13 ways to build creativity in your children

Don’t Pressure Your Kids to Live Out Your Dreams

Don't Pressure Your Kids to Live Out Your Dreams | I get it, you've got big dreams for your kids... but there's a possibility they don't share those dreams... what to do?

On a 13 on Thursday post, I created a list of 13 ways to build creativity in your children, and decided that it would make for a great series! This is the 3rd post, based on the 3rd item on the list (creating an art box). Click here to see all of them!

It happens to the best of us, but this one is huge. It starts with a dream you had as a child, or young adult… a dream that never came to fruition. And maybe it’s legitimately too late for you to pursue it (can’t be a child prodigy past a certain age), or maybe society has told you that you shouldn’t pursue it (guess how many artists have been told that?!)… but either way, you’ve given up.

But then you had a kid (or 5!)…

And suddenly a spark of hope returns. You couldn’t be a world class athlete/child prodigy/famous singer/dancer in the New York City Ballet… but your kid could! Right?

Maybe.

But if they do, it should be their choice right? 

Lest you think I’m just picking on you, I’m so guilty of this too… I sing. A lot. I’ve sang for charity functions, I’ve sang on the radio, I’ve sang for my church… I even tried to record a demo once, but as it turns out singing with wood dust in the air vents isn’t easy. Note to self: Don’t record when the studio has been under the construction…

Anyway… I sing. So naturally, I assumed that all of my offspring would not only be musically inclined, but incredibly gifted (because your kids are supposed to be even better than you!). Not so much. At least at the moment. While there’s plenty of time for something to develop, one of my children is frequently so off-key I wonder if she’s heard the same song we did. And that may change later… or it may never change. And that’s okay.

But it took time for me to come to that realization… I was super aggravated that I couldn’t get her to sing the tune correctly, or clap on beat, or anything. But the fact is, if that’s not her gifting, her gifting lies elsewhere, and by focusing on that skill set, I’m potentially robbing her of her true greatness, and I don’t want that to be my legacy.

So hang in there… your kids may not be doing the things you wanted to do when you were a kid, but that just means they have their own special place in the world. And you, yes you have the very special honor of helping them find out what that is.

Create An Art Box

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On a 13 on Thursday post, I created a list of 13 ways to build creativity in your children, and decided that it would make for a great series! This is the 2nd post, based on the 2nd item on the list (creating an art box). Click here to see all of them!

When I was a kid, my Mom made it super easy to create a variety of art projects at almost a moment’s notice. It wasn’t fancy, and sometimes you had to dig for a moment to find what you were looking for, but that was half the fun because it was a treasure hunt! In the process, you might find something you forgot was in there, that would be a really cool addition to the project.

The secret? A box full of supplies… it’s been many years, but here are a few of the items I remember…

  • Construction paper (we could always grab white copy paper from the box under the printer too)
  • Tempera paint (a few rather large bottles, if I recall)
  • Glue (stick, liquid, glitter)
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pom poms (in a variety of colors and sizes)
  • Glitter (larger cylinders in a few colors)
  • Scissors (regular, and with fun edges)

I’m sure there were more things, and it changed a bit from time to time. In addition we always had crayons, and colored pencils… for many years, I could always tell what one of my gifts was… several of us would have the same box, that had a tell-tale thumpy-rattle when shaken ever so slightly.

I very firmly feel like this was a strong foundation for my life of creative pursuits. Not only was I surrounded by innately creative people, but I was given room to pursue my own ideas… and the art box gave me a range of mediums to play with.

If you don’t have time to put one together yourself, or you want a variety coming in, you can sign up for a subscription box (and I’ll include a list of some of the ones I know about at the end… although I’ve not tested any of them myself).

But you can easily make one yourself filled with supplies from Oriental Trading, Amazon, or your favorite craft store. Sometimes you can find supplies at flea markets, thrift stores, or Craigslist. But you can also get a pretty decent head start from your local dollar store.

Here are some great ideas for your box (in addition to what I mentioned up there)… of course your mileage will vary depending on the age of your child (but limit things for safety reasons, not necessarily by what their skill level is…)

  •  Tape – Scotch tape was kept on my Mom’s desk, and washi wasn’t even a “thing” back then. But it is nooooow.
  • Sequins, buttons, etc. – I’d put these in individual containers or baggies… something so they’re not loose all over the box
  • Stickers – If your kids are like mine, the trick will be keeping them away from your kids long enough to be put in the box.
  • Stamps/stamp pads
  • Yarn – I crochet, and I’m picky about what yarn I use, so if I’m gifted yarn and it’s not anything I’d hook with, it goes here.
  • Hole punch – Craft stores have all sorts of fun punches these days (and paper edge punches too!)
  • Aprons/oversized t-shirts for use as smocks
  • Googly eyes – these make everything awesome right? 😀

Of course there are many more things you can pop in these boxes… you’re only limited by your imagination (and your budget). If you’re more interested in subscription boxes, here’s that list for you:

Toucan Box (ages 3-8)

Kiwi Crate (ages 5-8)

Darby Girl (tweens)

Darby Smart (teens/adults)

Creative Art Box (teens/adults)

 

What are your must-haves for an art box? Have you done this for your kids yet?

Don’t Put Unnecessary Limitations On Your Children

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On a 13 on Thursday post, I created a list of 13 ways to build creativity in your children, and decided that it would make for a great series! So this is the 1st post, based on the first item on the list (not placing unnecessary limitations on your children)… next will be the 2nd item, and so on. Enjoy!

Recently I saw a post about a sustainable plastic wrap alternative, made from beeswax… cool huh? Having never run into this sort of product, I started reading the comments to see if anyone had used it/liked it (they had!)… but then I found a comment that stopped me in my tracks.

People were posting their non-traditional uses for this Bee’s Wrap, and one lady said that her 6 year old son (who has some kind of condition that affects his coordination) uses the wrap to stabilize his knife when he’s helping her cut vegetables for dinner.

Most of the responses were encouraging, but there was one lady who replied in horror that this woman would allow her son to use a knife, because children shouldn’t be in the kitchen helping at that age.

Stop right there. (Generalizations ahead, not applying to all persons… just a very, very, large number.)

Did you know that we have an entire generation that doesn’t know how to balance their own budget, because no one’s ever taught them to manage money?

We have a generation that doesn’t know how to cook, because they’ve grown up on pre-packaged, microwaved, or fast food.

We have a generation that doesn’t know how to make a bed, do laundry, or even hold a civil conversation. 

We have adults, who are ill-prepared for being adults, to the point that books are being written to teach someone how to be an adult. And why? Because we’ve created a culture that enables this mentality. No one loses games…. everyone gets a trophy! Children can’t play in their backyard, without nasty neighbors calling social services to claim neglect. No one’s precious little angels are held accountable in school… blame the teachers! And it goes on and on.

Let’s travel back in time about 200 years…

Children had chores… and they didn’t even get an allowance. Shockingly, they were expected to do chores as a member of the family.

They collected eggs.

They milked cows (or goats).

They helped in the garden.

They sewed. (Psssst… they weren’t using “safety needles”)

Children as young as 6 were learning to knit, and those too young to knit were carding wool.

And you don’t even have to go back 200 years to see this… click here to see a picture of Shirley Temple knitting as a young girl… I have friends who have farms, and children still collect eggs, and milk cows, and such.

So you may be curious what this has to do with creativity…

This woman was shocked that someone would allow their less-able child to learn to cook, when she wouldn’t allow her fully-able children to help her in the kitchen. But that’s not a limitation of the child’s skill… it’s a limitation that she arbitrarily placed on them. 

Can every child help at that age? No… Should they cook unsupervised at that age? No…

But is it true that no child can help at that age? Certainly not. The very best training happens at a young age, and it starts with attitude. Teach them that the worst boundaries they ever encounter, will be the ones they allow to be placed on them.