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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fostering creativity in children

Last night Roo and Bear were jumping off our coffee table onto the floor.  My first instinct was to yell "what in the world are you doing jumping off furniture???"  As I was about to "put my foot down," Brayden asked for tape with a grin.  I immediately knew his creative juices were flowing so I decided to break the rules and see what my kiddos were up to.  Together, they grabbed some paper and drew bird wings.  They enlisted daddy's help to tape them to their arms.  What followed was 30 minutes of flyng off the table, flapping their new wings and talking about different types of birds. A creative moment was born!

So how do we help our children have these moments?  Some children are naturally more creative then others, but all children are creative.  Unfortunately our society bombards our little ones with video games, cell phones and other gadgets that promote passive play and hinder their creative juices.  Don't get me wrong, my kids both have Leapsters but it is a battle to limit their Leapster time.  It is easier for me to tend to Beaner when they play their Leapsters.  I have found, without fail, that when I take them away, creative moments appear.

When I was a child, we didn't have all the plastic toys and video games available today.  We made toys out of straws, forts out of hard books and blankets, and superman capes out of blankets.  I have discovered these same skills in my own children when there is nothing to play with.  They make sheep out of socks, stick people out of pencils, and wings out of paper.  We have tried to steer away from comercialized toys for our kids as we have noticed they limit creativity.  The old fashioned Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, and blocks always lead to creative play for my kids.  Finding the balance between their desire for commercialized toys and the need to foster creativity can be difficult for any parent.  I often have to remind myself, they will get over their disappointment and engage in the all important creative play if we as parents provide the right tools and the right examples.  So let's roll up our sleeves, build a fort and unplug those video games!

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