I try to create an environment at home for plenty of random art exploration and play; I think, this time for 100% open-ended exploration is as important, if not more, as the planned art and learning projects I set up for Pari. For, I believe that for young learners, it's the freedom to experiment and do as they fancy, which will instill creative confidence and taps their unbridled imagination.
Telling them to pursue OUR ideas and to do what WE envision for them is a sure shot recipe to kill enthusiasm and creativity in those young hearts.
I have learnt these lessons slowly but surely. Hence, I would caution you before you plan to do something that's beyond your child's capacity or aptitude. It's a lose-lose situation where the mommy is spreading herself thin doing expert art projects and is having to direct the kid to do 'this way' and 'that way'; while the child is getting no where trying to toe the mommy's/teacher's line.
Why, I have made all these mistakes in the early years of my trying to be a creative mommy. Thank God, I realized sooner than later that this is not the way I can inspire my kid to be a free spirit; a creative thinker and a confident learner.
Then on, it was always a collaborative and often – a Pari-centered learning environment.
I would seek her ideas; ask her how she wants to do it; even ask her what art material would she choose or prefer – water colour, sketch pens, crayons, poster paint.
Would she want to cut-paste or paint, sketch or colour?
Would she want to write or wanted to dictate to me so I could write down?
Are we in a mood to do a science experiment or build some structures?
Shall we rather cook or do some cleaning? Shall we cook pasta or bake a cake? Make ginger tea or some lemon juice?
The moment I sought HER ideas; her motivation multiplied a zillion times. So did mine!
A self-motivated soul can do wonders. There's no limit to his/her creativity and passion.
The fact that they may not be able to define the objective of what they are doing; like we adults do, does not mean they are not learning something tangible. Far from it, they always intrinsically have a clear agenda – driven by their own eagerness and interest.
They ARE learning on their own. Whether it's through cutting papers and carpeting the floors with scraps; or by fiddling around with colours on tissue paper, toilet paper, ice and what have you!
Often it may not lead to anything tangible or rather – pure mess and apparent 'waste' of colour and paper. But wait, "waste"? This is not waste. Rather, the time we mommies spend doing elaborate projects that the kiddos can hardly relate to or enjoy – THAT time and effort is waste.
Here's an article I read recently on Creative with Kids that echoes similar thoughts and warns that we might be doing certain things that can ruin our art/craft experience with kids and theirs' too.
Actually, who knows, their mess may inspire them to 'create' something concrete!
In the photo below, she made a bookmark for me.
I read this quote somewhere. Resonated so much, I noted it down:
Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
Here are some open-ened art activities that Pari thoroughly enjoyed. Your kids can explore these during the holidays:
- Marbling with puffy paint
- The art and science of microwave puffy paint
- Styrofoam Plate Mosaic
- Shaving Cream Playdough
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