As parents we know that letting our children be creative and use their imagination can promote social cooperation, self confidence, fine motor skills, organization and problem solving. We want to make sure our kids get their weekly dose of creativity through art, music, imaginative play, building, creating, exploring… you name it! In today’s busy world, sometimes you have to schedule time to be creative! And that’s ok, as long as at the end of the day, there was time for it.
As adults we have easily forgotten the importance of creativity and imagination in our own lives. Maybe it starts to feel silly or juvenile. But let me assure you, if you want to stay sane, you need a little room for creativity and imagination. Play is one of the most important tools for learning in the early years of our kids’ lives! Perhaps the most easy and satisfying way to get your dose of creativity is to work on projects that spark creativity with your children.
Do You Make House Calls?
I can see it now. Your hands are clammy and you’re starting to tense up. You’re thinking what a disaster paper-mache is and the fact that the last time you tried to sew something you became a human pin cushion. Well, don’t worry if you’re not Mrs. Crafty Mom, because I’ll let you in on a little secret… neither are we! And when you really think about it, sometimes the projects that turn out the worst make for the best story.
Here are three projects you can easily do with your children without extraneous mess or complication! Once you read the directions, make sure to consider the side-effects ladies because these projects are known to cause creative explosions and lots of giggle!
If we’ve learned anything from Early Engineers, it’s that when children are given the most of simple directions, they end up taking a project to a new level we wouldn’t have even thought of ourselves!
Got some legos at home? How about blocks from an old game of Jenga? Alright, how about sugar cubes? Do you see where we’re going with this? Although I do love a good trip Target, sometimes the idea of just getting the kids into the car makes me reconsider how much I really need a new tube of toothpaste.
So, take any building media you have and give your child a simple task, such as “build the tallest tower you can.” Guide them along as they figure out they need to widen the base to support it when it gets too tall or realize if they turn a block a different direction they can better utilize its length. It’s so much fun and the laughs really start when it inevitably topples! Also, these toys never tire, they can re-use them forever, unlike the “computer” you purchased collecting dust at the bottom of the toy box.
I love SteamyKitchen.com. It is a great site with an awesome attitude. My favorite part is that, Jaden, a mom and creator of the site, often involves her sons in the cooking process. I highly recommend trying her recipe “No Knead Bread: So Easy a 4-Year Old Can Do It!” It not only produces soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, delicious home-made bread, but her four-year-old actually did do it! And you can too, easily, with your bundles of joy at home.
Make your own paint. Face paint, finger paint and edible paint for decorating cookies can all be made easily with ingredients you probably already have at home. All you need is a pack of food coloring!
Edible Paint to use on sugar cookies:
mix ¼ cup of condensed milk with a few drops of food coloring of the desired color.
Face or Body Paint:
mix 1 tablespoon of cold cream, 1 tablespoon of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a few drops of food coloring.
mix ½ cup cornstarch with 2 cups of water and a few drops of food coloring.
Mix your recipe of choice and boil until thickened. Voila!
The best thing about creative, “unplugged” play, is that it eventually allows children to play by themselves, an important tool to help develop independence. Also providing Mom with precious extra minutes to get dinner started, fold the basket of clothes in the corner, take a shower (gasp!) or just sit and watch children play and create using their imagination!
That is it for this month, we look forward to stock piling your creativity tool belt to use every day but especially for those rainy, sick or the super hot summer days!