Cultivating Creativity in Children


dollhouse

It has been snowing like crazy around here. After I pick Mina up at school these days, we end up at home, pretty much snowbound. The time at home soon turns into something creative to pass the afternoon together. Mina, through observation, is a very creative child. Sometimes, it is even hard for me, a creative project oriented mom, to release control and allow her the space to create. When she has a project in mind, I have to take a step back, breathe in, release how I would create it and ask her how she would create it. My initial apprehension about embarking on a proposed project is because I am going through all the ways I would do it. It is more complicated, more supplies, more time than I am willing to devote to it at that very moment.

Taking a step back and asking: That seems like an interesting idea. What does that look like to you?, allows Mina to explain her own vision and usually it is not as complicated or time consuming as I had originally imagined. The other day she came to me with a proposed Dollhouse project out of my pots and pans box interior cardboard pieces. To say I was overwhelmed at the idea of making a dollhouse from those pieces is an understatement. However, once she explained what she wanted to do and how I could help her, I could see her idea take shape in a more manageable way. While I wrote a blog, she designed her house and created curtains and decorations from my old fabric scraps and glue. What she needed from me was to sew a ribbon on her curtain and hang it on the side and to help glue a circular red sky light. She had tried herself to cut a circle and glue, but realized she needed help. I liked that she was proactive in the creation process and implementation as well as trying first before asking someone else to do it.

Taking the creative process “out of the box” literally and figuratively, she created a sky sofa, circular doors and windows.

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I love that she is so comfortable expressing herself and has the freedom to stretch her brain in all sorts of directions. As an Artsy mom, it is hard for me to see creativity squashed in children because it is not the way the adult sees it being done. She was so proud of her dollhouse, she explained it all to Allegra on the way to dance class yesterday. Allegra, wide eyed, looked at me and asked “Please, When I have alone time with you, will you spend time and make a dollhouse with me too???” She had such a thirst for that creative process. I loved that she is getting comfortable with knowing her needs and knows that I will provided it for her with as much love and devotion as I would for Mina.

Having the capacity to see and figure out other ways to do things will only help them be problem solvers and less confined in the future. How can we, as adults and parents, take ourselves out of the end result of what we deem acceptable, appropriate, the “norm”, and allow our children to explore their imagination? How can we stop micro-managing their art to make it always “pretty” and “perfect”? When I ran children’s workshops at the local bookstore, it was hard for me to see the helicopter parents always hovering over the child, instructing him or her the better way to do it, not allowing for the natural unfolding of the process. How will our children every learn if we don’t allow them to try and fail at their projects? We are parents who are guides and teachers for our children. How are we helping them to grow into self-confident, proactive, risk takers when we are always “fixing” their art projects among other aspects of their lives.

If we always catch them when they fall, how will they ever learn to grow their own wings and learn to soar through the sky on their own?

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