This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I have always admired crafty folks because they possess a type of creativity I seem to lack. When it comes to arts and crafts, I have far more interest and desire than I do skill or knowledge. I was hoping that with my son, I would have the chance to explore my own craftiness and discover hidden talents in both of us.
I started with the basics, crayons. At this point, Munchkin is more interested in eating the crayons than coloring with them. Inserting and removing them from the container is also a fun game.
|Munchkin is not inspired by crayons|
I also tried non-toxic, washable pens. Decorating his hands and face was far more amusing to him than putting pen to paper.
I decided to skip the finger paints and other drawing/coloring media for now. Oatmeal or yogurt provide similar results, with at least a bit of nutrition!
|Munchkin eating his 'artwork'|
With the Play-Doh Fun Factory, we had some luck. Munchkin liked the mechanical aspect of pressing down on the lever, watching the Play-Doh emerge, balling it up, and then repeating the process. He was deeply focused for a good 20 minutes!
|Insert play-doh, then...|
Then there is creative building and construction. Munchkin is getting more skilled with the Mega Bloks and takes pleasure in stacking them "up, up, up!"
Natural wood blocks are at the top of my list of toys-to-buy-next. Good thing I won the Beka Blocks from the NPN giveaway!
Still, I've been feeling like we're pretty boring in the creativity department. That is, until I began to look for ways that Munchkin is creative on his own, rather than how he is "creative" at an artsy activity I put together for him. For instance, he made a point of showing me how he could line up his cars in a row. Pretty imaginative for a 19 month old who's never been stuck in gridlock traffic!
|Munchkin's car creation|
Munchkin's pièce-de-résistance, however, was an innovative creation so exciting that he ran to get me from the other room.
"Dat! Dat!" he urged me, beckoning me to take his hand and follow him. I let him lead me to his design, something he was immensely excited to show off. He pointed and said, "Wah-oow!"
I exclaimed "Wow! Look what you did! You put the flags on top of your tractor!" He grinned and chuckled with self satisfaction. I was, indeed, quite proud of him. Proud, partly because he had invented a novel "hat" for his tractor. Mostly, I was proud because he had initiated the creation on his own and he displayed unadulterated delight in his own accomplishment. He expressed himself purely.
|Tibetan prayer flags on top of tractor|
I realized then that a sense of fulfillment and the freedom of self expression are what I most want to provide for him when it comes to creativity. I care less about how or what he produces than I do about whether it brings him joy to create, and whether the activity engages him.
Of course, we'll keep working on the arts and crafts. I'll do my best to present him with a variety of opportunities for creativity. At the same time, I'm going to marvel at and encourage the unpredictable, creative ways he finds to be creative...his hidden talents.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Family Draw Time Art Show — Kate Wicker shares art (and inspiration!) from her family's cherished tradition of family draw time.
- The Rules of Creativity: Learning to Create with the "Non-Creative" — Zoe at Give an Earthly shares how she learned to accept her "non-creative" child and claims that anyone, child or adult, can be creative given the right handling and environment.
- Creating With Kids: 4 Ways That Work For Us — See how Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings nurtures creativity with her kids through craft projects, outdoor creative play, celebrating the creative process, and setting up "little spaces of beauty."
- Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how 'creating together' has evolved from 'things' to memories.
- The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is already thinking about winter.
- Hidden Talents — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how providing the opportunity for creativity sometimes means learning to look for hidden talents in unusual places.
- Creating Joy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she and her one year-old son create joy for their community.
- How to do Crafts with Kids — Gaby from Tmuffin guest posts at Natural Parents Network and describes how to keep things simple when doing crafts with kids for magical (easy-to-clean, and tantrum-free) results.
- Sugar & Spice & Baking on the Kitchen Floor — Carrie at Love Notes Mama enjoys making a mess in the kitchen with her daughter.
- Young Scientist Makes Purple Potion — Hannah at Wild Parenting loves being a lab assistant for the young scientist in her life.
- Making a butterfly house — Lauren at Hobo Mama demonstrates the proper way to build a wooden butterfly house with a preschooler.
- Nurturing Creativity — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares the enjoyment she feels in nurturing the creativity of her children.
- Home School Music - Sparking A New Generation Of Musicians — Based on her musical background, Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she creates with and teaches music to her children.
- Creating (im)perfectly Together — Mudpiemama shares some of the highlights of a summer spent building everything from ships to hoops but most of a lesson on letting go of perfection.
- Family Soccer Kick Around — When her children wanted to play soccer, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children helped organize something that would work for her family.
- Creating Memories Together on Skype — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how you can create memories online with adult children or anyone who lives in another city or country.
- We'll always have Halloween: Creating costumes for kids — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is not the craftiest mom on the block, but she does make a mean homemade Halloween costume.
- Let's Make Juice! — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment shares about the benefits of juicing with kids, as well as a quick recipe.
- Everything's Better When It's Homemade — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro praises the art of homemade goods.
- Creating the Opportunity for Art — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how her family has created an environment conducive to art.
- 10 Easy and Functional Crafts Preschoolers Can Do with Minimal Assistance — Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers ten easy crafts preschoolers can do while sitting near parents — but they don't need a lot of parental help. Added bonus: all of these ten ideas double as something functional (gifts, decor, educational).
- Creating with Kids: Singing Together — Ana at Pandamoly details the important role music takes in her household and provides a quick (and easy!) tutorial for creating fun songs to sing together!
- Create This — jessica at instead of institutions considers different aspects of creativity including those without an end product.
- Make Your Own Pocket Bib — A tutorial from Amy at Anktangle on how to make two simple and quick bibs to keep your little one clean at the table.
- Creating Together in the Kitchen — Despite not feeling "crafty," Momma Jorje finds a way to create and connect with her toddler.
- An Artist-Mama's Perspective — In this post, Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the differences between her choice of artistic outlet and her son's, and how they embrace those differences together.
- Heart of the Home — Jona at Life, Intertwined shares some highlights of cooking with kids.
- Getting creative with kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how much she enjoys watching her daughter getting creative.
- Creating with Children - The Nature/Seasonal Table — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama celebrates the rhythm of the natural world with her toddler through the creation of a seasonal nature table.
- How Involving My Kid Saves My Sanity — The Happy Hippie Homemaker explains how involving her toddler in projects allows her to get more done, while providing valuable opportunities to teach and to bond (added bonus: amazing oatmeal raisin cookie recipe!).
- In the Kitchen with Kids — Cooking with Real and Pretend Food — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle engages her kids in the kitchen with culinary creations of both real and pretend food.