The #1 material of choice in our house…

Top 3 reasons tape is awesome for kids!  http://keepingcreativityalive.com

It’s fascinating, really, discovering what children will do with materials when left to their own devices. The other day, for example, as we were preparing dinner V ran through the kitchen with wings taped to her arms declaring ‘I can fly! I can fly!’ Which led me to think ‘wow.. all kids really need is their imaginations… and TAPE!?’

So here it is, the Top 3 reasons tape is awesome for kids:

  1. It’s accessible. Get a roll of tape and a dispenser and they’re off! (The dispenser is key for breaking off pieces of tape with reduced frustration, not to mention avoiding the challenge of having to find the end!)
  2. It’s not as messy as glue. ‘Nough said.
  3. It’s an instant adhesive – no dry time! Make sure to teach them the roll tape trick!

This then led me to think of all the other times tape was the #1 material of choice and…

Ten reasons kids love tape!  http://keepingcreativityalive.com

Our top 10 uses for tape:

  1. You can tape tissue to your arms and have instant wings!
  2. You can FIX ANYTHING. 10 reasons kids love tape!  http://keepingcreativityalive.comAs I was taking this photo.. V says “That thing used to be broken but I fixed it.” Ha! LOL
  3. You can stick things on the wall. 10 reasons kids love tape!  http://keepingcreativityalive.com
  4. You can create your own art gallery.10 reasons kids love tape!  http://keepingcreativityalive.com
  5. You can make stuff stick together instantly when glue doesn’t work.
  6. You can make diamond rings!10 reasons kids love tape!  http://keepingcreativityalive.com
  7. You can make crafts in an instant.
  8. YOu can tape a tail to your bottom (or your sister’s bottom) and pretend your an animal of your choice. 10 reasons kids love tape!  http://keepingcreativityalive.com
  9. You can tape signs to your door – or anywhere really to get a message out there, or for when the tooth fairy forgets!
  10. Your ideas here!!

Do your children love tape? Please tell me your kids do crazy things with tape too!?  Please do share in the comments!

What would you do… Part 2

Today’s Super Soul Sunday’s Big Question: “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” is a timely follow up to my post last week where I left off asking “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Oprah interviews Brené Brown, research professor who has “spent the last ten years studying vulnerability, courage, shame, and authenticity.” (Part one aired today, part two comes out next week.) You can see part of part one here. I only got to see the first bit this morning where she talked about perfectionism (guilty for that here!) and authenticity before my toddler spilt the smoothy concoction (that my five year old made her) all over her hair!

If you’re not one of the 8 million people that have seen Brené’s Ted talk, you can watch it here:

I love Brene Brown and since I love Manifestos, I have to share her Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto here.

DaringGreatly-ParentingManifesto-light-8x10-1

You can download a free 8×10 poster on her website. Check out the Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto as well!

You can also follow her on Facebook. I’m in admiration of her and the important work she is doing and sharing. She’s one of those people you just can’t help being so happy for!

Field Trip : Hamilton Children’s Museum

Children's Museum - http://keepingcreativityalive.com

Inspired by the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco, we decided to check out our local Children’s Museum! Totally on a different scale and calibre but overall I’d have to say that our outing was successful.

Children's Museum - http://keepingcreativityalive.com

The kids were engaged…

Children's Museum - http://keepingcreativityalive.com

They observed…

Children's Museum - http://keepingcreativityalive.com

They collaborated…

Children's Museum - http://keepingcreativityalive.com

They created…

Children's Museum - http://keepingcreativityalive.com

And they practiced critical thinking…

Children's Museum - http://keepingcreativityalive.com

My take away from our experience is that overall it’s a fun place to visit. It has also inspired me to further establish mini creative areas in our home to inspire collaboration, creativity, critical thinking. How cool would it be to have a felt wall at home?!

Have you been to a Children’s Museum? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

The Association of Children’s Museum’s lists Children’s Museums Around the World and in The United States.

Video: The Importance of Creativity

The Importance of Creativity is a video that speaks to my passion for nurturing creativity in children:

Our children need key 21st century skills like the four C’s of COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION, CREATIVITY and CRITICAL THINKING.

Oh how I wish there was a Children’s Creativity Museum close to me like this museum that’s in San Francisco! Truly an inspirational place, this museum features an animation studio, a community lab, a design studio, imagination lab, innovation lab, music studio, and spiral gallery which is currently showcasing an exhibit called: The World Through the Eyes of Children. How beautiful would that be? It’s an exhibition showcasing over 100 pieces of art work created by children from around the world that “aims to promote insight and understanding of children and youth art and culture from various parts of the world.” Oh, how I wish I could attend this museum on a weekly basis!

Video Screenshot: The Importance of Creativity

Every time I visit their website and blog I’m full of inspirational ideas to create and make and innovate! Forget the kids, I want to make stuff! 😉  Just kidding, (well, not really) but I have a few ideas for March Break projects…

 

Don’t correct! …Oops, did I just correct you?

FRAJIL sign, Building confidence in kids, http://keepingcreativityalive.com

Like all parents in this world, I’m learning as I go along. In the early days of my first child’s craft projects I’d hover over her making sure that she did as she was ‘supposed to’.. putting the marshmallows on the lines just so and making sure the eyes went in the ‘right’ place. I’ve long tossed that approach out the window in favour for not just creativity’s sake but for the sake of confidence building.

Early on I realized that when I interfered or corrected, I was taking the joy out of the experience. A shift would occur in my child in which she would immediately lose interest. She’d give up her power and didn’t want to play anymore. She felt like she must have been doing it wrong, or worse couldn’t do it at all and didn’t want to even try. Think about when you are trying something for the first time and struggle a bit. If you had someone standing over your shoulder ready to intervene you’d probably lose your focus and motivation too. I know I would.

That’s why today I make every effort to stand back and observe. I resist the urge to assist by taking joy in watching discovery unfold.

The FRAJIL photo above.. let me tell you how that came to be… V’s aunt, a trained Montessori teacher (and Masters in Montessori Grad!) was over for a visit. Violet takes great joy in giving people gifts and especially to those she have an extra special place in her heart for, like Katie. Violet created a gift for Katie using the play dough we made the day before. To be honest, I can’t remember what it was.. I’m not sure I even got to see it before it went into this envelope. In fact, knowing V it was probably meant as a surprise for Katie to open when she got home! V sealed the envelope but made sure to announce to Katie: “you have to be very careful with this!”

I was only half listening at the time, but I think I piped up and said “You should put a sign on it that says FRAGILE.” V immediately ran over to her Art Station to grab a marker (looks like we need new markers!) and asked how do you spell FRAGILE? Katie, being the amazing teacher that she is, started sounding it out “FFFFF.” Violet listened carefully then put her head down to write the letter associated with each sound one after the next. Once she was done she proudly put her marker away and handed the gift to Katie who now had the reminder to be careful with her FRAJIL gift.

We, adults, sort of smiled at one another feeling proud of V’s interest and motivation to write. Without Katie in our lives I’m pretty sure I would have corrected V in the spelling of FRAGILE but I’m so glad that’s not the case. Being right about the spelling is so much less important than building the confidence in trying and sustaining the interest to learn. The correct spelling will come.

Play Dough Creations!

Play-Doh Original Canister

If you make it they will come. And who knows what they will make out of it!? The “it” in this case is play dough and “they” are children!

Play dough is fun. It’s easy. It’s open ended. It’s for all ages. It’s therapeutic. It exercises the imagination. It practices fine motor skills. It feels good on the hands!

I have to admit that I have a nostalgic connection to store bought Play Doh. The smell alone brings me back to my childhood but I’ve been getting tired of seeing it dry out as the little containers are just not designed for little hands. Perhaps that was intentional.. so that they’d need adult assistance to open! They just don’t seem to get closed again!

In any case, I decided to finally look up some homemade play dough recipes and make our own. There are certainly no shortage of recipes found online! I went with DIY PLAYDOUGH found over at Modern Parents Messy Kids. The photos on this DIY post are fantastic and I thought the Jell-O ingredient was sort of interesting.

DIY Play Dough

The result was perfectly smooth and squishy dough with a nice fruity scent! It was actually quite easy to make apart from a little arm muscle action required to constantly stir the goop that eventually formed into a nice clump of dough.

Homemade Play Dough, http://keepingcreativityalive.com

We made two colours: blue and yellow. A little while later my five year old independently came up with her creation…

Homemade Play Dough Bird Mermaid, http://keepingcreativityalive.com

Watching the magic happen, ie. what children do with the dough, is like getting a glimpse into their little minds.

 

Homemade Play Dough Bird Mermaid, http://keepingcreativityalive.com

A bird – mermaid!

A day later another artistic project was underway. This time inspired by Monet. Yes, you read that right, Claude Monet. The night before we had read Katie Meets The Impressionists (worthy of a blog post of it’s own) which includes the work of Claude Monet. While at the library we picked up a children’s book about Monet that describes the large area of colourful brush strokes in his art. This is the page that undoubtedly inspired her next creation:

Claude Monet Book explanation of Impressionist Art

This is what she made:

Homemade Play Dough Art, http://keepingcreativityalive.com

How umm.. unique! Before I could say “tell me about this,” Violet announced “This is a gift for you Mommy!  It’s a globe in the style of Claude Monet. If you stand back it looks like the world.” – Brilliant!

For step by step directions on how to make the play dough, visit Modern Parents Messy Kids.

If you’re already familiar with the play dough making process, these are the ingredients you will need:

  • white flour – 1 cup
  • warm water – 1 cup
  • salt – 2 tbsp
  • cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
  • cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • Jello – 1 3oz pack

Have fun and please share your little artists’ creations! What do your children like to do or make with play dough?