This post is inspired by EveryArtist Live!, a national, collaborative art event with the goal of engaging a million elementary school children on November 21, 2013 – the largest art event in history. Want to get involved? Join us in our efforts to show that #CreativityMatters. Sign up at http://everyartist.me.
As my kids have gotten older, videos games have become more present, sports have began to flood their social lives and technology has made arts and crafts seem… well, boring…so what can you do to create that inspiring spark in your kids for art? I’ve struggled with this throughout all of my children’s years growing up. Whether it be when they are young and restless, simply disinterested at that moment in what you’re up to or they’ve grown old enough to think your ideas are silly or boring, it seems there comes a time when a Mom can feel discouraged from the thought that #CreativityMatters, allowing art and creativity to slip away as their kids begin to “grow up”. However, I think this correlation between a child losing interest in creativity and “growing up” is, to be blunt, wrong! So, what’s the issue? Why does your child grow bored by your attempts to bring art into their daily activities? I think it’s not that the child doesn’t want to be creative, but that there comes a time when a Mom has to realize some of the old ideas aren’t going to be as exciting for their kids and so they’ll have to be creative with their kids to come up with activities and projects that draw that art spark out.
As I mentioned last month, I’m teaming up with Everyartist.me to help promote their November 21st, Everyartist Live! event, which is “A national, collaborative art event to engage a million elementary school children – the largest art event in history.” One of the reasons I’ve decided to partner up with Everyartist.me is because they value fostering creativity in kids through Moms, Dads and Teachers, which I feel is truly important to healthy parenting and healthy children.
Today, I want to talk about how to keep up with your child’s “art spark”. From what I’ve learned, raising my kids, is that, while it seems at certain ages they’ve lost that art spark, as they grow older it’s not that their creativity begins to dissipate, but that their creativity begins to enter into new realms that were previously accessible by simple activities like coloring or making glue-stick puppets and so on. What I mean is, and every Mom knows this, growing up means growing out of the old ways and I think – and I’ve had to learn this through experience – it’s easy to think that just because your old art-project ideas don’t work, it means your kids no longer want to be creative. In fact, I can guarantee you that they do want to be creative and are being creative all the time – just through different and more mature outlets! So here’s a few tips that I’ve learned to help access and develop a child’s creativity as they begin to want more responsibility and more say in how #CreativityMatters to them. What I find is the most important part of fostering the art spark in your kids as they get older is giving them the opportunity to join you in coming up with projects and activities. So here are three general tips that can lead to a lot of other creative ideas that you and your kids can collaborate on:
1. Birthdays getting too expensive? It seems there can come a time when your child suddenly has the great (and expensive) idea of taking all their friends on some expensive adventure, for e.g. (and I’ve had a child pull this one on me before) “let’s go to Disneyland!” and then they hand me a list of 10 friends they think I’ll buy plane tickets, hotel rooms and theme-park tickets for. Well – not going to happen! So here’s an alternative way to show your child that #CreativityMatters while also keeping their party inexpensive: come up with a day of yard-games and fun. Sit down with your child and search the web for “fun cheap yard games for kids” to get your brain-juice flowing and then let the ideas roll! If the weather’s not accommodating, try “fun cheap indoor games for kids”.
2. Holiday accessories becoming too commercialized? We all know this is happening! Walk into any nearby superstore and you’re sure to flooded with thousands of products for whatever seasons holiday-craze. It becomes dizzying. Not only is it hard to tell what will be the most fun and exciting for your kid to get the most out of the holiday, but the money begins to add up as you seem to buy new stuff to replace the totally-ok and reusable old stuff. However, I’ve found that one great way to get that art spark out of my kids, is to attach craft-activities to holidays. And – duh – everyone knows this from school, but now they can become family traditions! Try searching “fun holiday craft activities” on the web with your kid to look for some ideas.
3. Tired of the usual outings? Everybody’s going to see the latest movie. Everyone’s taking their kids to the new mall. But that doesn’t mean you have to. It’s not that going to these things is bad, but it’s certainly not making room for creativity in your child. What I’ve found is that if I frame an activity with my kids as a “Field Trip” or “Day Trip” and begin to brainstorm ideas with them, it amazes me how creative they become. It could be as simple as they’re sudden interest in going to a museum they’ve heard about or a play or performance and more. I think the important part is that when you frame the activity as a “Field Trip” it quickly directs your children’s thoughts towards activities that are generative of creativity! Try searching the web for “fun educational things to do in _______ (city)” and – most importantly – let your child look and read about things with you.
As November 21st approaches, and Everyartist.me prepare to go Live, I want to encourage you to not only search for new ways to find out how #CreativityMatters to your child, but also to consider participating in a larger social-campaign and movement to show your community why and how #CreativityMatters. Read more about the Everyartist Live! event and Sign-Up to get involved.