Imagination: Where the Wild Things Are.

Just look how creative the kids are when stimulated by interesting materials! And the best thing is… that we all have these in our homes or right outside of them. But… how do you present different materials to make creativity soar? Should you involve your kids in gathering them? What materials “go together”? I composed a few tips and suggestions below.

Involve or not involve?

It’s a good idea to involve kids in gathering materials. Scavenger hunt either outside or inside could be a lot of fun. On the other hand, sometimes you might want to surprise them with objects you prepared for them (“Look what I got for you!”) In this case, if children feel like having additional materials, definitely allow them add or replace whatever they like.

Collect some stuff.
  • Collect some recyclable items, but go beyond toilet paper tubes and eggs cartons. Nowadays packaging comes in amazing variety of shapes and colors. Save some interesting ones.
  • Consider saving scraps of construction paper from previous crafts: scraps have interesting shapes that inspire new ideas.
  • Holidays and birthdays often leave wrapping and tissue paper as well as ribbons. They could be fun to use in combination with other materials.
  • Plastics bottles, cups, yogurt tubs, and candy box inserts (cavities) could serve as a spring board for your child’s imagination.
  • Collect small items like beads, buttons, bread clips, bag ties, etc. Toss them into mix too!

Make it interesting.

  • Present combination of different types of materials: natural and recyclable, cardboard and play dough, plastic and tissue paper.
  • Use more than one type of paper: cardboard, tissue, foil, napkin, parchment, newspaper, etc.
  • Suggest adding stickers, magazine cutouts, and store bought materials (if already in a house), like pom-poms and pipe cleaners.
  • Encourage different ways of using paper: tearing, crumpling, twisting, shaping, etc.
  • Let your child know that anything goes: it’s his art!
What goes with what?

I like to organize items by the way they connect:

  • natural materials and small plastic could be easily inserted into play dough or clay
  • tissue paper could be glued to smooth plastic containers
  • leaves, grass, and flowers are easily glued or attached with scotch tape to cardboard and plastic.

Dos and Don’ts.

Do let your child use her own ideas EVEN if you can’t appreciate them. Do help (if asked) to cut or squeeze (the glue.)

Don’t tell your child what to add or change. If you really want to make a craft, just make your own!

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