Hello! My name is Laura (she/her/hers) and I am the creative parent behind Barefoot Carrot.
I live in the San Diego area with my husband and our two red-headed kids.
Our little carrots spend a lot of time playing, learning, and creating while barefoot (hence the name Barefoot Carrot).
I believe that creative expression is a fundamental part of life. Over the years, I’ve found many personal creative outlets in art, writing, reading, cooking, gardening, music, theatre, movement, and observing the wonders of nature.
When I became a mother, it felt natural to make creativity a core part of our family.
But finding a creative flow wasn’t easy at first. I tried and failed with many creative experiences. Music classes were a bust, typical toddler art projects left me uninspired, printable worksheets didn’t spark imagination, the list goes on.
Through trial and error, by reconnecting with my love of creativity, trying new projects and ideas, and with a lot of wisdom from family, friends, teachers, bloggers, artists, and authors, I’ve reimagined what creativity looks like in our family.
It has been a joy to see how my kids’ creative expressions have developed. And I find that the more we create together, the more I learn about their personalities and interests.
Whether or not you consider yourself a creative person, I truly believe that each of us has the ability to embrace our strengths and use them to build more fun and creative expression.
With that guiding philosophy, Barefoot Carrot is dedicated to helping you create fun and meaningful experiences through creative art projects, gardening, literacy, and allergy-friendly foods.
Art and Creativity
There are three key things that I have found help encourage creative expression with my kids: access to art supplies, modeling creativity, and connecting projects with their interests.
Access to Supplies
I keep art supplies in several places within reach throughout our home: on our art desk, the art easel in the playroom, a small painting and craft table in the kitchen, and to be honest usually all over the kitchen table.
When the kids get an idea, they know where to find supplies and often get what they want with minimal help.
Because of my own personal love of art and creativity, we have many wonderful supplies to play with. But never underestimate the appeal of basic markers, crayons, and a blank piece of paper.
We also use a lot of recycled materials, especially cardboard, in our art and creations. And nature plays a big role our creative habit.
Sometimes art can feel overwhelming, especially for perfectionist kids (and adults). Modeling creativity and participating alongside them, shows kids that creating art is fun, important, and special.
With process-focused art, art concerned with the process rather the product itself, there’s not a “right” or a “wrong” way to create. It’s wonderful, freeing, and a lot of fun! But, I’ve noticed that my kids often need to see things in action to set their ideas in motion.
And especially with more result-oriented activities like drawing, it is really helpful for kids to see YOU participate.
My oldest was really reluctant to draw for a long time because he couldn’t do it perfectly. Seeing me practice drawing, watching me mess up, and helping me experiment with my drawings really helped build his confidence.
There’s magic in creating together!
Connecting with Interests
The art, activities, and projects my kids enjoy most are those that build upon their interests (ice cream, race cars, dinosaurs, and rocket ships to name a few).
Often, their excitement about a new art project or activity is all in how I talk about it and set it up. For my oldest, painting = boring. But… race car magic salt painting with watercolors = amazing!
My toddler on the other hand, is pretty much up for anything if it involves paint, water, or getting messy.
Above all, I try to enable my kids to be art directors and have fun, even when that means mixing all the paint colors together!
A creative muscle develops over time with art.
It’s always fun to see how my kids ideas evolve and build from previous experiences.
I know that you will be able to take ideas offered here and tailor them to your kid’s unique interests.
In 2019, my husband built our family garden boxes and we started growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Learning and playing in the garden has been a very rewarding and creative project.
In the garden, there are endless fairy houses to build, insect life cycles to observe, and connectedness with the seasons that comes with observing and caring for plants.
We can always count on a little helper to plant new seeds, water plants, look for sneaky snails, and pick snap peas.
And there are lots of lessons in hardship and perseverance that we work through together too like when the slugs eat our strawberries.
Gardening is an extension of our creative lives!
As all parents know, reading is a wonderful way to teach emotional literacy, learn new ideas, see mirrors and windows into personal experiences, and have fun.
Many of the art projects and activities on this site are inspired by or pair well with some of our favorite stories.
Reading together is fuel for imagination and creativity!
I have wonderful memories of cooking and baking with my mom, sisters, and grandmothers. Sharing similar experiences with my kids is something we all enjoy.
My family is managing several complex dietary needs so it’s not always easy to find recipes and products that appeal to everyone.
I have a severe gluten intolerance and one of my children has potentially life threatening allergies to dairy, egg (baked egg is tolerable), sesame, buckwheat, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts.
But I’ve created and adapted several go-to recipes that everyone in our family can enjoy. I have also found brands and products that work well for our unique situation.
I recognize that your family likely has different dietary preferences and possible food allergies. However, I hope you will find some of the brand and product recommendations and recipes both helpful and delicious.
Food sustains us, brings us together, and offers opportunities for creativity!
Values and Commitment
As a blog and the parent behind the Barefoot Carrot name, I am committed to:
- Partnering with companies working to promote a more socially and environmentally just world
- Highlighting and celebrating diverse voices and experiences
- Researching, reading, reflecting, learning, unlearning, and taking action in my own family and beyond to help support the work of dismantling racism
- Voicing support for marginalized communities
- Giving 10% of all earnings to nonprofit causes that support these values
Barefoot Carrot is a reflection of a small part of my family’s life. The internet is a strange place where comparison and curated posts challenge our notions of what everyday life “should” look like.
The truth is, my home is usually quite messy, sometimes my kids don’t get along, veggies are hit or miss, and some days everyone stays in their pajamas (less laundry, right?!).
I don’t photograph the meltdowns or share every struggle. But we are navigating this beautiful, complicated, and wonderful life together creatively and I capture and share a few special pieces.
If you’re still reading, thank you! It’s a privilege to share this space with you as we navigate raising the next generation of creative kids.