In last week’s blog post, I shared my thoughts about how schools often encourage our kids to become followers rather than leaders that are often given opportunities to think creativity and offer their own solutions to the problems they are presented. In addition, mistakes are not looked upon favorably as a way to learn.
In the words of Ellie Wiesel “Education emphasizes “theories instead of values, concepts rather than human beings, abstraction rather than consciousness, answers instead of questions, ideology and efficiency rather than consciousness” quoted in David W. Orr, Earth in Mind.
This lack of creativity can quickly diminish our kids sense of self worth. As parents we need to step in and be proactive regarding the fostering of our kids creativity. We need to actively encourage our kids as well as ourselves to put on our creativity caps every day.
“An artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist,” said Artist Ananda Coomaraswamy.
So what kind of artist are you? What about your kids?
Do you remember the last time you enjoyed or created art with you kids?
But I have to go to a gallery or museum to enjoy art, right?
Thankfully, we don’t always need to go any further than our own backyards to experience art.
At times, I get bogged down in my daily activities that I can be shortsighted about the art that surrounds me. Art to me, is about finding something unusual in the usual.
The way the clouds paint pictures across the horizon at sunset, the ebbing and flowing of flowers in the wind creating a beautiful and colorful dance, or the swirling of leaves in the crisp fall air all represent art to me.
Appreciating and experiencing the arts with your kids every day isn’t difficult. It’s just a matter of reframing what you think of as art.
Here are 4 ideas you can use today to encourage the creativity in yourself and your kids and enjoy art every day!
Give your kids a camera and go for a walk.
This idea may cause a little panic in some. But trust me, once your kids get the hang out of using and respecting the camera (i.e., not dropping it), you’ll truly be amazed at the images they capture. The first time I saw the photographs my oldest daughter took walking on the river in downtown Reno, I was flabbergasted. Some of her images rivaled what I’d see from pro photographers – and she was 5 at the time.
Purchase a simple point and click camera such as the Kodak EasyShare and your kids will be quickly on their way to dazzling you with their photographs. I preferred this camera to those created for kids because they were easier to hold which was an important consideration in the not dropping the camera lesson. Buy here LINK
Once your kids are comfortable with the camera, grab a camera for yourself and head out for a walk.
There’s no need to overly plan the outing, just let the spirit of the moment guide your walk. Document your walk and all you see with photographs and compare notes at the end. Don’t get hung up about the walking part, just encourage the spontenaeity of the moment. You’ll quickly learn a lot about your kids and their perspectives once you see their photos.
Chalk needn’t be reserved for classrooms any more. I find that simply by having sidewalk chalk readily available, whole afternoons can be filled with creativity. Sidewalk chalk is cheap and comes in different sizes and colors to make each experience unique. Whether you’re decorating your driveway, porch, or even stepping stones, chalk drawing is a joyful experience.
Transfer all your stresses of the day to the chalk and see what you can create with your kids. Chalk drawing are great for teaching many things:
Mistakes are okay: Chalk is easily erased from surfaces (and clothes, too) so mistakes can be encouraged. Don’t forget that learning to make mistakes should be reinforced as just a part of how we learn.
Adults can draw, too!: When’s the last time your kids saw you being creative. They will certainly be surprised when you start drawing with them and will start seeing you as a source of creativity.
Don’t forget to photograph your masterpieces so they can be enjoyed any time no matter what the weather.
3. Treasure hunts
Enjoy the changing of the seasons and head out for a treasure hunt with your kids. Exploring your neighborhood and enjoying the colors of fall lends itself to finding amazing treasures! Make a list of treasures to find, determine a number of items to find, or even the color of items you’ll collect and head out to find your treasures.
After you’ve found ample treasures on your hunt, show your items with the others. Now here’s where the real fun begins…use your treasures to create a work of art! Everything from leaves, sticks, rocks, bottle tops, or pine cones can become art about the season, an upcoming holiday, or just to celebrate today.
It’s important to find a central location to show off your art work along with your kids. You can all be proud of what you’ve created every time you walk by display area.
Again, pictures are a must. You can even share your creations
on social sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook. Chances are your friends will be inspired to take their kids for a treasure hunt of their own or join you and kids for your next hunt!
4. Picture Books
Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project suggests enjoying picture books as a way to enjoy art. Books don’t always need words. The old cliche of “pictures share a thousand words” is absolutely true. There are loads of books such as art and photo book that contain pictures to be enjoyed and pondered.
Pick up one of your kids picture books and take a look. Do you like the artwork? Is it inviting, calming, or exciting? Why do you think your kids enjoy the book? Could you and your kids create a similar books? The simple picture book can bring hours of pleasure and enjoyment to you and your kids.
Here are some of my favorite picture books. LINKS
Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to go somewhere special to enjoy art. Adding cameras, chalk, treasure hunts, and picture books into your family’s schedule will go a long way to instilling a love and appreciation for the art that surrounds us everyday! Before you know it you’ll have to try hard not to see the art that surrounds you everywhere every day.