Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Allowing creativity to flourish

Last week, the kids and I headed to the library for our twice monthly library visit. As I was looking over the section of biographies written for children (an excellent section, I might add), the boys asked me to help them find the crafts section in the children's department.

Once I pointed them to the correct bookshelf, they choose a few books each to look over. This is our standard routine: they choose some books, look them over and add them to my "to-be-checked-out" pile. I look through them briefly to be sure there isn't anything that conflicts with our morals and values.

Once they had the craft books out, they sat together and found a craft that they wanted to complete. I was still wanting to look over the biographies, but now they were excited and ready to return home.

At home, they ran around gathering materials which included begging my mom to drink more water so they could have her Aquafina bottles. Once that was done and I had supplied some small pieces of velcro, they dove into working on their space shuttles. Those are not complete yet, I but will post a photo once they are.

I think that my children can engage so easily with activities such as these because I make a conscious effort to say "yes" more than "no" to crafts, building projects, forts, etc- things that require their imagination and initiative. I want them to be brave to tackle any projects that come their way with bravery, ingenuity and fearless-ness. Sometimes, this means they gather the supplies, make a big mess and then promptly lose interest. That's okay- we clean up the mess together and they move onto something else. This is not to say that there is a spirit of giving up- if I have asked them to complete a project or they have labored to a certain point, I do my best to re-engage them and teach them the value of following through.

Do your best to let go of the tidy house, the carpet with no stains, the always clear table tops and occasionally (or often) allow your children to dive into a project. Show them where the craft section of the library is instead of steering them clear of it!