I have discovered three key ingredients for nurturing creativity – in children and adults. To be creative, we all need time, space, and respect.
Last year I bought these wooden bird houses for my kids to turn into doll houses. My kids enjoyed the activity, but they kept their houses very simple. Lily actually refused to paint hers! This year they pulled them out and added all sorts of details. Lily color blocked her roof and the edges (Lily has always loved color blocking).
Emma and Johnny added all sorts of details to their already-painted houses – stripes, flowers, and other decorations. Emma wound up completely changing the color of her roof.
I had given each of the kids blank wooden peg dolls representing the different members of our family for Christmas. They played with them blank for months, and then, this week, they pulled them out and decorated them with Sharpie pens.
Lily colored each person a different color, and gave them adorable smiles that remind me of those that are embroidered on the kids’ owie dolls.
Johnny stuck with his favorite colors – green and black. I’m pretty sure that baby is actually from Emma’s set, but it snuck into this photo somehow.
Emma asked each family member color their particular doll. I think it is a neat idea – each family member, as we see ourselves, in this moment in time.
Then they pulled out our blocks and train set and set up a delightful play scene – which they played with all afternoon!
This project never would have happened if I had ignore my children’s need for time, space, and respect. Time to get creative and find ways to entertain themselves. Time to explore different ways of decorating their people and houses. Space to decorate their houses and people however they like – including leaving them undecorated, sometimes. And respect for their ideas, their desire to change a “finished” project, and the different ways they each approached this project.
They each have a couple people who are still waiting for finishing touches, and I know that Lily at least is not done decorating her house. I am excited to see how they continue this creative journey!