In a world where it is so easy to find themed crafts, as a parent, sometimes I find it hard to not plan a theme for our art time. There are so many good ideas out there, it seems a shame not to do them all.
But when I was a kid, my favorite crafting times were spent creating all on my own. I created without rules or any set of instructions or materials. Without any help from the Internet, I made cardboard houses, pom pom families, elaborate sticker scenes, and one extremely ugly doll.
Usually, when I do a craft with my children, there is a focus and a clear idea of what it “should” look like.
But I wonder if that may be destroying their creativity. How can a child learn to be creative if she is always guided by a set of instructions?
Today, Monkey asked me if she could do a craft project on her own and I almost said no. I didn’t want the extra mess of paper scraps strewn across the floor, the table stickied by glue, or the risk of things being damaged by misguided scissor cuts.
I almost told my child she could not be creative.
I’m not sure when I became the parent who doesn’t want to encourage creativity, but it has happened.
We talk a lot about the importance of STEM activities on Schooling a Monkey and how they will establish a foundation for my children’s future, but if I don’t allow my children freedom of expression with simple craft supplies, what makes me think they will be able to think outside the box enough to create the products and discoveries of the future?
So today, I said yes to creative art play. I allowed my child to make whatever she liked using what we had on hand.
And you know what happened?
It was awesome!
She made some incredibly creative fall-themed crafts. She made a pumpkin and a bat and outlined them with glitter glue. It was a lot more creative than anything I would have come up with.
So today, I’m challenging you to allow your kids to be creative, truly creative, without guidelines and without rules.
And from now on, I pledge to say “yes” to kid-directed crafts a lot more often. Even if it means more glitter on the sofa cushions.