Several times a day, my daughter asks me, “can we do an art project?” so we end up spending a lot of time with paints, glitter and glue. But I noticed that while Peeper dove into creating each masterpiece without worrying about what it would be or how it would turn out, I hung back.
I didn’t know what to make. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t feel moved to get creative with my kids.
When it came to arts and crafts with my daughter, I was fresh out of ideas.
Sound familiar? If you need a gentle nudge toward trying on a child’s uninhibited inspiration, too, here are some ideas to get creative with your kids—even if you’re not an artist.
Just about every parent, auntie, uncle and friend has bought a present, watched a child tear through the wrapping paper and waited as she uncovered the gift you so thoughtfully chose for her—then scratched your head as she ignored the toy to play with the cardboard box it came in. The preference can be baffling, but it’s also enchanting: Kids can make playing with a cardboard box the highlight of their day.
You can give a kid a box and let their imaginations run wild—and you can jumpstart the fun with these cardboard box activity prompts.
For anyone reading this blog, it should be no surprise that Peeper loves her some art. Most of her hands-on time is very open-ended: I set her up with some paper and crayons or a paper plate full of paint, then let her go wild. (And by wild, I mostly mean speckled green, black and orange in art supplies.)
It turns out that free-spirited approach to crafts is good for kids’ creativity. “Process art is more important than end product,” writes Rachelle Doorley, artist and author of Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors, on her blog. And focusing too much on what kids make, and especially what projects are meant to look like, is stifling.
Doorley also polled a whole slew of educators, artists and parents on what they wished they’d known about kids’ art and rolled it up into a fantastic blog post. Just about everyone agreed that art is all about the doing—not what gets done. Read more →