The buzz…

Diving Deeper - Creativity by Kitty Skeen - Former Mini Maestros Bendigo Franchisee

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and
having fun.”
– Mary Lou Cook

Take a minute to have a look in your recycling bin. What do you see in there? Yogurt containers, cereal boxes, a box from the last night’s dinner and maybe a few toilet rolls or some tin foil? As adults we simply see the ordinary, everyday, mundanity of our rubbish, and probably can’t think past how a full bin means we need to take out the trash. Now, imagine yourself in your child’s place. They don’t see rubbish, or the chore associated with it; they see a treasure trove, a wealth of ideas already springing to mind. Your child, their creativity informing so many of their actions already, can’t wait to create, experiment and invent.

It may seem that children are born creative, and while it is true that they are more ‘in tune’ with their imagination and more open to play than adults, it is our role as a parent to foster our child’s personal creativity, to provide them with ways to channel their imagination.

Creative play is so important to a child’s learning and development, and informs their emotional, social, and physical development. Box construction is just one of the wonderful ways of fostering creativity in your child’s life, but if your recycling bin isn’t overflowing, there are so many other ways children might create.

All types of graphic art are fabulous for encouraging creativity. You can explore colouring-in,
painting, paper crafts like origami and, everyone’s favourite, play dough. An added bonus of many of these activities is that you will also be developing your child’s fine motor skills through the use of paintbrushes, crayons, pencils and scissors. Set aside a drawer or shelf for some art supplies for your children, put it somewhere they can have access to it at anytime their creativity strikes them.

At my house we have an entire art cupboard, which been a favourite for many years, and even visiting children know they can always count on scraps of pretty paper, all the pencils in the world, glue, feathers, icy-pole sticks, stickers and glitter (the bane of any mother’s attempts to keep a tidy house) their little hearts desire.

Movement, dance and dramatic play are beautiful for creativity, and often involve a lot less glitter, although not always! Break out some tunes and the dress-ups, provide children with lots of props like dolls, puppets, hats and bags.

Of course, music is a wonderful way to be creative, and has the added bonus of being an activity that is so much better when you collaborate. Think about how great it is singing nursery rhymes and silly songs with children, especially when you play together to make up different words to familiar tunes and develop their language skills while you’re at it. Listen to songs that include familiar and repetitive activities such as clapping or patting knees (Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, This old Man, If You’re Happy and You Know It) and get children to think about creating new actions too, like we do for our Mini Maestros welcome songs. Let your child’s inner rock musician out with a variety of pots, pans and wooden spoons, or create a simple shaker instrument with a well-sealed plastic container filled with rice. Sing. Always sing.

Outside of the home, creativity is fuelled by new experience and adventures. Take every
opportunity to explore the world around you, both natural and created. Go bushwalking and camping, visit forests, beaches, mountains, and cities, and in these cities teach your children to appreciate art. Visit galleries, markets and museums, attend classical music and popular music concerts, seek out various street performers and buskers. Expose children to new ideas and as many avenues for creativity as you possibly can. You never know which will spark joy and kindle their imagination. Also, give your child the time and space in which to explore too. Once exposed to the ideas let them build a little self-reliance and resilience, resist the urge to schedule all aspects of their lives. After-all, boredom and creativity go hand in hand!

Lastly, and most importantly, always look for ways that you too can model creativity. A parent is always the best role model for their children, you are the person they look to for guidance in all other areas, so why not creativity too? Don’t be too busy getting the children from one creative activity to the other to take time for yourself to be also be creative. Go out and buy an adult colouring book and sit with your child colouring side-by-side, learn a musical instrument, knit, dance, take a drama class, paint, or join a choir. In fostering your child’s creativity there’s no doubt you will also inspire your own.

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