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View Diary: Creativity of Children (41 comments)

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  •  Short and sweet diary (8+ / 0-)

    with a very heavy question. How do we help kids keep hold of that creativity and run with it, thrive with it?

    Why do we define reality by how mundane life is or how full of obligations, real and perceived, our lives are?

    My daughter is a dancer, my son plays guitar - they are both in joy mode when they are performing. It's me who has to fight the urge to tell them, "that's fine, but now it's time to focus on other things." or to mimic my parents and steer them away from creativity to skills that will make them "employable."

    Our schools are set up to do that and they do it well. And not just to the kids. So many creative teachers are busy preparing students for standardized tests that running with their own ideas is just not possible.

    How often do we ask people who are passionate about art or writing or theater about what their real jobs are? How often are these the first programs to get cut from school district budgets?

    Allowing creativity to flourish is part of becoming a skilled problem solver, mediator, healer. It's not just about the arts.

    I'm an adult with kids, a full-time job and a mortgage. I miss paying attention to my creative spirit. It has languished. It's lethargic. I'm ready to define a new reality and breathe life back into it. It's the best example I can set for my kids as they prepare to lead their own lives.

    What great food for thought this simple diary is. Thank you.

    •  Great comment...agree fully (8+ / 0-)

      I had these thoughts too while reading the diary.   It's not that kids "lose" creativity, but instead it is constrained and sometimes suppressed and  then extinguished.

      Based on our own experiences with our child and friends and school, creativity needs to be fostered and integrated into a child's life and environment, especially as they become school-aged.   Creativity otherwise gets pushed to the side; creativity doesn't "just happen" unless a child is gifted and motivated to make it happen despite circumstances.  

      We were lucky that our daughter could attend a k-5 school where art is an integrated part of every subject.  e.g, Science projects always involve a creative visual element (could even be performance), and the same with history reports, etc.

      Also, there were many school projects throughout the year where the kids were allowed to express themselves through various art media.  This includes language arts, too.  

      Then twice a year, the school organized and posted all that artwork on walls and held an "open house" in the evenings for parents to view and appreciate all the artwork by all the children.   The school would also submit entries into local competitions, which I think also is very helpful to let the kids know that their artwork is respected and viewed as important.  

      Friends would say, "Oh, your daughter goes to that art school" and I would say, "Not exactly. She goes to a school that values art and uses it to help create a love of learning."  

      Whenever we travel, go out to dinner, etc., we always have art materials available for our daughter to occupy her time, attention, and energy.  There's always a set in each car.  We even have an unused deep freezer dedicated as an "art supply cabinet."  Even now as she's 12, when she wants to have some "downtime," she'll either read or do something is one of her outlets.  

      I don't know if causal factors involved, but she has never had an interest in video games.  A friend even gave her an unused one and my daughter never touched it.

      Oh--and role modeling is very important.  Besides our encouragement of our child's art, her older cousins have the same creative spirit and encourage her, and she sees us take time for creativity.  (Not as much as we'd like though!)

      Children's art is so beautiful---simple, wonderful colors, expressive, etc.

      •  hey- what you said about the video games- (7+ / 0-)

        my girls are like that too

        I gave my girls each a ds for xmas a few years back- they could have cared less. their dad gave them a wii two years ago and they used it maybe 2x.

        I have a few friends who keep very neat tidy houses- their kids play wii and xbox.  they would never, ever let their kids do the stuff my kids do. my kids wander from one project or drawing or painting or experiment to another. even in the kitchen- they like to make lemonade from scratch, so I always have a bag of lemons in the fridge. they do it themselves, start to finish.

        I also frame a lot of their stuff and hang it- sometimes I just tape it to the wall though.

        some of my friends just could not cope w/ the level of chaos we have going on here sometimes- i'd rather have it though and know my kids are learning and having fun. when they're a little older it might be easier to contain things, but right now I don't really try. the neighbor kids like it here, too.

        every once in a while i'll say something like "do you understand why i'm upset?" that's reserved for when they're not even trying to clean up, though.

        "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

        by thankgodforairamerica on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 11:30:04 AM PDT

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        •  My house is also in chaos (6+ / 0-)

          with projects in progress all over the place - indoors and out. My boys like video games; my daughter not at all. But they all have the freedom to explore their passions, make messes, creative and not, some responsibility around bringing order to chaos....and play video games. You don't have to sacrifice creativity, have one cancel out the other. One of my son's friends has started creating his own games, playing with programming.

          And we have friends who have "just so" homes. My kids are never sure how to behave in those environments. They clam up and become stiff -- getting outside the house helps loosen them up.

          I've had a couple people tell me my house has a nice feel, even when it's totally cluttered. Not dirty, just cluttered. Ok, maybe a little dirty... :)

          •  you just reminded me of what that dad did- (7+ / 0-)

            Dad Hacks 'Donkey Kong' for Daughter, Makes Pauline Rescue Mario

            When video game developer Mike Mika taught his 3-year-old daughter to play the Nintendo game "Donkey Kong," he had no idea he was about to make a statement on gender roles in the gaming world.

            Ellis, Mika's daughter, took an instant liking to the game, but wanted one tiny accommodation. She wanted to play a female character who climbs up the ladders and jumps over the baskets to rescue a male character, rather than playing a man who rescues a woman.

            Rather than introduce his 3-year-old to a modern female-led game, which could come with too much violence for his daughter, Mika said he decided to hack Donkey Kong to suit his needs.

            Saturday morning, Mika presented Ellis with the finished product: a fully working version of "Donkey Kong" in which Pauline is the main character and must rescue Mario, held captive by Donkey Kong at the end of each level.

            "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

            by thankgodforairamerica on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 01:18:02 PM PDT

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            •  forgot why this came to mind- (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, JDsg, texasmom

              the dad said he started hacking when he was a kid- now he has a career in computer programming.

              "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

              by thankgodforairamerica on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 01:20:58 PM PDT

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            •  And there's a dad setting an example (4+ / 0-)

              not only of feminism, but of creativity.

              A lot of people don't realize, when they see kids playing videogames, how often that turns into hacking games, creating games, creating art for games, etc. Games on the computer are an inspiration to creativity in the same way that real-world games are.

              And it's easy to nurture that sort of creativity. Once you have the computer, the 'materials' for each project cost nothing, and the sky is genuinely the limit.

              "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

              by kyril on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 04:53:48 PM PDT

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          •  ok, maybe a little dirty... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JDsg, Elizaveta

            yeah, when my brother came to visit a few years back he said what so many say about our house: "It feels lived in- but in a good way..."
            Clean enough to be healthy, cluttered enough to be happy, I always say. Meanwhile Don't Panic, and always have a towel handy!
            My favorite words with the under-five set: "Oh sure- you can use that..."

          •  Sounds like our house for about 17 years (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JDsg, Elizaveta

            Two boys - projects and experiments of all sorts, both inside and out.  Water displacement exercises were very popular in the early years, creating a good bit of havoc.  My husband eventually bought/made them a plastic canal system with locks and dams - to play with only on the deck.  

            They both turned into engineers, btw.

            The truth always matters.

            by texasmom on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:15:56 AM PDT

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      •  Montessori is like that (4+ / 0-)

        Our kids attend a Montessori school, where the arts are integrated into the wider curriculum.  It makes for some strange class plays when they are on stage singing about early human evolution, or bringing home art projects about pangaea, but they remember the material and build confidence through the performances.

        “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people.” ~ my new Senator Elizabeth Warren

        by Domestic Elf on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:24:26 PM PDT

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