This summer I haven't done very many craft "projects" with the kids. Whew. I got that off my chest. I'm a little lazy when it comes to planning craft projects (which is why I loved the Kiwi Crate kit). Just because my kids haven't made things, doesn't mean we haven't been creative.
Kids are naturally creative. Somewhere during their elementary and middle school years, creativity is trained out of us. We're taught rote memorization, history dates, facts. There are right and wrong answers, no in between. We're taught what to think about stories and books we read. By the time we're old enough and asked for our "thoughts" about something, we're so scared that we just sit quietly in class. Or that's what happened to me anyway.
As a parent, you can encourage your children's creative mind, no matter what their preferred medium. Here are some easy ways for you to nurture your child's creativity.
- Encourage kids to experiment and make mistakes. My daughter used to get upset if she made a mistake in her drawing or painting. Instead of giving her a new sheet of paper or allowing her to start over, I showed her how to turn her mistake into part of her painting. It took a few times for her to get over her perfectionist complex about it, but now it's become a game.
- Focus on the process, not the product. Sure it's nice to have your children's pretty paintings and hand print pine cone turkeys out on display when you have visitors. My kids enjoy the process of making the craft project more than the end result. Usually they will play with it for a little while and it's left forgotten in the corner. You know what they will remember? How much fun it was to slap paint on the cardboard or experimenting with cutting out snowflake patterns.
- Create a gallery to show off their work. On the flip side, once kids accomplish a skill or finish a craft, they're very proud of it. Our living walls are covered with more of my children's artwork than anything else. My toddler loves getting his hands dirty and splashing paint onto paper. After he finishes each masterpieces, he asks, "Is this good enough to go on the wall?" My answer is always yes. He never questions the merit of creativity because he knows it's good enough for the Wall. I can tell him until I'm blue in the face how creative he is, but every time he looks at the Wall, he knows.
These are easy things you can do everyday. If your kids are young, start now. If they're older, start now.
Incorporate some time everyday to create with your kids. All you need is 5 minutes. Don't know where to start? Check out my post on how to add creativity into your life.
How do you encourage your kids' creativity?