I grew up in a very creative household. My mom would set out still life objects on the table, with lamps and we’d sit around and sketch it together. She’d let me make my own pies by the time I was Lucy’s age. I felt apart of my mother’s world and more myself because of all of the creative-ness in our lives. It just was how we were. It was free and easy and cheap and so my childhood. All of those things are apart of my children’s lives now too I think. I don’t do the still life with lamps but we are creative in other ways. I must admit it is harder with Eli because he seems to have less patience with it all that my older two. They relish everything we do that is creative.
So are you wondering, how do you live creatively? Well this is totally my two cents on the idea. But these would be my tips.
1. Keep supplies for crafts around and available and accessible. We have various collections of art supplies. There is so much fun creative stuff at the dollar store now. And that is great. But sometimes too it is nice to be able to get them the nice art stuff, like a good sketch book and good pencils or the cute cupcake liners you’ve been saving, and let your kids use them. Yep, they’ll do a kid job with them. But they’ll realize that you value what they do enough to let them use it.
2. Accept that creative often breeds mess. Oh my I could show you the piles that are made around here constantly. I am trying to teach them now (especially Lucy) that paper mess needs to be picked up after you finish. But even think about creativity in the kitchen – that makes mess. Playing in the dirt? Messy.
3. Do something creative with your kids, not just them doing it alone. Family drawing time, building lego with them, playing with play dough, creating a stop motion movie with their lego creations, sculpting, junk sculptures, etc.
4. Let them see you doing things that are creative. Create things yourself. Start project life, write, take some pictures, draw, get creative in the kitchen, build something, paint a wall or a picture, etc….
5. Creative living isn’t just arts and crafts. Creativity comes in music, in cooking and baking, in yard work, in writing, in paper crafts, in dress up and plays, in story telling, in dancing, in decorating, in building, etc.
6. Resist the urge to fix it. Let them do it however they are going to do it. And have THEM do it themselves. I can tell the kids who are over who’s parents intervene in their creative endeavors by the way they constantly ask for help or have trouble getting started unless they are given complete instructions. If you want to show them, get your OWN stuff and model how to do it. When you do it for them you are telling them you don’t think they are capable. Letting them do it on their own builds the thought in them “I am capable, I can do it.”
7. Talk about it. When your children show you something they have made, ask them to tell you about instead of saying “is this a __________”. Let them tell you and be interested and attentive to what they say. The greatest compliment to a child is when they hear an adult tell another person about what they’ve done. It means way more. So listen and then share it in their presence.
8. Give them a place to display what they’ve made. For my kids this basement wall is the place. The big wooden frame that is empty has a clip in it that they can rotate things they’ve made. And it’s “framed”.
10. Undirected play time (without screens) helps creativity in children. Think about when you were a kid. And how you created things, games, stories, ect. Often we over schedule our kids and they don’t get a chance to just BE kids and let their minds create. There is a whole book that is great about this.
So what do YOU do to help your children live creatively?