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Introducing… The ‘Book of Ideas’ Project!

The Book of Ideas Project

The ‘Book of Ideas’ Project gives kids an outlet for their ideas, encourages new thinking and establishes a meaningful creative practice for kids.

What exactly is a ‘Book of Ideas’?

A ‘Book of Ideas’ is a way for children to express their interests, curiosities and explorations of any topic of their choosing using whatever materials they would like.

So far we have seen Idea Books with story ideas for the goal of publication, song writing ideas for piano playing, a journal capturing trip events, drawing books, comic books and even a book on how to get ideas!

An Idea Book can be about anything! Science experiment documentation, song lyrics, outlines for a play, stories… etc.

There are no rules only 3 single guidelines:

  1. Write and/or draw your ideas.
  2. No idea is too crazy.
  3. Have fun!

In fact, it doesn’t even need to be a book! These boys decided to use large poser paper to write the backstory to their play using Post-It notes to hide secret messages!

Idea Book Example

What inspired The ‘Book of Ideas’ Project?

This project was inspired by a series of events that happened within a couple of days of one another while also researching the work of Internationally renowned expert in the area of Talent Development, Sally M. Reis.

First, a bit about the first even that inspired this project! About a week ago I saw this post on my Facebook feed…

The Book of Ideas inspiration

… with the following caption:

“What did you do at school today?”

“Well Mom, I decided to create a big book of my ideas. As I come up with new ideas, I am going to write about them and add them to my book”.

This seriously warmed my heart! I though about this that entire day… I wondered…

“What if all children got into the habit of recording their interests? Hmm…”

Then, the very next day another friend posted this link to Facebook: How to raise kids to be creative thinkers, with the following caption:

“Your job as a parent is not to say, ‘Tell me what you want to be when you grow up.’ Instead, be aware of what they gravitate to, and encourage them to do more of it. Pay attention to what sparks them.”

I watched the video and was further inspired by the notion of truly observing your child’s interests and supporting them. In her video and in the TED.com interview, Jane Andraka was asked to talk about why she encouraged her sons to keep “idea books”:

It was all Luke’s fault. He generated so many ideas that he was making himself anxious. Was he ever going to be able to accomplish these ideas? Was he even going to be able to remember all these ideas? And I said, “Here’s a dollar journal. Why don’t you just start writing.” He would sketch and then go, “But I don’t know how to do that.” And I’d say, “That’s fine. Get the idea down and then, as you learn more, you can reflect back.”

All the while, I have been researching the work of Sally Reis and reading her book (written with Joseph Renzulli and Andrea Thompson), called Light Up Your Child’s  Mind: Finding a Unique Pathway to Happiness and Success. A book about cultivating the unique talents and strengths of every child.

Light Up Your Child's Mind Book

Strategies for developing your child’s gifts and talents are provided in the book. One strategy that stood out to me was putting together ‘Progress Portfolios’: a simple system to record achievements, tangible proof that something is happening and progress is actually being made. They call this the Total Talent Portfolio, a living breathing collection that takes shape gradually. They also discuss an at-home adaption where the focus is on creative learning projects that the child has embarked on and is interested in continuing to investigate! The parent is referred to as the ‘guide-on-the-side’ to help support and assist their child in this discovery progress. It’s a beautiful thing, really.

Why keep a ‘Book of Ideas’?

A ‘Book of Ideas’ is:

  • an outlet for ideas
  • encouraged NEW thinking
  • establishes an idea system creativity practice

Plus:

  • It’s fun!
  • It allows parents a glimpse into the minds of their children, including curiosities and interests. What are they passionate about? What sparks them?
  • It provides kids record keeping of their questions and ideas for further investigation.
  • It allows you to monitor your child’s progress and your child to monitor their own progress.

We hope you’ll join us by encouraging the little people in your life to keep a Book of Ideas! For more information and to see the celebration o idea books shared, visit our ‘Book of Ideas’ Project page!

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?