School’s Out! As a homeschool mom I feel a little strange announcing the end of the school year. Our co-op has ended and the nice weather entices us outdoors most days. The daily schedule is completely different than it was even two weeks ago. I have several goals for my boys this summer, one of which is to encourage them to find their own creative voice. These are my top 10 tips for encouraging creativity.
1. Create a Place to Work
Everyone likes to have their own space right? For kids to truly be creative, they need a space specifically prepared for the kind of messes that creative pursuits can often make. While I haven’t make any major changes since I showed you the basic set up in our house tour a few months ago, I have been intentional about keeping things clean and inviting for the boys to work. Doodad loves the chalkboard wall in the playroom. There’s something about drawing on a vertical surface that kids just love.
2. Provide Supplies
We just finished spring cleaning the school room and basement (Thanks Nana for all your help!). All our art and craft supplies are organized and available, in age appropriate ways, for the boys to use. The two big boys have colored pencils at their desks and crayons available on a higher shelf. There is an area set up in the basement for painting, glue, glitter and other messy crafts. Bebop especially loves getting up first thing in the morning and working quietly at his desk with his own stash of paper and colored pencils.
3. Turn Off Screens
Nothing distracts my boys more than the hope of a movie or a few minutes to play games on the Wii. Our rule is no screens until after 3 pm, and after chores are done. This includes mom! If the boys see me on the computer all they can think about is playing games too. While we do make the occasional exception for a special movie day, when the boys know screens are not an option they will come up with other ideas to entertain themselves.
4. Schedule Unstructured Time
I’m a planner and it is extremely hard for me to schedule down time. The freedom to choose activities is very empowering to my boys. When I let them decide to create something, they have a stronger pride in their work than when I plan an activity for them.
5. Let Your Kids Get Bored
I’ve noticed intentional boredom is a huge trend right now. In our overscheduled, screen filled lives it’s really hard to find even 5 minutes without something entertaining adults and kids alike. While I know it’s good for my kids, the idea of a bored preschooler frightenes me a little bit (it’s why we started homeschooling at such a young age). But when you have taken the time to create an environment ready for creativity and provided supplies it’s amazing to watch your kids imaginations run wild.
6. Create With Your Kids
I’m a crafter. I love to make things. Nothing inspires my kids more than when I pull out a box of my special supplies and let them work alongside me. Lately all three boys have enjoyed making beaded jewelry with me. (Shhh, don’t tell them we’re also working on fine motor skills!)
7. Learn Something New
Not a crafter? Try learning something WITH your kids. Any possible craft you can imagine has at least one YouTube tutorial. Many times my boys have asked to make something elaborate and we go to google to figure out how. Even if they change their minds a hundred times before the project is complete, researching new techniques brings out a burst of creativity.
8. Teach A Skill to Someone Else
Bebop loves to teach things to his little brothers, especially when it comes to art. It’s so much fun to watch Bebop and Magoo sit together and mix paint colors or plan a Lego project. Teaching requires you to move toward mastery of the subject and unlocks new levels of creativity.
9. Invite Friends Over
A new friend to share your new art kit with is just plain fun! In the summers we get together with friends to do the really messy projects, like tie-dye and sidewalk paint. My boys still talk about some of our craft play days from the past few years.
10. Make a Gift
Making gifts requires you to consider someone else. What they like or dislike. My boys each have their favorite colors and would always make things for themselves exactly the same. When I challenge them to make something for Grandma or a friend, they use colors and textures they might not touch otherwise.
Be sure to stop by the other blogs in the Kid Blogger Network for more ideas to make the most of summer now that school is out!
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