Illuminated manuscripts have always held a fascination for me. They are beautiful, lavish pieces of art. They evoke in me a sense of awe for the people who sat long ago and created them, spending hours just on one letter, to make something that would inspire. Their art was a work of commitment and devotion, in a world where life was slower.
One of the reasons I like colouring with my children is to give them a chance to step off the crazy timetable of our modern life, and just sit quietly and be. Just be. To create something lovely, without needing to rush on towards the next thing. When these illuminated letters started appearing a few months ago on Activity Village, I knew immediately that I wanted to use them.
There are a couple of options for the letters. Each one comes with a simple letter, with lots of outlines and blank space, which would be perfect for people who like to do their own embellishing and doodling. Then there is an embellished version of the letter. These are what I chose to use. The little spaces and patterns are an invitation to just sit, and create, to take time.
Beginning our morning with a creative colouring session!
That’s exactly what happened. I printed out letters with my children’s initials, then sat down while they were in bed to start one for my 2 year old. It was soothing; it felt like a special treat to just sit and colour. The next morning when they came downstairs, the pages were on the table waiting for them. They enthusiastically sat down and joined in.
I set the scene with some music from a cathedral choir and showed them the example of the illuminated manuscript on the CD case. It was so nice to watch them considering which colours to use, then carefully colouring in, commenting on what they were doing as they went. I had metallic paint markers and metallic gel pens for them to use, since illuminated manuscripts get their name from the shiny gold used to embellish them. We discussed the difference between using them to highlight parts of the letters vs colouring in whole sections with them.
One of the simple illuminated letter colouring pages, embellished by a toddler!
The artwork they created was amazing. We will use them to decorate their work portfolios for this coming school year.
There are also colouring card versions of the letters. We have lots of family and friends having birthdays over the next few weeks, so we decided to print cards with the first letter of the person receiving them and colour them in for a lovely personal card. I think there are going to be some happy people when the postman comes over the next few weeks!
Finished pages - aren't they lovely?
These really did give us a chance to slow down, spend time together, and spend a happy morning colouring. There are over 30,000 printables on the Activity Village website as I write this, but I think these are some of my favourites. Grab your metallic pens and give them a go!
This is a guest post from Rita. Rita is a home educating mother of four girls, aged 10, 8, 6, and 2. She blogs at Chronicles of a Disorganised Homeschooler, where she shares her attempts to at least pretend to be organised enough to manage life, and the fun that she and her family has along the way.
You can find a list of all our guest posts, here.