 2 and we have a LACMA (Los Angeles Museum of Art) membership for him. I don't think when we go to the art museum he appreciates it in the same way we do, but he definanetly admires the paintings. I know this because unlike us, he will breeze past most of the paintings, but every once in while he just stops in the middle of his tracks and stares at one of the paintings. It is an interesting thing to watch because you know a spark just went off in his head, but you don't know exactly what he is thinking.

Brooke Drury

Hey Soultravelers:

Our daughter (11) has made art and drawing a regular part of her creative activities since she was very small. She has been having great time sketching our life on the road, the wildlife she has seen and the special experiences she has had - like her first SCUBA dive. She often writes about these experiences as part of homeschool and blogging but these accompanying drawings add at least an extra "thousand words." They also make great thank you gifts for those who help to make the experiences possible.

We are traveling to multiple destinations this year and so our girl has also gotten to try out some of the local craft making activities in each place we've visited. She learned some weaving techniques in Fiji and we are looking into a silk weaving class in Thailand. Figuring out a good activity (or slew of them) for each destination is all part of the fun.

Engaging in local craft activities also provides one with a great chance to get to know some of the locals, the raw materials they have available to them and local customs and uses for the crafts that are made. A social studies lesson in everything but name, it has been a wonderful learning experience for her.

Our son (10) has no interest in art or crafts so we haven't pushed him to engage in the same activities as his big sister. Instead, we packed a soccer ball and pump, a frisbee, a baseball and a couple of mitts, etc. so he can play with the locals kids -- even grown ups sometimes -- wherever we may go. It is a terrific ice breaker as well as a great way to get his "ya-ya's" out between breaks at homeschool.

In a nutshell, I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of art and creativity during travel. It is not for everyone though so it is important for traveler parents such as ourselves to find activities for each of our kids that please and engage them as individuals and promote interaction with the locals. Art is one such activities but is can also be music. sports, games, etc. You are only limited by your imagination!


Brooke and family (now in SE Asia)


John- I so agree with taking kids to museums early and often! There are some really amazing kid's books even for very young ones that will add even more benefit and help encourage more involvement in art, travel & more.

We took Mozart to museums, musical concerts, cultural events, zoos & lots of travel from babyhood, so it all just seems like normal life to her.

No toddlers & kids don't view museums like adults & should be able to do it in age appropriate ways, but exposing them to these rich environments can have far reaching impact!


Hey Brooke! Obviously, I agree and it sounds like you've been having lots of fun!

I don't think you have to limit it though to boys like sports and girls like art.

Mozart is a very sporty girl too & has had lots of fun playing soccer/football, tennis and more with friends from around the world since we began in 06.

DaVinci was the perfect example of a boy who excelled at & loved art AND was a world class athlete who was the only Freshman who got a letter in his high school.

I agree with your passion for learning while traveling and not pushing a child, however I also think some art and some sports are great for all kids!

I think all kids can do art, music, languages, writing, photography etc and should be lovingly exposed to & encouraged in it all.

One of the great things about returning to this small village every winter in Spain is Mozart has had a chance to learn the hand crafts from the elders as well as flamenco and ceramics and participating in all the elaborate festivals.


My kids have those same sketchpads when we travel!
Last summer, my whole family's artistic inclinations were influenced during a visit to Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. We all watched, enraptured, as a woman sketched the architecture there. Almost a year later, my husband and middle daughter's favorite activity to do together is sketching.

Sandra Foyt

I have a wonderful memory of picnicking in Monet's Garden while my daughter painted watercolors.

We always pack sketch pads, colored pencils, and cameras on our journeys. Unfortunately, as the kids get older, they're becoming reluctant to sketch in public. I hope this is temporary.


Kristy - That's cool! We were at that same location & Mozart drew some fun things in Czech Republic too! Small world.

We've really enjoyed watching artists at work in many places & museums on our travels!

Sandra-Wow, I hope that is temporary too! Good food for thought as I hadn't thought of that. I think Mozart is the same age as your son & she still enjoys all of it.

Do you adults do it? Art is part of our way of life & something we highly honor & encourage, so I hope she never grows out of it.

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