Smiling like Sunshine: Getting creative with kids

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Getting creative with kids

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
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.

One of the most enjoyable moments of parenting for me is getting creative with my children. My son is still too young yet, but my daughter is 4 1/2 years old now so we enjoy getting creative together.
For me, the important thing is enjoying it with my daughter. It's all about the process, not the result. If the result turns out beautiful, great!
My daughter loves "making things" so we "make" a lot of things. Sometimes I plan some craft activities, sometimes it's spontaneous. Sometimes I just lay the table for her and she decides what to make with those materials.
Some days she does not like what I offer and will create a completely different thing.
Some days she loves what I offer and makes the same thing again and again.
I love it the most when she has an idea during the process and takes the craft/activity a step further.
Some days she will only use pink, some days everything needs some a lot of glitter, some days everything needs to be taped somewhere.
Sometimes, when she gets frustrated I offer to get out supplies for or drawing. It works wonders to calm a child! Mind you I never draw things for her. It interferes with my instinct to let a child find herself. Children go through developmental stages in drawing. So it is better to let them express themselves without "coaching" or showing them how to draw a house.  One important thing I learnt from the famous book Young at Art by Susan Striker.
I like to think my role as a facilitator. I love to offer her new materials that will spark her imagination, not necessarily expensive or store-bought things. Everyday items from home, to encourage her to change the way we think about art-making.
I love watching her when she is really enjoying what she is doing and the proud look on her face when she is finished.
How do you get creative with your children?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. I'll have to check out that book. I feel uneasy about doing art for Mikko for the same reason — fear that I'll interfere with his own enjoyment and progress. When I do draw something for him or color along, I try not to do it as competently as I might otherwise try, so that we're more evenly matched and he sees there's not a standard of perfection. I don't know if that helps or not, but it makes me feel better. :)

  2. The part about offering your daughter painting or drawing instead of something frustrating resonated with me - Kieran gets easily frustrated with many crafty projects sometimes, so I have learned to be really flexible with whatever supplies we pull out.

  3. 'somedays she will use only pink' I love the sound of this and how her creative process changes each time. My 3 yo is just getting in to using colouring pencils and enjoys paints but I have yet to see her make definite choices in her selections yet. She usually just uses whatever is there.

    Question - what do you do with your younger child when she is getting creative? My younger son is 22mo so is at the stage that he needs to be involved but it always gets VERY messy!

  4. I sincerely hope I get to a place where I do this with my daughter! (and son-to-be) I love the idea of just laying out a bunch of stuff and letting the kids run with it!

  5. I love the idea of being the facilitator for kids' creativity! It's so easy for them to be influenced by others, especially at this age... My daughter recently started drawing basic (boring) stick figures instead of the uniquely fabulous people she used to draw - she learned how from one of the aides at preschool. Makes me sad, a bit, to lose that little bit of her creativity.

  6. I admire your ability to refrain from coaching your daughter. I always want to join in creative activities (it's fun!), so it's hard to resist the urge. But, like you say, it's important to let them lead the way.

  7. Being a facilitor is so key and I love that you made that point! So many parents feel like they have to instruct their children in regards to how to properly "do" art. Not so. I leave my daughter to her own exploration of the materials I provide. Sometimes she wants me to create along with her, sometimes she wants to b left alone and other times she wants me to do it all! Ha!

    Sometimes I get bogged down in the idea that my toddler "needs" a specific project but your post is a good reminder that keeping things age appropriate is important. Letting kids have at it really is the way to go!

    Thanks mama!

  8. Thanks for all the lovely comments.
    Terri-My son's attention span is too short yet plus he's not that interested.I generally play with him while D. does a painting or another craft activity. Sometimes he also draws/paints but only for about 5 minutes ;)

  9. I really hear you on this; it is SO important not to influence, but to offer... Thanks for the reminder


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