My NOW is being totally open to allowing a creative project to take on a life of its own. With Liam, my very spirited, high energy three year old, it HAS to be okay if the "food coloring t-shirt" project, turns into a "food coloring our bodies" project. My NOW, is being in the NOW.
I would say creativity, second to unconditional love, is the foundation to our parenting. It is what brings us all together and what makes our eyes twinkle :) I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and was in dance my entire life. My husband is also very artistic. Creativity and creative play, is what makes our good days better and adds a shining light to those days that just aren't so great!
There are a few things. First, my childhood. I grew up in a home of fairy tales and finger paint. A home where it was okay, in fact, it was the rule, to make a mess and enjoy every minute of it. So, I know what it feels like to have creativity be such an integral piece of love. Second, I see the sparkle in my son's eyes when he is elbow deep in colored spaghetti noodles or mixing a cake using only the finest ingredients of goldfish crackers, rice, marshmallows and fruit snacks! The last thing that inspires me, is the pride I see in my son's face when he shows other people his "creations." It makes me smile seeing him understand a sense of accomplishment.
I nurture Liams creativity by allowing him to "steer off course." Similar to my first answer, I think it's important for children to understand that although the actual projects may have a few boundaries (for example, "Please do not let the doggie lick your paint brush clean this time."), creativity is limitless. I want my son to know that it's OK to see what color the colored ice makes his tongue, even though the project was intended for paper. (Check out the Ice Cube Art Project HERE.)
What sticky noodles can you offer other Moms taking on the creative with their kids?
Here are my sticky noodles to all parents who want to take on the creative with their children. These are all things that have worked for me and some that I have had to learn.
• Allow your children to bring out your OWN inner child.
• If you are worried about the project because of the mess, then it's not the right project or you have to embrace the mess.
• If your child steers off course from the original "plan," applaud it.
• ALWAYS have food coloring on hand.....It is BY FAR the most used creative tool in my house!
• Remember that almost everything can be washed, and if it can't, then don't be creative there. Move to a place that can be painted, sprayed and colored.
Some of my favs that are simple:
1. Use food coloring and vegetable oil with cooked spaghetti noodles and let your child go crazy! (Go HERE for the Noodle Coloring Project)
2. Shaving cream + food coloring + cookie sheet + small toys to "dig" for = at least 1/2 hour of fun! (Go HERE for details)
4. Add 2 parts food coloring to 1 part water in squirt gins or water bottles and spray white t-shirts or pillow cases. It almost disapears when you wash it and it can be done over and over again.
What is your child's favorite noodle dish?
Liam's favorite "noodle" dish (if creativity is a noodle) is any time he can get dirty! The messier the better.
His actual real life food favorite is plain old spaghetti and home made sauce (or "gravy" as I have learned from NY'ers!)
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