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Making Vision Boards, a New Year’s Tradition

I originally began writing this post back in March of 2020 just at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Like the rest of the world, I was facing the difficulties of quarantine life and looking for ways to keep my children engaged and not turned into digital zombies. I couldn’t finish this write-up until now, the end of 2020, when I sat down with my family to do our annual New Year’s vision board making activity. This new year seems especially important to focus on. As you read about this fun family activity that we have enjoyed, I hope you will be inspired to use it as a way to help manifest your vision for 2021 and beyond.

Vision Board

What is a vision board?

Vision boards, also known as dream boards, are collaged images, words, and colors that can help people visualize the goals, hopes and dreams for their future. Vision boards can help you clarify your goals and keep them in your mind as you work towards them. Sometimes making them can help you realize you want to accomplish something you didn’t even know about yourself!

What vision boards aren’t

Vision boards are not shopping lists or wish lists, and they are not just unrealistic fantasy (although they can include fantastic hopes and dreams). The purpose is not to identify all the things you want materially, but rather get to the heart of what those “things” provide us, and by doing that, we sometimes find truths about ourselves that go above purchasing things to make us happy. Since there is no right or wrong way to make vision boards, it’s okay to start by simply collecting images of things you want to have, or places you want to go, just things that appeal to you. Trust me, the more abstract needs will come through.

For adults, a vision board can be an aid to help focus on our goals during our hectic lives. Make a new one every year and reflect on it when the year is done. What did I accomplish, how have my goals evolved? You can make them monthly or even more often if the process helps you.

For kids, the concept of a vision board may be too abstract depending on the age, and that’s ok. For them, it can be more about the process and the opportunity to take a blank slate and make it their own. For many children, their art exposure may consist of very planned out activities or connect-the-dots/paint-by-number type art. A vision board is completely free-form and the results are often surprising.

Regardless of the outcome, simply spending time experimenting with art together as a family is guaranteed to be a memorable and fulfilling time. If you can turn it into a recurring annual tradition, even better. So, how do we start our family vision board making activity?

First, gather your materials. Since this is a visual activity, you need the following:

  • The right environment and time. You’ll want a quiet space with plenty of room to spread out. A dining room table or even the floor could work.
  • Paper, card stock or poster board type material to serve as a sturdy base. 
    *Our Creative Adventures® blank collage boards are perfect for this since they have an adhesive surface. You may still need a glue stick for overlapping edges.
  • A glue stick, craft glue, or tape (single-sided or double-sided) to stick the pictures and words on the base.
  • You’ll also need magazines and a variety of materials you most likely have on hand: colored papers, markers, pencils, glitter, colored sand, and other similar materials. You can also use photos, images printed from the internet, images from books and pamphlets. Add stickers, even 3-dimensional items like buttons and sequins if you wish.
  • Optional: Colored pencils, markers and crayons for adding final touches to your finished board.

What are the steps to creating a vision board?

  1. Set your intention. This activity could be fun with loud music and lots of jokes, or a quiet time with soft music and no talking. Try to allow each family member to have the space and atmosphere they need to put thought into their work; after all, this is a unique experience for each person even though you are doing it together.

  2. Gather materials. Look through your materials and cut or tear out the images and words you think you might use. At this point you don’t have to edit your selections, just collect a bunch of stuff that appeals to you. For example, look through magazines and tear out the pages or parts of pages that include words that have meaning to you for your vision. Tear or cut out pictures from articles and ads with or without text. Look through other materials you might have available around the house. Junk mail, catalogs, old Christmas cards, whatever. You can save these types of things throughout the year and create a junk bin of collage materials. It comes in handy for this as well as other school projects. Some things to think about while you are collecting could be health and fitness, family and relationships, work and career, personal hobbies and aspirations.

  3. Layout your design. Start to lay out your collected materials and see what you think works well together and what doesn’t. Now begin to edit your layout by moving things around and trying new positions. Your vision board doesn’t have to include everything you’ve gathered; be selective and focus on what is really important to you. Try to keep in mind the greater goal of having a visual representation of your aspirations for the year. You can also keep it light or humorous, you don’t have to take the process too seriously.

  4. Take a break. Once you have things in place, take a minute away from your vision board. Walk into another room, grab a snack, just stop focusing for a moment. When you come back, how does it look to you? Make any adjustments you want.

  5. Make it permanent. Mix it up. Once you have a good idea of your layout, you can start to glue or stick the words and pictures in place. Try to work a little differently than you normally do. If you tend to organize things neatly, overlap the collage elements and don’t make everything straight. If you tend to be messy, try to add some organization. Play with the layout until you come up with something you like. *If you are using one of our Creative Adventures® blank collage boards, remove sections of the paper liner one at a time. Don’t worry about leaving blank spaces or sticking edges down until the end.

  6. Add finishing touches. Once everything is stuck in place, you might have some background areas that are still blank. Feel free to color them in with markers, or use glue and glitter or art sand to fill them in. If you are using our Creative Adventures® blank collage boards, this is very easy and you can actually stick everything to the backing and then pour sand or glitter over the entire surface and tap off the excess.

  7. Enjoy. Stand back and look at your work. Does it feel right? Make any needed tweaks and then be done with it. Don’t overdo it! Now, tack it up somewhere and look at it periodically as an affirmation or from time to time as a reminder. Don’t like it? Try again. Vision boarding may just become a creative habit!
Vision boards activity

My family’s 2021 vision board activity went well and ended up taking us about 3 hours. Despite two of my children not wanting to participate, they ended up becoming engrossed in it and kept going even after the rest of us were finished. Here is a photo of us when we were right in the middle of the process. Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out to me at drai@getcreativeadventures.com if you have any questions or need some advice about your activity.

Written By Drai

As a father of three, Drai is keenly aware of the challenges modern kids face with the temptations of technology and the lack of arts education in public schools. He is proud of the kits he helped develop with Creative Adventures as they have allowed his own family to explore creativity and connect through art and he is excited to help to bring those types of experiences to a broader audience through our kits.