Tag Archive for creativity

3 Amazing Ways to Nurture Creativity in Kids

Creativity is so important and it must be cultivated. The world is full of cookie cutter art where every child’s projects look the same. These craft projects are cute, but if we teach children all art should look exactly the same, what are we really saying to them? When I see a provider show pictures of their kid’s art and each piece looks perfect, I know young children didn’t make those projects on their own. I also know that when the provider or teacher fixed those pictures and made them each look perfect; they were telling those children they weren’t good enough. I know teachers would not do that on purpose, but they just don’t know.

It makes me sad. It’s so common for caregivers to churn out project after project where they show kids what a craft should look like, for instance a butterfly made of the child’s handprints, and they work with the kids until they each have a perfect butterfly.

open ended art builds and nurtures creativity


Do you remember a time when you were young and your creativity was flowing? I can remember, for instance, making mud pie bird nests in the back yard with my sister. We took plastic containers and filled them with mud we cultivated with the garden hose, and we added a bunch of “ingredients” and mixed and “cooked” them over a pile of rocks we called the stove. After a few days, we would dump out the pies and they looked just like bird’s nests to us, so we started a bird nest factory.

I remember creating games with my sister. I remember writing poetry in elementary school. I remember painting in my Mom’s college art class one evening. I remember making up games with my sister like a catalog store where we took “phone calls” and took orders from catalogs for hours on end. Creating brings LIFE into a child’s brain. Creating brings LIFE into a child’s heart. People were made to create. Even our Creator was creative. He gave each of us our own skills and talents. When children are expressing their creativity, we should not squelch it. When they express their own visions, we should not correct them. Kids need to get messy. Kids need to think outside the coloring lines. Kids NEED to make their own ideas.

self esteem boosting activities

How, in a world full of cookie cutter ideas, can we nurture children who think on their own? Art in not offered in schools in Oklahoma until 5th grade, but creativity is formed in children by the age of 8. Creativity has to be nurtured earlier.

self expression in open ended art to build creativity and self esteem

There are so many ways we can encourage kids to develop the creativity inside them. One great way is by letting them get MESSY. I know it’s a pain, but kids NEED to be able to experience art mediums and other messy experiences. This stimulates their sensory development and forms connections in their brains that are pathways for future knowledge. Playdough, mud, paint, and all kinds of messy play are great for kids to learn from. Let them use these mediums in all different ways.

open ended art to inspire creativity

For instance, we hung this paper on the fence and let the kids spray liquid watercolors on the paper however they wanted. This was a group project and they learned cooperation in sharing the paints and places to paint, they developed fine motor skills from the awesome spray bottles we got from Oriental Trading Company,  and they were able to express themselves in any way they wanted in their painting.

inspiring creativty in kidsnurturing creativitynurturing children's creativity

I was allowed to receive products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for my honest opinions on the products, so I will be telling you about some things I got from them. Another great thing you can do with kids is when you do art with them, make it open ended. Don’t show the kids what you expect them to produce, but rather, show them what they can chose from to create with and allow them to choose what they will make.

great open ended art supplies from oriental trading company

This review is based strictly on my opinion. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company to provide my honest review. No other type of compensation was received. All ideas and opinions are my own.

You will love seeing their eyes light up when they are presented with a table full of things they can use however they wish. Watch them as they think through what they are going to make and see the pride in their eyes as they make something THEY love and tell you all about it.

creative art, open ended to nurture self esteem

I got these collage materials from Oriental Trading Company and placed them all over the table. The kids were able to choose between pieces of regular construction paper or geometric and bug shaped cut outs we got from Oriental. Adding in the cut out shapes helped the kids have more choices in what product they wanted to produce. We used animal foam stickers, which the kids loved! The stickers were easy enough for the kids to peel the backs off of because they were made from the thicker foam, and of course kids LOVE animals. Some kids used 2 stickers, some used 20, according to their tastes, and they were developing fine motor skills throughout the collage project.

open ended art supplies from oriental trading company

I also chose glittery pom poms, the kids LOVED these. They were excited they were sparkly and they were perfect for the kids to hold onto. I added crayons to the table for them to choose from and glue, as well as glitter glue pens. Children were able to draw with the pens or use them to stick their pom poms to the paper. They loved the bright colors of the glitter glue pens and they were easy for them to use, but I didn’t like that the glue took so long to dry. They had to wait two days before they could take them home because that’s how long it took for the glue to dry.

creative nurturing, open ended art

rainbow crayons for creative art

Another way to foster creativity is by following children’s interests. My kids LOVE to make rainbows, so when I saw that Oriental had rainbow crayons, I knew that would be right up their alley. They loved making the multicolored crayons dance and sing across the pages of their papers. I enjoyed drawing with them as well. They were able to create some lovely masterpieces with their new crayons. These crayons are great to offer as a part of choices kids can make when they create something.

open ended kid's art to build self esttem and nurture creativity

It’s fine to do crafts with kids once in a while as it teaches them to follow directions and listen, but most of the time, your art should be open ended and child directed. This will give the kid confidence and allow them to express themselves and develop creativity. Remember if you do crafts with kids, make sure you don’t correct how they chose to create the project or ever expect all the kid’s projects to look the same or be how you want them to be. This shows kids that their teacher is better at the project than them and they aren’t good enough. It’s super hard on their self-esteem.

fostering self esteem through creativity

If everyone was forced to make buildings that looked the same, how would our cities look? If everyone only made one type of fashion, many of us would not enjoy wearing it. If everyone was forced to have the same haircut, the world would be a boring place. Creativity drives us, it allows us to express ourselves, and it makes the world a beautiful, free, colorful place. Nurture that creativity in your kids and show them what’s inside of THEM has value too.

How to Throw a MARVELOUS Art Party for Kids!

painting with leaves

Open ended art is super important for kids to experience. Crafts that turn out cutesy lady bugs or perfect cookie cutter American flags are cute, but giving kids an opportunity to really experience art mediums and have valuable sensory experiences is vital to their development. These activities also give kids the chance to be in control of the outcome and create what THEY find beautiful instead of what we tell them is good.

Creativity is established by age 8, and in the state of Oklahoma, art is not offered in school until 5th grade. What are we missing here? Where is the disconnect? Art is essential for children’s development! Click here to see 10 reasons why.


Children learn so much from open ended, child directed art. According to the National Association for Education of Young Children they learn:

“Social and emotional

Children relax, focus, feel successful, and can express their feelings

Language and literacy

Children may choose to discuss their art and add print to it (on their own or by dictating to a teacher)

Cognitive

Children compare, predict, plan, and problem solve

Physical

Children use small motor skills to paint, write, glue, use clay, and make collages”

There are a multitude of other things children learn from experiencing creating art. Click here to read the rest of the article.

At Little Sprouts, we do a lot of art. I was raised by an artist, and I have seen the impact of art on the world, myself, and children’s development. When my daughter Kayla was little, I made sure she spent a lot of time being creative and now she is perusing creative goals as an adult.

We love to have special art parties at Little Sprouts. It’s a great party to throw outside where the kids can get as into the art as they wish. I ask parents to send children in old clothes and send something to change into after the party. This would also be a great idea for a children’s birthday party or even a party for adults. If you don’t spend time creating things, you will be amazed what it will do for your stress level, your self-esteem, and your sense of accomplishment if you do some creating. Even our God loves to create, look at all the beauty He made and still makes? We are born to do it!

What makes an art party marvelous?

  1. Fun! Make sure the atmosphere is laid back and you are engaged and ready to support children’s efforts. Praising children with “good job” and other comments is not nearly as important as taking the time to appreciate what they are doing. You can ask children what they were thinking as they created their art or how it made them feel. Instead of saying what is it, you can say, tell me about it. You can also say, I loved watching you have fun making this, or I love how many colors you used. This type of feedback encourages children to appreciate their own efforts as well.
  2. Freedom. Children need to be able to explore the art mediums they are offered and use them any way they see fit to create. Avoid using terms like, you need to use the paint brush or do this or that. At our art party last week, the most common thing I said, is “You can use it any way you want”.
  3. Variety. For instance, when offering paint to children, don’t just give them paint brushes. Also offer some leaves or other natural objects to paint with as well as sponges, shaped objects, and of course, they can be free to use their fingers.
  4. Options. Don’t require children to participate. If they just want to put one line on a paper and move to another station, that’s perfectly fine. They are exploring the materials and its part of learning. Soon, you will see them take a deeper look at things and begin to use more creativity.

Here are some of the activities we did at our last art party. No two parties are the same here, I always try to come up with something new and different to expose the children to. Be creative when thinking of ways to encourage the kids to create!

shaving cream painting, art party

Shaving cream paint. Just shaving cream squirted into a bowl and a few squirts of paint added. This was definitely the favorite medium of the day. Kids loved exploring it.

art party for preschool

sidewalk chalk, preschool art partySidewalk chalk is always a fun outlet. Who doesn’t like to color on the ground?

Throwing a marvelous art party for preschoolColored pencils, crayons, and markers were available with stacks of paper to use.

Drawing with markers, preschool art party

watercolor relief art for preschoolLiquid water colors and paint brushes were a big hit. Everyone enjoyed painting with it.

murals painted with nature brushespainting with onion tops

Murals were available. I just used news print cut in pieces and stapled them to the fence. Children could paint with brushes, fingers, onion tops, leaves, branches, pinecones, and a number of other things I found around the yard.

painting with leaves

natural paint brushes

watercolors over glue, relief paint for preschool

As the art party began, children were able to make designs on these papers with glue, then at the end of the party, I gave them liquid water colors to paint over the dried glue and make relief art. They thought that was pretty cool.

There are so many other options, these are just a few we did this time around. If you want to get inspired with children’s open ended art ideas, check out Pinterest. It’s always a great place to get ideas!

To read an interesting article on how creative art can change the lives of neglected and abused children, click here.

I wish you art, I wish you love, I with you the peace in your soul that art brings. I hope you will create something today and tell me all about it!

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

Pablo Picasso

 

What is Open Ended Play?

Open Ended Play Leads to Success for Children

What is open ended play and why does it matter? Open ended play is any activity that allows children to create unlimited scenarios on their own. If you give a child a stick or a cardboard box, they can create a variety of activities on their own that allow them to express themselves.

What are some resources for open ended play? A variety of art supplies could be used, boxes, sticks, rocks, sand, water, anything that doesn’t have to be used in a prescribed way such as a toy with one certain purpose. It could be most anything. All types of play are important for the child’s development, but open ended play offers some very important benefits.

Open ended play fosters creativity. With music and art no longer being seen as academic in schools, and the fast paced curriculum taught in schools, open ended play is sadly becoming a thing of the past. This is detrimental to children’s development.

Open Ended Play Leads to Success for Children

Think about the teacher who makes all of the children create art that looks just the same. Are the children learning from that project? They are learning the teacher doesn’t think they are talented or smart. Open ended play builds self-esteem and problem solving skills in children as well as allows them to share their feelings, and sometimes even provides them a way to ask for help. Children need to be creative. Self-expression helps children cope with their feelings and a tuned in teacher can learn about what the child is thinking and feeling through it.

Open Ended Play Leads to Success for Children
Creativity fosters mental growth in children by giving them the chance to try out new ideas and solve problems. Open ended activities celebrate uniqueness and diversity in each child and helps us focus on each child as an individual. Using their imagination is important for children to allow them to invent, grow, take chances, experiment, make mistakes in a safe environment and have fun. It develops life skills, innovation, and gives children a sense of achievement. Developmentally inappropriate practice at an early age such as flash cards and drills is even linked to mental illnesses. I want my children to have the very best chance for success and I know that comes from lots and lots of PLAY!

Creativity is one of the top factors in career success. Employers see it as an employable benefit. Everyone has the ability to be creative. It’s important we give children the opportunity to express themselves and be creative in every day play. So throw out some open ended supplies and let your children teach you today!

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