When opening up to creativity, children become open to many possibilities. It becomes an experience a lot more deeper than just making something pretty or just having a bit of fun.
It encourages them to be aware of their own creative ability. A realisation about making different decisions and seeing a different outcome. When you really think about it, there is so much to learn through art. It can truly enhance a child's confidence and give them a feeling of worthiness from exploring their own minds and what they are capable of.
After many years of both having my own children and also working with children I have seen for myself many different faces of creativity.
I worked in disabilities for many years and even a child with severe handicaps can shine and be proud of his/her artistic channels whether it be a scribble on a simple colouring in page or the most amazing works from a child who excels in arts and crafts.
A lot of boys (mine included) do not and simply will not enjoy arts and crafts. It is always my greatest challenge to awaken these children to realise that there is a craft for anybody at all in this wonderful world of opportunity.
One year I was taking a craft class in one of my boys classes. I was teaching an Easter craft and was standing to one side of the room with my big green basket full of goodies waiting for the class to return from lunch. As the children walked in to the classroom, I could literally feel the sighs that were itching to come out of the boys mouths from the thought of being bored to the brain for the afternoon while Mrs S was smiling from ear to ear with excitement and bursting at the seams to begin.
It is in these moments when I accept the boy (and girl too) challenge to see a creative spark or 2.
The boys had expected to be sat in a chair and begin tying ribbons or colouring in but they found themselves out in the garden potting up soil, planting 'bunny grass' in a small terracotta pot and popping a little wooden skewer stick with Easter greeting stuck to it, into the pot telling the Easter Bunny that this grass was for him to eat !
They were surprised that they were not going to be sitting down being bored. Instead they were doing something fun and entertaining. Whilst working with them, I shared stories of the Easter Bunny and old folklore tales that have slowly been forgotten in today's school system.
In a nutshell, I brought the magic back into the classroom and even the biggest of cynics lining up to pot their bunny grass found their little minds ticking over with wonder.
It is all in the delivery !
There is nothing better then a big lump of clay for any little boy to get his hands stuck into to calm him down and let his mind wander off into the land of creation.
It is something that I have always encouraged in my own children.
My daughter was 3 months old and we were visiting the local library for story time. I would often sit there with her and read out aloud about fun things to make or do and over the years she has come to enjoy reading and lots of different crafts.
My boys were more difficult to engage, but play dough and creating mud castles in the garden would keep them amused for hours.
Toys are very overrated.
There are very few toys over the years that have kept my children occupied for very long at all.
Pushing little toy cars around with their fingers was very short lived, creating lego masterpieces lasted a little longer, but most of the time I would find them asking for play dough, sand to build with or kicking a ball around.
When my little nieces arrived in the world I loved spoiling them as all Aunties do, but I have always longed for the day when they were old enough to begin dress ups, do craft or simply play make believe.
So when 2 of my little nieces visited for the day over the weekend we opened Aunty Mely's craft box and got straight to work.
We had decided to make little Christmas angels for the tree. We made quite a few of them for special people and I was even lucky enough to get one for my Christmas tree (signed and dated of course so it would always remind me of our special day together).
I have had these little print outs saved for quite a while and I honestly do not remember where I found them on the Internet but I am sure that if you look around then you will find the free download to make something similar. If anybody out there knows where to find it please let me know so that I can share it with you all.
We used a simple bust of an old Victorian dolly. I printed out a pageful for the girls. We glued the paper dolls on to a sheet of cardboard and we cut them out and coloured them in with coloured pencil (using texta colours would have run and given too strong a look for the desired soft look that we were after).
I had to take over at this point and hot glue gun little squares of tulle (that we had recycled from some packing from a pair of pj's......I love recycling !) onto the waist of our paper doll. The hot glue gun is definitely not safe for little fingers to use, so if you try this at home please be careful and do not allow a child to ever use a hot glue gun. I have had severe blistering on my fingertips from hot glue guns (ouchy !)
Over that, I glued a tiny lace bow to make the skirt prettier and to hide the gluey mess under it.. A hole punch through the dolly's forehead (ouch !) gave us a place to tie our ribbon so that it could be tied to the tree.
The girls were thrilled with their creations and couldn't wait to give them away.
Miss A smiled from ear to ear as she hung the one that they had made for me on our tree.
She is such a cutie !
Scroll down and you will see our works of art !
Miss A was so happy with herself !
We spent a lovely hour together making these sweet little angels, the receivers of the angels were all happy with their gifts and most of all we had lots of fun together creating.