The Creative Family by Amanda Soule : an interview & a giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. Check here for the winners!

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Amanda Soule, author of the wonderful book The Creative Family, and writer of the hugely popular blog Soule Mama.

the creative family
Photo by Meg McElwee

I adore her book. It has given me a renewed spirit of creativity with my family, and it has provided me with practical know-how for pursuing crafts and ideas I might otherwise not do. Amanda’s idea in this book embody simplicity and creativity – two things I highly value.

I’ve got two great things today for Simple Mom readers. First, I’ve got my interview with Amanda – and I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I do. Secondly, I’m giving three of you a chance to win a copy of The Creative Family! After the interview, I’ll give you details on how you can win.

The Interview

SM: First off, congratulations on your latest pregnancy! Reading your book and blog, it seems like you really love being a mom. What overall message do you hope parents take away from reading your book?

girl drawing
Photo by Wesley Satterwhite

AS: I suppose the overall message I hope to give would be that of embracing creativity as a means of connection with your children. It’s certainly the motivation behind my blog for me – as well as a reminder of the gift of parenthood, and the fleetingness of it all – the preciousness in the everyday, mundane and beautiful moments of this life. That’s what I try to remind myself of when I write, and I hope it’s what others take away from it all as well.

SM: As I read your book, I repeatedly told my husband, “It must be so fun to be a kid in this family.” It seems like you guys play so much! How do you balance making time to play with your kids and doing “grown-up things” like managing your home?

Photo by Allison M

AS: Certainly there are many moments and many days where my energy is shifted to the more ‘grown-up things’ that are involved in managing a home and family. But on the best of days, there’s a balance and fluidity between the two. Incorporating ‘play’ into the work is helpful, especially as children are naturally such mimickers of what we do anyway. Sure, it may take twice as long to wash the windows with the kids, but if I can let go of the rush of it and turn it into a game, everyone’s happier, they’re learning something, a task is being completed, and we’re all doing something together.

Some tasks, of course, need to be completed by just Mama (or Papa!), and I find opportunities for those come up especially after a period of truly connected, and fully present play with my children. When their cup is full (of love, attention and connection), so to speak, they’re more able to find something to work on by themselves for a bit while I work. Sometimes this happens naturally, and sometimes it’s more spelled out, “I really want to play Animal Lotto with you, and then it’s going to be time for me to do X.”, etc.

One last thing I want to say about this is that my idea of ‘managing a home’ might look really different than others. Having an immaculate, super organized home just isn’t the priority for me right now. Someday, I’m sure it will be more important, but for right now, I want to remember that there are only so many things I can do in a day. And I want to choose those things I spend my time on mindfully.

SM: I love the idea of your craft cabinet that’s in your dining room, and that you recommend children using quality art supplies. Do your kids have free-range access to all art supplies at any time? If so, are there issues with messes and clean up? (My first thought was panic at the idea of my 3-year-old having access to oil paints!)

messy kid
Photo by Barry

AS: The shelves that are in reach of the children are all materials that are all-access all the time – paper, stickers, crayons, clay, colored pencils, etc. On the higher shelves, are the materials that require a check-in with Mama first, or things that require a lot of time and help from an adult – oil paints, glitter, papier mache and other ‘messy’ art materials.

Since our “art” table is also our “dining” table, I keep a vinyl tablecloth underneath the cloth one all the time. So I can easily whip off the cloth one for craft projects, the vinyl is so easy to clean up, that really helps. There are definitely lots of spills and messes, but nothing that’s too impossible to clean up (outside crafting is also a great solution for the super messy stuff. Somewhere you can just spray down with a hose when you’re done!) The kids have art aprons on the side of the cabinet, so they almost always wear one of those which helps eliminate some of the extra laundry I’d otherwise be doing.

SM: Simple Mom is a blog about simplicity, and I frequently advocate that simplifying your life ultimately increases productivity. What would your thoughts be for a fellow mom who feels like she just doesn’t have time to be creative with her kids, that her life is just too busy?

Photo by Wesley Satterwhite

AS: My intent was that The Creative Family provide ideas for incorporating creative play and pursuit into the time we already have and spend together as family. For example: creatively celebrating our meals and other everyday rituals; games that require little to no ‘materials’ and can therefore be done anywhere and anytime, etc.

Sometimes, if creative play isn’t already in our daily lives, and yet, it’s something we’re feeling a craving for more of – it might take a little more effort to fill that need. Planning the time to make it happen, taking a look at some of the ‘extras’ in our days that might be ‘let go of’ in order to pursue what we want, etc. The reward for someone feeling that need can make these efforts and sacrifices so worth it, and lead to a more centered, grounded, and connected self and family.

SM: I know you get asked this all the time, but how are you able to do so much? Give us a few time management tips you’ve learned.

AS: Well, first I must just say – because the thought of another Mama out there feeling somehow inadequate just about breaks my heart – that I most certainly do not ‘do it all’. Sometimes the nature of blogs – and particularly the way that I keep mine focused for the most part on the joy – can create a bit of a false illusion. So I hope no one ever for gets that what you might see on a blog is just one paragraph of someone’s day, or what they’ve chosen to focus on from their day.

But…how do I make time for all the things I do? I guess the overriding factor is that I’m pretty mindful of how my time is spent. And not in a way that I’m watching the clock all day, but in a way that I cut out a lot of the ‘extra’ that doesn’t feel important to me, and really try to make the important things a focus of our days. We don’t watch TV, and I try to not waste away hours on the computer (besides working), we don’t ‘leisure shop’, etc, etc. The important things to me – our time together as a family, time spent in nature, creative exploration, making a ‘home’ – these are the things that I spend much of my time on.

tree climber
Photo by Quadrupe

I have to add that my oldest son just walked in the room and asked what I was doing. I read him this question, asked it of him, and he said, “Well, I just do one thing at a time.” So there’s that, too! One foot in front of the other, one task at a time. Trying not to get overwhelmed by all of them together, and frequently reassessing to ‘let go’ of what isn’t going to fit.

SM: Describe your method of homeschooling, in just a sentence or two.

AS: Our style of homeschooling fits under the ‘unschooling’ umbrella, meaning, for us, that we treat the world as our classroom. Our learning happens rather organically, with a combination of following our children’s interests as well as exposing them to new things all the time. I know that’s vague, so if anyone is interested further, I’d recommend reading anything by John Holt as a start!

SM: How would you encourage someone like me, who lives in an urban city of 3 million people, to more fully experience and enjoy nature?

girl in water
Photo by Wesley Satterwhite

AS: My reality is that I’ve only ever lived in a city the size of the one I live in now (the metro Portland area is roughly 230,000), or even smaller (we started our family in a town of 81 residents!), so yes, of course, access to the natural world is easy for us (and a huge part of our decision to live here!). I have to believe that while the effort to find the more ‘natural spots’ is greater in urban areas, also greater would be the reward and importance of doing so. City parks, urban gardening – there is so much nature to enjoy wherever we are.

SM: Why do you advocate children having fewer toys at home?

wood blocks
Photo by Abra

AS: For many reasons, I think “less is more.” I think simple, natural and open-ended toys lead to more imaginative play and creative exploration. I think it’s also a matter of too many toys being overstimulating at times – when you’re spending so much of your time looking for something, or trying to even choose what to play with. Fewer toys doesn’t always have to mean getting rid of things – sometimes just rotating things in and out of a storage area can be helpful. When we see something we haven’t seen in a while, or it’s presented in a new way, we can often find new creative uses for it.

SM: How has creating or crafting helped you to be a better mom?

AS: Creating things nurtures me as a person, and therefore makes me more able to meet my children from a place with more peace and centeredness.

And creating with my children has given me so many amazing opportunities to connect with them, get to really understand them better, and share our family time together in ways that are important to me.

SM: If you could only do one craft for the rest of your life, what would it be?

AS: Oh gosh, that’s impossible to say! I guess if we were including writing as a ‘craft’ (which I do), that would be it without a doubt. Writing feels like breathing to me. But a handcraft? Probably embroidery….a little bit of linen in a hoop with thread and needle is just the perfect little blank canvas.

The Giveaway

the creative family bookThree readers will win a brand new copy of The Creative Family! To be entered, simply comment on this post by answering the following question – What was your favorite thing to play as a child?

To be entered a second time, subscribe to Simple Mom and email me the secret code at the bottom of all the posts. Check here for more info on this, if you’re unsure what I’m referring to. You don’t have to be a new subscriber – anyone who subscribes can email me the code.

Lastly, to be entered a third time, mention this interview and giveaway on your blog, and make sure you link back to me about it in some form.

The contest will be open from today, July 28 until Friday, August 1, midnight EST. Worldwide entries are accepted!

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Oh I am so excited and hope I win! My kids are very artsy and creative, and I am totally NOT… at least not in that way. But I believe much of what you both talk about here. I would love to win the book, hopefully it will help me find my creativity. 🙂

    Carrie at Natural Moms Talk Radios last blog post..Peaceful Parenting For a Peaceful World

  2. Me, me! I have heard so many great things about this book! As a child, my favorite thing to play or to do was read. I was a big, big reader and still am, as much as I can be. Reading helped me be imaginative and play made up games and scenarios, which was, I guess, my other favorite thing to do.

    Kelly from Almost Frugals last blog post..Eating Out Frugally: Have A Picnic

  3. I hadn’t heard of Amanda and her book, so thank you for your interview. She sounds fascinating.

    I was reminded of one of my childhood favourites a few weeks ago by my girls. Making “perfume” and potions with my cousin from flowers and leaves collected in our gardens. We used to fill afternoons trying this and that in an attempt to get something that smelt halfway decent 🙂 No toys, just our imaginations and nature.

    Journeyers last blog post..Getting to Know You

  4. I LOVE your blog and have learned so much from you!

    What a wonderful book! I am always looking for ways to think outside the box with my two Boys and incorporate more creativity, but I feel I fall so far short!

    My fave thing to play when I was little was “Babies on the Doorstep.” My sis and I would start an orphanage for all of our dolls. We were one big happy family!

  5. Oooh, as a child, my favourite thing to play was “olden days house”. I was a big lover of the Laura Ingalls’ books. :0)

    Charitys last blog post..Lace Ribbon Scarf

  6. I loved to play “dance recital” — putting on a record (usually Tina the Ballerina) and dressing up in some old crinolines from my grandma’s house. Ahh, those were the days.

    mollys last blog post..Small Cygnet on Etsy

  7. I grew up on a mountainside as a child. My favorite pastime was to climb on a set of huge boulders near our house. I would make the cracks and crevices different “rooms” in my pretend house. I’d drag large grapevines over to the rocks to make “furniture” for the rooms and use piles of dried leaves for cushions. I’m just grateful I never ran into any snakes!

    Katharines last blog post..Third time is a….?

  8. Missy K says:

    I was a huge pretend player as a child,. and my favorite thing to do was to use my dolls to act out whatever book I was reading, inside or in my parents’ large garden, building houses out of rocks and old bricks and found wood. For hours and hours.

  9. My favorite thing was playing cooking in the backyard. The air condition compressor was the stove. Grass/sticks/flowers/leaves they main ingredients. We lived in an area with RED mud, so everything had marinara sauce too!

    PS-I couldn’t find an email address to email you directly. My email isn’t set up correctly on my laptop, so the “email me” link won’t get it to you…

  10. I would love to win a copy of this book. I don’t feel very creative when it comes to playing with my kids. My favority thing to do when I was a child was, ironically enough, to play pretend with my friends. We would pretend we were princesses, detectives, etc.

  11. My grandmother lived about eight miles away in a small sleepy town, but eight miles felt like 80 miles as a kid, so it always felt like a great big adventure when we went to see her. Her house was big and old–meaning, it smelled of moth balls in a fresh, clean, grandmother’s house way and was built with oak and maple doors and stairways, glass windows and stained glass portholes, faucets that squeaked and closets that creaked, and so big with rooms that were tucked away and never used. It also meant that there were treasures (old letters, knick knacks, books, receipts, paper pads) and costume jewelry hidden in drawers and under beds, in between pages of books, and behind secret doors. My brothers and sister and cousins and I would spend hours there playing post office. Someone was the postman, others were storekeepers, and someone was a hairdresser. We made sure that we got so heavily involved in our pretend and simple world, that there was no other option other than to let us stay overnight; otherwise, I’m quite sure, we’d have considered our world turned upside down. That was my favorite thing to play as a child.

    Maureens last blog post..Feeding Connections

  12. I started reading Amanda’s blog when she gave birth to Adelaide. I’ve been hooked since!

    When I was a child, my favorite thing to play was bat and ball with my Dad on the side of the house. My “bat” was a giant, plastic red thing and my “ball” was a wiffle ball, but I LOVED it. I’m still close to my Father and so appreciate that he would play for hours with me.

    HollyRheas last blog post..URGENT and IMPORTANT and LIFE-ALTERING

  13. Julie D says:

    Great interview! My favorite thing to play was teacher. I had a chalkboard for instruction and even confiscated an old typewriter to make up worksheets and homework. Now that I’m really a teacher I avoid worksheets like the plague, but they were fun when I was 5.

  14. Amanda D. says:

    My grandmother lived on a “farm” in the arkansas mountains. My favorite thing to do as a child was to climb up in the woods and just play pretend. Often times I imagined I was somewhere else, but wow, what I wouldn’t give to do that again!

    I am definitely lacking in the creativity department. I would love to be able to do fun crafts easily with my girls!

  15. I really loved the interview, it was great to hear how Amanda deals with the day to day. As a child I spent most of my time outside. We had an old plaster works near our house and we used to use large chunks of plaster to write and decorate the footpath. We would make patterns, draw around our body shapes, make up hopscotch outlines etc. It would amuse us for hours.

    PlanningQueens last blog post..Menu Plan Monday – A Big Planning Session

  16. What a fun giveaway! My favorite thing to play as a child was probably “Night Games” with all of our neighbor friends. Games like “Kick the Can,” “Annie-I-Over,” Red Rover,” and “Capture the Flag” were played nearly every night in my neighborhood!

  17. DEBBY WARREN says:

    HI! My favorite thing to play as a child was Little House on the Prairie! My sister & I would be Mary and Laura, and our German Shepherd dog was “Jack”…we would spend hours by our creek and build forts and pretend to hide from the indians…We had hours of fun…we would lay pine tree branches down as our beds…we even had a little “potty area ” – haha….I hadn’t thought of that in years… 🙂 we had SO much fun!

    I LOVE your blog! Have GREAT day!

  18. Jenny K says:

    I’m so interested in this book. My favorite game as a child was hide & seek especially during dusk.

  19. As a child, I loved so many things to play! There was definitely no favorite…I played Barbies, dolls, paper dolls, and imaginative play outside. I was usually in my own little world. I am such a huge believer in imaginative play!

    I do subscribe to simple mom on my google reader. I don’t know what secret code you are talking about, I don’t see it!

  20. My favorite thing to play growing up was “chef”. I loved to mix recipes with real food (and an adult’s help) or make pretend dishes out of playdough. Great giveaway 🙂 Love the interview!

    Michelles last blog post..Use the Sun to Whiten Your Dipes!

  21. I would love a copy of SouleMamma’s book! I’m raising two energetic boys who have incredibly creative imaginations. I strive to provide the type of creative environment I was blessed to grow up in as a child…thanks to my wonderful parents. My favorite thing to play with growing up was actually more of a thing to do…I loved going camping with my family. My father was born and raised in Colorado so the outdoors were a natural part of his life and he shared that love with his children. I loved sleeping under the stars (we only used tents…no “camper” camping for us!), hiking the mountains of Northern California and Colorado, cooking out, the campfires, exploring the forest, rivers and lakes, fishing and collecting “treasures” found in some of God’s most beautiful playgrounds!

    Joelles last blog’s been way too long

  22. My sister and I used to love playing “Travel Agency”. My dad used to travel a lot for work, and he’d save his old ticket stubs and boarding passes for us. My sister and I would take turns sitting behind the desk, coming up with travel suggestions, issuing each other tickets and then pretending we were customs officials! Guess we travelled a lot too, so thought this play-acting was fun!

  23. I love your blog and this book looks awesome! My favorite thing as a kid was splashing around in our creek!

  24. Barbara says:

    Please include me for the book give-away as I have four creative, crafty girls but could use the encouragement for myself! My favorite pasttime as a child was to curl up with a Nancy Drew mystery, but as far as a game or activity, we had fun playing librarian in my grandparents old library room! Thanks, Barbara

  25. As a child, I loved to play in the woods – pretended a great large grouping of vines was my house, cinderblock was my chair and I would imagine away an entire afternoon.

    Karens last blog post..Pocoyo: Juego limpio

  26. I have to say, I stumbled apon your blog when you wrote the post about keeping homemaking skills alive and have learned so much from you! Your post about RSS feed and how to subscribe to blogs was enlightening, simple and exciting to me. Of course, I subscribed to your blog right away and have been using my google reader instead jumping from one blog to another to see if they’ve updated. Thank you for the wonderful tip!

    As far as the contest goes -this book is something that I would love! My favorite thing to play asa child was any kind of “house.” Whether it be dressing up my barbies and playing through them, or being outside in the “woods” with my cousins -house definitely topped the list!

  27. I just Twittered it, does that count?

    My favorite game with called Big People, when my sister and I would act out stories we created from our imaginations. No props or toys required. Today, I watch my kids do the same thing.

    Monica @ Paper Bridgess last blog post..When two worlds collide: Elizabeth Gilbert and why I home school

  28. That was an excellent interview. Well done! I’ve been wanting to read Amanda’s book for awhile. I’d love to win it! My favorite toys as a child were Barbie.

    Nicholes last blog post..Sheltered

  29. My favorite toy as a child was my little plastic Fisher-Price dollhouse with the handle on top. I spent hours imagining the lives of the little family that lived inside, and used things from around me to “redecorate” the rather limited interior. Thanks for the reminder……it’s up in my attic right now and I think my children might like to try it for themselves!

    Amy G.s last blog post..Monday

  30. I loved being outdoors, riding bikes was the ultimate fun for me. All day – up and down the hills, andI don”t remember getting “bored”! Great interview – would love a copy of the book!

  31. My favorite game as a child was Uno. As an only child it was difficult to play because I would have to recruit people or my mother to play with me. So, I guess my default my favorite thing to do ended up being reading. I love reading to this day.

    I enjoyed this interview and really hope to win this contest, the book sounds amazing!

  32. Jennifer says:

    My favorite game as a child was playing grocery store with my sister. We made a cash register out of cardboard and we would take turns buying things from around the house. Very fun!

  33. This sounds like a great book! My little guy still mostly just _eats_ crayons, but I’m sure that our creating days are just around the corner! This would be great not only for us, but also for our MOPPETS activity times!

    Princess Leias last blog post..THIS is Parenting

  34. One of my favorite toys to play with when I was a kid was my legos. I actually still like playing with my girls legos. It takes alot of imagination to build something and I think building is alot of fun. I think legos was one of the few things that me and my brother actually played with only one “toy” at a time, everything else was pretty much all mixed up together.

  35. My favorite thing to play with as a child were my Cabbage Patch kids. For awhile there, one of them went everywhere with me, for on-the-go play. I think it really helped develop my imagination, and they were pretty good for cuddling, too!

    I’ll e-mail you the code!

    Jenis last blog post..I Really, Really Love Target

  36. My mom is very creative and I’m so thankful for her influence on us. She enjoyed her hobbies and therefore we did, too. She brought us along to do pottery, photography, stained glass, woodworking, painting and sewing. We had shoe boxes full of silkworms in the garage. What fun.


  37. My all-time favorite thing to do as a child was READ. I would read constantly! I still enjoy reading today! This is a great giveaway, I hope I win!

    I will also be emailing you the code!

  38. I figured I’d come back and actually answer the question! The playing I remember the most happened outdoors. I remember learning to ride my bike, using the curb to reach the seat as it was too big for me. I remember rollerskating up and down our dead-end street. I remember feeling very grown up and independent being able to walk around the corner to the little neighbourhood park where there was a tube slide and a really neat swing that I loved. I spent a lot of time on our swing set and in our driveway with our ‘Big Wheel’. Once we moved to a more rural location, again on a dead-end laneway, there was more adventerous outdoor play. My brothers and I would explore the fields – making it ‘snow’ in August when we opened every single milkweed seed pod we could find. We spent copious amounts of time trying to stay away from the ‘haunted house’, a little shack near our property and we got a lot of enjoyment out of the neighbour’s geese following us around. Thanks for the prompt to remember!

    Bonnis last blog post..Recovering Well

  39. I remember having the most fun pretending I was a witch making mud pies with sticks, acorns, leaves, rocks, and anything else lying around. It was better when I fed them to my brother and he ate them.

    Michelle Pendergrasss last blog post..Stay Tuned for The Big Remodel

  40. My favorite thing to play with as a child was this huge TeePee my mom had made with a bunch of fabric, some PVC pipe, and painted with Indian designs. It was a tent, a fort, a house, everything you can imagine. I loved it!

    Shannas last blog post..Follow up

  41. I loved playing with my babydolls. My sister and I would take our little wooden table out into the yard and set it for a doll’s tea party. Such fun!

    CharityGraces last blog post..Linkety Link

  42. Adrienne says:


  43. My favorite activity growing up was when we played “Little House on the Prairie” at the park across the street from our house. We would drag pots, blankets, baby dolls and all other manner of stuff across the street and then set up our “homes” under the trees.

    Emilys last blog post..Unplugged Project: "Flat"

  44. As a child I loved playing with the doll house that my Uncle Michael made for me – hours and hours of fun with that! I also did a lot of art projects… drawing, cutting, pasting, colouring… often making something out of found objects like egg cartons or cereal boxes.
    Thanks for letting me remember!!

    alexandras last blog post..Lately…

  45. I loved Tinkertoys as a kid esp. when my dad would get down on the floor with me me build something really cool.

    Halles last blog post..Flowers

  46. Chantale says:

    As a child, my favourite toy must have been Legos. I had a Lego plastic briefcase filled with the plain lego shapes (no special pieces/characters for me).

    My favourite activity was making houses for my brother’s G.I.Joes. Of course, then there would be a war and the house would be destroyed and I’d have to start all over again…

  47. Kimberly says:

    My favorite thing to play as a child was “house”. I also really loved riding my bike!

  48. Hello – it’s hard to narrow it down to a favourite, but I really loved playing fairies and elves outside, making castles with autumn leaves and our picnic table. How lovely to have that question presented and start remembering all the things I loved to do as a kid! Thank you!

  49. Jessica says:

    My favorite thing to play as a child was pretending I was a character in a favourite movie or book. Cinderella was my personal favorite- talking to little mice and birds, living in a tower…

  50. Great interview! My favorite toy as a child were blankets and scraps of wood….my sister and I would hours outside each day building “houses”. I have such fond memories of doing that and it is so wonderful to see my own kids starting to do similar construction. I am a big fan of Amanda’s blog and book (keep checking it out from the library but would LOVE to have a copy for our family). Also, nice to discover your blog. I’ll look forward to exploring it.

    Lucias last blog post..Way to Go, Jo!

  51. CiderSapling says:

    I enjoyed the interview, thanks! But I really appreciated reading everyone’s favorite childhood games. For me, I think reading was the top of my list. Especially once I was old enough to ride my bicycle to the library. That, and making up dance routines with my sister. 🙂

  52. As a child, my favorite toy was my dollhouse. It was 3 stories high and I could empty it and rearrange it all day long. Loved it!

  53. Jennifer says:

    I love SouleMama! And I would love to have her book too!

    My favorite thing to do as a child was play “orphans”…I played with my cousins and we would roam around their farm making up tasks that the “master” wanted us to do. Kind of bizarre, but it kept us entertained for hours…we would even beg her mom to give us chores to do as part of our game!

  54. Great interview!
    I have two younger sisters, and we grew up kind of out in the middle of nowhere, so our favorite thing to play was always “Little House”, and I got to be Mary:)

    Ashleys last blog post..Trying Something New

  55. Thanks for the interview… Iloved reading more about this unique, creative mom and her family!

    My older brother liked playing with his mini tractor and trucks and I liked my Raggedy Ann doll doing the Mama role thing. However, we found that we liked playing TOGETHER when he brought out his vehicles and plastic farms animals to the sidewalk and the ants parading on the cement became our “people” and I could boss them around better than he could because of all my practice with Raggedy!

    Debs last blog post..Meeting the Little Man

  56. Since my mom was a teacher, I got old copies of her handouts – math and spelling sheets and the like. We also had an old desk from the school. So, I played “school” a lot!

    Stacys last blog post..Closer to Fine….

  57. Perfectly timed question! I grew up in the 70s and was caught up in the Nadia Comaneci craze! I’ve been reminiscing about this with the Beijing Olympics coming up soon. My sister and I played at being Nadia and her teammate [Teadora Ungureanu — talk about “where are they now”?] and living our lives as elite athletes and *stars*. Anything we were doing, be it going out for ice cream or going to the farmer’s market, we did as “N & T”; we felt so much larger than life when we were being our heroines. At the time I was a pretty decent gymnast, though nowhere near competitive caliber, and even now my four-year-old is deeply impressed with how well I do cartwheels. 😉

    Naomis last blog post..Thursday is Farm Day, a brain dump

  58. Is it cheating if my favorite thing to “play” is a three-way tie?

    1. Anything that involved make-believe outside, specifically pretending to be various animals
    2. Writing! I actually wrote (and typed) a 100+ page book (single spaced!!!) when I was in 5th grade
    3. Reading

    Yes, I was a wee bit of a nerd.

    I loooovvvveeee doing creaive activities with my kids so I really hope I win this book!

  59. quilter says:

    What a fun giveaway! I played so much as a child it is difficult to name just one game. As a younger child, I played school, house, grocery store and pioneer family (think Little House). I played hopscotch and jumped rope. I roller skated (the kind with the key). As an older kid, I played hide-and-seek with the entire neighborhood. We built a putt-putt course. I played pickup kickball and football in the street and basketball in the alley. I rode bikes for miles and miles. I hit tennis balls against the neighborhood school. I walked to the library and read for hours. If I had to name something that hasn’t been mentioned, I wrote and performed puppet plays making the puppets and designing the sets.

  60. I loved to play school! I would write my letters and enjoy coloring with the new crayons. I still love gathering the new supplies each year.

  61. My favorite thing to do was to ride my bike – all afternoon. I also liked climbing my grandparents’ crabapple tree and eating the crabapples!

    I’ve been wanting this book since before it came out. Nice interview and great giveaway. Thanks!

    mayas last blog post..Routine: noon

  62. I’ve been trying to pick up this book for the last few months…our local book store is always sold out or not in stock. I get my daily dose by visiting SouleMama every day.
    My favourite toy…….hmm, would have to say my little suitcase full of dress up clothes for both me and my dolls. Its now been handed down to my little girl who is on the brink of being able to do the buttons herself.
    Just found your site and will be signing up for emails….
    PicK ME, please!

  63. I’m sure I had other favorites, but what’s coming to mind right now is that I used to love to “cook” with things from outside–for example, a dandelion “soup”, an acorn and leaves “salad”, and so on.

    Meryls last blog post..It’s the Bee’s Knees

  64. daniela says:

    i grew up on a farm in switzerland and riding any kind of vehicles around the farm was one of my most favorite things to do. as well as helping with cooking, making jam and preserving food. there were lot’s of people helping and it was fun to work together.

  65. My favorite thing to play when growing up was Sardines. Our parents let us “play out” on weekend and summer evenings with our neighborhood friends. We would all put on our darkest colored clothing and then played this twist on hide ‘n seek once it got dark. One person goes to hide while everyone else counts. When you find the “it” person hiding you quietly join them until everyone has found the crew. You really had to squish together like sardines into the hiding place with out giggling or complaining! The first person who found “it” is “it” for the next round. Soooo much fun. Round after round of fun!

  66. I am so thankful to have recently found your blog & spent the weekend looking around. I have been eyeing this book for some time now.

    Hmmm….I guess puzzles. I’ve always loved them, right on up until adulthood.

    Rebeccas last blog post..Talk About It: Painting

  67. My FAVORITE thing as a kid was legos. I always like to dream about my own house and I’d build homes complete with furniture and landscaping, long before “girly” legos existed. I was quite a nerd for doing so, as no girls I knew at the time cared one lick for legos. I still have all of them in a box in my closet for my own daughter to play with one day.

    Michelles last blog post..Then/Now

  68. I loved to play cook. I was always trying to make nettle soup, it was only when I got to be big that I realised you would need more than a bucket, nettles and rainwater for this to taste nice!!

    Nicolas last blog post..On turning 29

  69. My very favorite thing to do as a child was to explore the fields and woods in my neighborhood. We would head to a spot that was filled with Native American Lore…the same tale that my father grew up hearing. It had great mystery and intrigue. The neighborhood kids and I would just hang out and imagine life in a different time soaking in all that nature had to offer from cliffs to babbling brooks.

    travelinmas last blog post..Chicken Wire Fence

  70. One of my favorite things to play as a kid was dress up. My mom had this huge wooden box that we could climb in filled with all sorts of great things like old nightgowns, silly pants, my cousin’s flower girl dress. . . my sister and I would spend hours putting on different costumes and acting out our dramas!

  71. One of my favourite things to do as a kid was play up in a tree “pretending” all day. One memory I have is of me laying on a big branch like a leopard and practicing my “growl”. No toys involved.

    Colleen Belliveaus last blog post..And Now She is Seven

  72. playing house outside with my homemade cabbage patch kids

  73. My absolute favorite thing to play when I was a child was “kitchen”. I adored my play kitchen, tinkering around like I was cooking for all my dolls and animals. I currently have Amanda’s book out from the library and it is fantastic! I would greatly enjoy having my own copy to reference…Thanks for the opportunity!

    Susans last blog post..How do you measure success?

  74. I was a big reader…every week I’d check out at least ten books from the library, if not more. As far as playing goes, my most vivid memories are of being outside…picking questionable berries and making pretend pies…playing red-light-green-light…spending hours on the elementary school playground across the street.

    Julies last blog post..This one’s for you, Lisa…

  75. Growing up I always just loved to play outside. Whether it was wrestling with my brother, or making mud pies with the neighbor, I always had fun using my imagination.

    Laceys last blog post..All Things HP

  76. I found your website today from SouleMama’s link. This is a lovely place! My favorite thing to play as a child was tag. We lived in a neighborhood that we could run through all day. Once it got too dark, we would switch to catching fireflies in Mason jars.

  77. I love the quote “a reminder of the gift of parenthood, and the fleetingness of it all”. I used to like to play school, and make my little brother and his friends be the students.

    Rachels last blog post..Resisting the Desire to Acquire

  78. hi, I’m a grandma and I’m raising my granddaughter. Your blog has lots of great ideas.
    My favorite thing when I was a child (eons ago) was cardboard boxes, any size. They could be turned into anything.
    bev e

  79. My favorite thing to do was to play outside, either on the swingset, in the sand box or riding my bike. This book looks great!! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

  80. when i was a kid my favorite thing to play with were the weeds in the back yard. i enjoyed trying to make birds nests. everyday i would go out and check the nests that i had made to see if any birds wanted to live there. obviously i didn’t understand that birds don’t live on the ground. but i remember doing it and loving it.

    christy hintons last blog post..2 card creations

  81. As a kid I love playing with friends, no toys, just friends. I love staying out till dark, playing hide and go seek, red light green light, Simon says, all until we saw the street light turn on and we would all run home.
    It makes me think of all the hundreds of toys my 3 boys have and that they are missing out on what we loved when we were younger. Time to clean out their room!?

  82. I was also a child of the woods. Fallen trees were my kingdom. Whole words lives among and beneath the trees. I would spend hours creating stories about those who lived among the trees. Most of those stories never made it out of my head, but they still inform my “self” today.

    Amy Jos last blog post..perfection triumvirate: sweet, sour, and salty

  83. Living on an island, my favourite thing to do was play on the beach. A couple of friends and I would play store on the beach in summer. We would each have our own store, ie. bakery, jewelry store, anything. It was so fun. We would play for hours, making little things out of seaweed, driftweed, shells, and beach glass. We used tiny periwinkle snails for currency.

    Virginias last blog post..poppies quilt

  84. Great interview! My favorite thing to play as a child was with horses- play horses, Breyers horses and real horses!

  85. I loved to play with dolls….any kind–paper dolls, baby dolls – no matter. My friend and I would name our dolls and they would even get to spend the night with each other, just like we enjoyed doing….so fun!

  86. I just found your blog because of Soule Mama’s blog! And this is fantastic! Definitely putting you on the list of “must read” blogs! Thank you for this great giveaway.

    Our favorite thing as kids – I think my favorite was reading. I started reading early and just never stopped! We have so many pictures of me reading in trees, on bikes, in tents, by the pool, on the beach… you name it, I was there reading. Of course there was a lot of playing too, but I was never to far from a good book.

  87. What a great interview…I really hope I win this book. I grew up in a family where anything that could make a mess was banned…no markers, no paints, absolutely no glitter….my favorite toy was my trust tin of lincoln logs.

  88. Some of the best childhood memories I have are playing either librarian or newspaper journalist with my cousin. We spent hours organizing books, creating systems to check books in and out, and sending our stories “to press.” It is no wonder she now writes for a small-town newspaper and I am an avid reader. 🙂

    Thank you for this awesome give away!

  89. Claire Gaston says:

    I love Amanda Soules Blog, Soulmama.
    When I was a child I loved to play with the neighbors pet cats. The whole neighborhood worth would come into my families yard each day to find their little play buddy, me. This is my best memory. Unconditional love. Best warm regards.

  90. Donna A. from Farmington says:

    As a child I grew up on a farm so my siblings and I played outside in our “fort”. One of my favorite things to do was to make mud cookies. We would go collect pebbles/rocks of different sizes and twigs (break them up into different sizes) and then add them to our black dirt and water ….we made hundreds of dozens of “cookies” and then rinsed off under the garden hose.

  91. My favorite thing to “play” as a child was make believe…we had a huge yard and a garden, with woods behind. I would go out and imagine myself in a different place, making up stories and exploring. I am a definite fan of rotating toys to avoid too many choices. I have also been known to take the batteries out of certain toys to reduce overstimulation. Wonderful interview!

    Take care,

    Stephs last blog post..Menu Plan Monday

  92. Michelle says:

    One of my favorite things to play with as a child was actually something I played on – our ‘treehouse’, which was really only an old wooden palette from dad’s work set in the crotch of a tree in our backyard. But we pretended it was so much more! 🙂

  93. I loved playing restaurant as a kid – I’d create menus, make food out of clay, have an order pad and an apron – I could entertain myself for hours this way! Imaginary patrons or family members roped into playing with me – it didn’t matter!

    SouleMama was one of the first blogs I ever read years ago – I really enjoyed reading this interview, and would LOVE to win Amanda’s book!

  94. My cousins and I used to play “library” when we were little and it was my favorite game. We would get as many books as we could find and we would take turns being the librarian. Still to this day, I love books because of it. I still can’t remember who started the game though. It was probably me since I was the “ringleader” and oldest lol.

    Amiyrahs last blog post..Meal plan Monday!

  95. Loved the interview!!!
    We used to build mud castles in our orange orchard.So much fun!!!!

  96. Hmm.. my favorite thing to play as a young child was house, with my cats standing in as baby’s. They would lay in a crib, allow me to dress them and even put a bottle in their mouths. Those cats were amazing!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Rachels last blog post..The Scoop on Food Colorings

  97. My favorite toy was my baby sister…. 🙂

  98. I love to play with my sit and spin.

    Ariellas last blog post..Vacationing with Mom & Dad

  99. Soule Mama is one of my favorite blogs, and I’m happy to have found Simple Mom through that channel, too! I remember just playing outside when I was little, kicking around the neighborhood, riding bikes, jumping rope. Unplugged, and happily NOT missing what we were “missing.”
    Thanks for a great interview!!

    MelissaSs last blog post..Another Challenge Card…

  100. My favorite thing to do as a child is pretend and imagine. I used to pretend I was a princess on an adventure. Thanks for your wonderful website and this opportunity to win!