JDayMinis, 1:48 & 1:12 Scale Minis, Laser Cut Designs too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Help your Children Be More Creative or My Mother Let Me Make Mud Pies.

I was so lucky to have parents and grandparents who really encouraged creativity and were very creative themselves. As an junior high Art teacher, I used to give creativity a lot of thought to as well. Some of the ideas are so simple but they really worked for me.

* My mother used to make pudding in individual bowls for desert for us a couple of times a week. She would always put a design with her spoon in the top of her pudding and she would pour cream in the spaces. The designs were usually geometric and she would encourage my sister and me to do the same. Some people might think of this as playing with their food but it is wonderful sharing all of the designs.

* Dad used to treat many of his meals as landscapes by hollowing out his mashed potatoes and putting in a gravy lakes with vegetables arranged like a forest. He would encourage us to do the same.

*When we were in the car my grandmother always played "I spy with my little eye", where grandmother would see something of a certain colour or other description and I would have to guess what it was.

*Dad would have a piece of paper and draw some lines as part of a shape and I would have to finish the picture using that shape, then I would do the same for him. Very creative but it also showed a good starting off point for a sketch and that sketching doesn't always have to start off looking at something to sketch.

*Dad made a very large chalk board for us (he actually painted a board with chalk board paint) and we would spend hours at it. I remember just drawing intersecting lines and I found that all of the lines made such wonderful designs.

*Mom used to come home with bags of end cuts of fabric for quilting and there were so many designs and colours, each was a small square. I did so much with those fabric pieces and especially enjoyed pretending I had a fabric shop.

*When I was a teacher I would not let my students throw away a picture they had painted or a drawing just because they felt it wasn't good enough. I used to tell them it was theirs and theirs alone. No one else would make that particular image at that time. Sometimes children are much too critical of their own work and need to realize it is the process that is the fun part and whatever they do is important.

*Children don't need lots of toys to have fun!! Better to have them making things with all sorts of odds and ends around the house. A blanket over a table makes a great tent. My youngest son used to make fabulous houses out of cardboard.

*Mom used to have a large stack of decorating and craft magazines that I would pour over for hours, Surprising how much you can learn from old magazines and it helps you decide what you really love and want to make, even if you are too young to make it at that point in your life.

I will try to add to these ideas as I think of them.....

*When I was very small my mother actually played out in the dirt with me and showed me how to make mud pies. She was never bothered by me getting dirty and really encouraged it.

*We moved to Victoria and had a beach across the street, dad and I would go for walks and he would love writing and drawing in the sand. It is such a lovely sound too, when a stick scrapes the sand.

*Sometimes my dad would ask me to close my eyes and describe a scene I had just been looking at with him. He would do the same when we were walking. He really said how important it is to actually look at your surroundings and look remembering details. Sometimes life must be overwhelming for children and just watching tiny bugs can slow everything down and be really beautiful.

*When we lived in Regina Saskatchewan, we would get a lot of fabulous snow in the winter and mom would get me bundled to play. I spent hours stomping down the snow in puzzle patterns and looking for fairy caves provided by icy melting in the hills of snow against the fence.

*Mom didn't believe in a lot of lessons when I was young but wanted me to find my own interests that I loved.

Hugs, Jean


  1. This post is absolutely lovely.........thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Great ideas! I had an art teacher in highschool who would have us cut up about half our drawings and use them for collage. Sometimes we'd cut up quick sketches, other times we'd have to cut up better drawings. I think it made us all braver and more creative because we had to get over our fear of ruining a good drawing!

  3. Wonderful Post...I agree with what you've said about encouraging the young to be creative! My high school art teacher was my biggest inspiration back then, and so is my mom!

    Pei Li

  4. Thank you Jean, it's a lovely post and ne so true.
    I had a wonderful mum who put up tents for and with us using blankets, curtains, anything at hand.
    She let us cook when we were kids, she let us draw and paint and gluing paper. The best school I have ever been to.
    I tried to do the same with my son, hopefuly he will remember it
    Best wishes, Rosanna

  5. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. I tried to be creative with my children and now i see my daughter having creative fun with her children and they love it.
    Hugs Maria

  6. Ich habe bereits 2 kleine Enkelkinder und meine größere... Valentina 6 Jahre... bastelt sehr oft mit mir und findet das total spannend.

    Und meine Tochter.... auch Sie hat viel von mir geerbt.... und ist heute sehr erfolgreich in der Werbebranche tätig.

    Kinder können sich nur entfalten, wenn man Ihnen etwas davon vorlebt. Ein sehr netter Post von Ihnen.

    Schicke liebe Adventsgrüße mit

    PuNo / Monika

  7. I too come from a creative family. My sister especially spend a lot of time with our nieces and nephews drawing with them.

    It is so good of you to share this part of your life with us , learning how to encourage creativity is so important. And I have a niece who cries everytime she feels her art is not as good as she wants it. She is so competitive that she forbids my
    sister from helping her , not even to draw a similar picture because she will compare the 2 drawings and feel that her painting was not good as my sis'. It is heartening to read what you say about little children and how their expectations of themselves are sometime too high for their own good.

    Thank you Jean. I have enjoyed this post very much.

  8. What a lovely post, thanks so much for sharing it with us. I try to encourage my 2 boys 5 and 7 be creative in what they do. I put there artwork up in my work room and they love that. I let them decorate for christmas, My mom used to let me do this and so im passing it on to my son's. We garden together too. How lucky we are to have such things to pass on, I too have grandparents who encourged me, my grandfather was a painter, my nana tought me how to sew and cook.
    I miss them alot!!


  9. I totally agree! My mother made me a felt board and then cut out little houses and trees and people from felt. I had so much fun with this simple "toy!"
    Watching rolly polys with my own children and finding tiny bits of moss and small rocks to create gardens for them was fun too.
    It's the little simple times of sharing that mean the most.
    Many Christmas Blessings!

  10. Hi Everyone, Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comments and terrific ideas. Season's Greetings to everyone. Hugs, Jean

  11. Möchte auch Dir und Deiner Familie einen guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr wünschen...
    und schicke liebe Grüße mit

    PuNo / Monika

  12. Although I love all of your posts, this one went straight to my heart because I am one of those grandmas. On the walking trail the other day my 5 year old stopped, bent down to look at a tiny spider I could barely see, then with passion he said, "Oh grandma, it is so beautiful." Tears came to my eyes as I dropped to my knees. I am afraid of spiders, but didn't let him know. We just spent time on our knees looking at the really teeny weeny "beautiful" spider.

    Last week we were on the walking trail around dusk when our 3 year old exclaimed, "Look at the moon Papa!" Papa proudly said, "My boys are making me aware of beautiful things. I have never spent time gazing at the moon." WOW!

    This comment is getting long, but one more thing. When my grandsons come to visit they love my workshop and want to use my tools so under my supervision I encourage them create whatever they want. Your blog has given me some ideas to post some of their creations on my blog. What a Blessing! Hugs back to you.


  13. Thanks so much Monika and Felma.

    Your comment brought tears to my eyes Felma, so beautiful!!! I love spiders and think you treated his new interest in spiders fabulously, what a precious young man. All the very best to you and your family. Hugs, Jean


Thank you very much, so nice of you to take the time to leave a comment and to visit my blog!


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