CREATIVITY TOOL # 5: CRAFTS *
All crafts have potential for creativity, especially if children are allowed to add their own ideas. Even store-bought craft kits can become original creations if your child is inclined to go beyond what kits have to offer. If you would like to nurture her imagination through crafts even further, consider a few following ideas.
It’s all about materials
Encourage creativity by offering variety of materials. There is no rule here. As long as they could be attached (glued, connected, inserted, etc.) somehow, they could be combined. Remember: using materials in a unusual ways is both fascinating and creative. And thinking of how to make them work together is problem solving too!
How do you connect many different materials? With young kids I prefer to use basic stuff, like glue, scotch tape, duct tape (or colorful duck tape), playdough, and modeling clay. That’s right, I like using modeling clay for connecting parts and decorating plastic and cardboard. It’s a little harder than playdough, but it never dries up (unlike playdough), could be reused, and sticks to different materials. Multiple things, like beads, sequins, and natural materials could be inserted in it too.
Using Recycling Materials
I LOVE using recycling materials. Call me weird, but when I look at some plastic and cardboard containers, lids, hangers, candy trays, and other recycling materials, I see possibilities for creating toy vases, masks, bird nests, and buildings. And when I brought recycling materials to my students, they saw their own amazing creations in them too!
Make Them Active Participants
I often see parents’ tendency to create things, like simple toys, play scenes, or cardboard houses for their kids rather than with their kids. I’m not sure if this happens because parents strive for perfection or enjoy creating themselves. I, personally, don’t see any reason, why these kinds of simple projects can’t be made together with kids.
Yes, they won’t look perfect, but there will be great opportunities for adult’s and child’s collaboration and inventiveness. Just trust your kids!
Also, make them active participants in collecting materials for future craft. Of course, you can go on scavenger hunt for natural materials. But you can also do the scavenger hunt at home. Look together in a kitchen for drinking straws, plastic bottles and yogurt containers, lids in all shapes and sizes, etc. Look through the old clothes and cut off some buttons. Check out cardboard boxes, packaging materials, wrapping and tissue paper, magazines’ and greeting cards’ cutouts. Don’t forget broken or unused jewelry. Voila! You have a great mix of materials for many different crafts.
Joseph and His Little Overcoat
I discovered this book only recently and immediately fell in love with it. This is not a craft book, but a fun story about a very creative man. It also carries an important message:
It’s true that Joseph’s creativity was driven by necessity. His ability to make a new thing out of original one, however, is not just an essence of repurposing, but also is essential quality of creativity.
As you gather stuff throughout the house, ask your child, “What this container looks like (reminds you off, can be used for in your craft?)” When she sits down to make her craft, ask her, “How can you use these buttons in your craft?”
Make Connections With Fine Art and Classical Music
I love to pair painting (or drawing) with classical music. Here are few steps you can follow to give it a try:
- Listen with your child to classical music, watch a YouTube performance or some segments from favorite ballets.
- Talk to your child about their experience
- Set up drawing or painting activities while playing the music she enjoyed.
Here are some of my favorite pieces to play for this activity:
Fine art is an amazing source of inspiration for young imaginative minds. Any painting , sculpture, and even architecture can lead to an interesting discussion followed by an art project. Need some help? I bet you can find plenty of projects online. In my earlier blogs, I introduced many children’s books that can help with ideas too. One thing to keep in mind, though, is your goal: do you want your child to copy an art project, to create a neat art project, or just let her be guided by her own imagination? The choice is yours.
*Click here for my other CREATIVITY TOOLS
All my classes have crafts embedded into them. Here are some examples. Click on each image to see a short movie.