Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fostering Creativity

The first day of school at our house isn't until next Tuesday, but that doesn't mean there isn't learning going on around here!

This morning, after breakfast, I discovered my daughter busy at the dining room table.  What was she working on? A Translation.  Huh?

Apparently our cat "wrote" his biography. My daughter has taken up the challenge to translate that biography.  The original manuscript consists of rubber stamped paw prints scattered over a sheet of paper. My 8 year old is spending the day writing the life story of our cat, from our cat's perspective.

Most of the time I've been raising my kids, I've had to work a part time job on top of homeschooling, so I really haven't had the time to get them involved in more than a few select outside activities. I also haven't had time to organize crafts, art projects and such for them. But what I have done is always kept a supply of materials available for them to have the free reign of. I keep a cabinet full of paint, paper, brushes, markers, glue, and other things that I've accumulated. I save a few toilet paper tubes and egg cartons. And my kids have always known that they are free to use whatever is there.

I watch clearance sales at local stores, keep a box to toss those toilet paper tubes in, and watch thrift stores as well for random craft supplies. Rather than buying "craft kits" which cost a lot more and narrow what a child can do, I like to just let my kids explore with the materials and create what they want to.

For my youngest, much of the time that has come to mean writing books. She's been writing books since before she could actually write letters! She would draw pictures and "scribble" a story. Lately, she's been going back to those and writing out the stories she remembers. We have a large box of her saved stories (consisting of multiple pages of computer paper stapled together!). We tend to go through a lot of paper, so that's another thing I watch for sales on!

Funny thing, coloring books tend to last years at my house. Once in a while my children have each had a desire to color in one, but only occasionally. So they seem to take forever to be used up. I've encouraged free drawing. My oldest two, inspired by the book Harold and the Purple Crayon used to play a game together that they called "Harold and His Sister". Of course they each had a purple crayon. They would spread themselves out on the floor with several sheets of paper in front of them and then tell stories together, and draw them as they told the style of the original Harold.

Now, here's a coloring book series my youngest has been enjoying lately. I have a couple of them. I first heard about the Anti-Coloring books years ago in the Sonlight forums. I finally bought some a couple years ago.  Each page has a partial picture that serves as a prompt. The picture is completed by the child before coloring. My youngest has had a lot of fun with them. You can check them out here:

So anyway, while I was amused at the writing she was doing this morning, I wasn't surprised. My husband and I have endeavored to encourage creativity and imagination, and this morning's activity is the fruit of those efforts.

How have you fostered creativity and imagination in your children?

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