JDayMinis, My Life, French & Antique Inspiration

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

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