Life is a little different for kids these days. All too often, free play time is eaten up by to-do lists, activities, and screen time. Free play is more than running around the backyard screaming–unbridled artistic creativity is an important part of it, too. Keep Kids Creative Week, observed September 18-24, was launched to celebrate the innate creativity that all children posses.
Some argue that due to educational and societal pressures, as well as technology use, children are losing their abilities to think outside the box. Between our busy schedules, focus on success, and the distraction of technology, children just don’t have as much free time today. Allowances for the unbound, creative process isn’t a priority for most families when weighed against schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and the busyness of everyday life.
All children are artists, and it is an indictment of our culture that so many of them lose their creativity, their unfettered imaginations, as they grow older.
Although true creativity can be fostered in structured environments like art classes, there is no need for that kind of formality. As A Wrinkle In Time author L’Engle said, all children are artists, and as parents we can nurture that spirit. Over at the Keep Kids Creative website, they talk about how to brainstorm ideas with children. Childrens’ abilities to effectively walk through this process, and recognize the validity of their ideas, has far reaching benefits outside of creating art or stories. This confidence-building experience can help them throughout their education and professional lives. To get the ball rolling, check out this great list of ideas they’ve put together.
An easy way to exercise your creative muscles as a family with zero prep (and no mess!) is to tell a story as a family. This can be done around the dinner table, at bedtime, or in the car– just about anywhere. Each family member can add a few lines developing characters, setting the scene, and charting out the plot. Children of all ages can participate in the process.
Consider Keep Kids Creative Week an opportunity to reclaim some of that your children’s innate creative spirit. Open up the closely guarded craft box and let their imaginations run wild. Step away from the table and let them work free of your loving, guiding hand. Your kids will love it, and the mess won’t be that bad–hopefully.
What is your favorite way to get your kids’ creative juices flowing?