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Egg Carton Play Dough Garden: Giving Creative Freedom to Your Child

We love Tinker Lab’s creative challenge hosted every two months! We’ve participated in each of their collaborative challenge so far – starting from Cardboard box to Magazines to Paper Bag.

And now – egg carton!

Read on to know what Pari made this time and why I let her drive this project from start to end!

What I love the most about these challenges is that they’re meant to be driven by the child and NOT the adult.

While in every challenge, I’ve allowed Pari to take the lead; this time I went a step ahead.

I did not step in AT ALL!

The idea, the process, the execution – was all hers!

My intention was to have her work on HER idea – from scratch – rather than mine.

In fact, have written about it quite a few times here. About – the unparalleled value of giving creative freedom to the child – to work on his/her OWN ideas.

Children learn best by means of play. This is being realized more and more by child psychologists, progressive educationists and creativity experts.

And, art can totally be play when the child is driving the process – from beginning to end – rather than being instructed by an adult.

Rather than even working on an idea envisioned by an adult.

And – let’s face it – when the child is working on an adult’s idea, he/she won’t be as excited and proud as when he/she is able to execute his/her own idea.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Quite understandable if we place ourselves in the child’s shoes…

Don’t we feel a heightened sense of ownership and satisfaction when we have the freedom to work on our ideas. Be it in an office set-up or at home.

This blog is a classy example, as far as I’m concerned. Nothing has given me so much creative satisfaction as owning and driving this blog – MY WAY!

Then, what makes us think the child would not be able to think up a seed of an idea and go on to execute it and make it come alive!

Let’s give them these opportunities and freedom to think, explore, innovate and create and I’m sure these kids will blow us away with their imagination!

Well, I sure was blown away when Pari recently worked on the egg carton challenge.

I gave her a few egg cartons and this is what I told her – it’s YOUR creative challenge. Do WHATEVER you fancy – whenever!

The egg carton had been lying for a few weeks there. Then, one fine day, I saw her come to me with one of those – telling me – “I want to make a garden with it”. Sure!

I asked her if she wants something else besides the carton. She said she wanted playdough, so she can make the plants and flowers. And, some paint.

She went on to paint the carton with green. Sort of like a green landscape.

Then, she started forming flowers with the playdough – with great concentration – between her fingers.

I spied her using a pencil as a tool – once a while…

You know what – she finished a whole set of rainbow colored playdough – to make a bunch of these lovely beauties!

Now, she probably wanted to ‘plant’ her flowers. After trying to make them ‘stand’ a few times – without success, she asked me if we’ve got clay.

Ah….as luck would have it, I had bought some clay just the previous day. She was delighted!

So, she started plying the clay with her palms and then made small balls out of them.

She then flattened the clay balls inside each ‘pit’ of the egg carton. And, went on to place her play dough flowers.

And, I couldn’t help admire how nicely the play dough flowers stood now – with clay as the support – as compared to the earlier attempt.

Now that the garden was set, she made some fences.

But, the master stroke was yet to come!

She told me she needs some rain in her garden.

My jaws dropped!

Well sure, she didn’t want to sprinkle water all over it and waste the whole effort… :(

But no, what she really wanted to do was cut out some clouds from paper, paint rain on them and ‘stick’ them in the garden!

What do you think?

Would I have ever come up with such an idea? I don’t think so…

I mean, not that My idea would have been bad. But then, I’m my own person and the ideas are driven from there – my thoughts, likes, dislikes.

While, SHE is her own person. And, a child. She’s bound to think differently than me. Hence, her ideas would be different, too!

Isn’t it best then that they work on THEIR ideas – something they can relate with?

Child-directed learning or open-ended learning – whatever we may call – this sort of learning inspires creativity, independent thinking and an unbridled joy for learning and creating!

And, that’s what I would call is true and learning.

And, while you’re here, I’d like to remind you of the Earth Day Celebrations blog hop – coming up – TOMORROW – on my blog.

Mommy Labs

I’m looking forward to your participation. :-)

Visit these fabulous blogs to see their child’s version of the Egg Carton challenge!

Child Central Station Red Ted ArtSun Hats & Wellie BootsTeach PreschoolThe Chocolate Muffin Tree The Educators’ Spin On It The Golden GleamGlittering MuffinsInspiration LaboratoriesKitchen Counter ChroniclesLiving At The Whiteheads ZooMake, Do & FriendMama Mia’sheart2heartNurtureStorePlayDrMomRainy Day Mum,  The Imagination TreeToddler ApprovedReading ConfettiKindergarten & Preschool for Parents & TeachersRainbowsWithinReachMommy Labs,  Green Owl ArtReusecraftsThe Outlaw Mom BlogHappyLittleMessesExperimenting-MomDuck Duck OctopusPaintCutPasteTrain Up a ChildGrowing A Jeweled Rose Coffee Cups and CrayonsReady. Set. Read!Scribble Doodle and DrawCarrots Are OrangeJDaniel4′s MomQuirky MommaA Mom With A Lesson PlanGood Long RoadTwo2Read

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Manish April 9, 2012, 10:35 am

    This is so impressive – both the idea and the execution! Pari is growing up into a bundle of creativity! It would have been difficult for me not to poke my nose and give her my own ideas in between, here and there! :D You did a great job too, to let her drive her own thing! And BTW, the ‘masterstroke’ was really quite an out-of-the-box idea! Tell her, I loved it! :)

  • maggy, red ted art April 9, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Wow! Didn’t she do a wonderful job? Amazing when they are able to do so much!! So lovely! Great post :-)


  • Allison April 9, 2012, 2:17 pm

    This is incredible. I love her focus and creativity. What a beautiful garden.

  • Mansi April 9, 2012, 3:02 pm

    I love Pari’s little garden. Play dough can bring everything to life! I love when kids innovate and figure out a solution on their own. It’s great to SPY Pari at work.
    Pari you are a true fairy. I really want my little one to meet you.
    probably, soon!

  • Roopa April 9, 2012, 3:12 pm

    Pari did a wonderful job !! Love her garden:)

  • Liz April 9, 2012, 3:29 pm

    I really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing. Often my “planned activity” for the day is taken in an entirely different direction when the children decide to take the lead, and I enjoy when that happens! I learn alongside them, sometimes never even saying a word. Which with Preschoolers can be very messy ;D I’m sure my kiddos woulddd have just dumped water on their creations :D Brilliant work Pari!!

  • Trisha @ Inspiration Laboratories April 9, 2012, 4:18 pm

    I agree that the process of the art is so much more important than the product. There is so much learning and decision making that takes place during the creative process. She came up with a lovely idea!

  • Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum April 10, 2012, 12:03 am

    This is amazing – I love the attention to detail and the cloud with the rain falling is brilliant a stroke of genius (I would have had the same ARGH! moment with the thought of watering the garden as well).

  • jen | paintcutpaste.com April 10, 2012, 2:04 am

    this is so lovely, rashmie! something about this sparked a faint memory from my own childhood, but i can’t quite put my finger on what it is yet… it’s leaving me with a warm glow though. thank you, and your amazing daughter!

  • Rebekah @ The Golden Gleam April 10, 2012, 8:40 am

    A beautifully written post and a beautiful flower garden! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your daughter’s creativity.

    I like how you planned ahead with your challenge, Rashmie, and given your child many weeks to mull it over in her head. If I had given my child more time to create, we might have ended up with something more child driven. You have inspired me to try harder to reach that goal for the next creative challenge.

  • Suchita April 10, 2012, 10:25 am

    This is fabulous!!!

  • Chrissy @ The Outlaw Mom Blog April 10, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Wonderful to watch all of it unfold! A beautiful garden and lovely process. I had a similar experience with this challenge and was blown away by watching my own little one’s wheels turning :-) Thanks for sharing!

  • Rachelle | TinkerLab April 10, 2012, 6:33 pm

    This is absolutely wonderful, Rashmie. You and Pari truly captured the spirit of these challenges and it’s wonderful to hear how you’re inspiring others to embrace their own child’s independent ideas. And the rain cloud — yes! Can’t wait to see what Pari comes up with next time!

  • Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan April 11, 2012, 7:05 pm

    What a brilliant description of how important it is to allow kids their creative process.

  • Mama Of Many Blessings April 13, 2012, 3:33 am

    What a wonderful project, your daughter is very creative. I think we will have to add something like this to our spring sensory bin. Thanks for sharing!

  • Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree April 13, 2012, 6:25 pm

    Beautiful idea. Love the flowers and bright colors!

  • Alissa @ Creative WIth Kids April 18, 2012, 11:33 am

    Awesome- I love reading about how the project evolved for her. Her rain is so wonderful. And you’re so right- it’s not that an idea you have might have been bad, it’s just that you are each your own person and sometimes it’s very wonderful to simply be able to see what kind of amazing ideas your child can come up with all on their own.

  • leah April 24, 2012, 11:32 pm

    What fantastic colors she chose! And, oh my goodness, how sweet is that rain cloud?!

  • Ashu June 8, 2012, 11:29 am

    What a great work by Pari,I loved her creativity and execution.

  • Jen March 31, 2013, 11:05 am

    This idea simply amazing! Awesome and perfect for the kids! I really loved the materials you put to complete the features the garden. We did an Egg Carton Color Sorting Activity game out of the same materials you used. You should check it out! :)
    EarlyLearning.Momtrusted.com: Preschool Egg Carton Color Sorting Activity