Today I have a visitor! I’ve opened my blog up to Kara of If Mama Ain’t Happy to share how she loves to get the creative juices flowing and I have to say she is a girl after my own creative heart! May her words inspire you:
Every now and then in my domain of homeschool land I find myself driving my kids to just get their to-do list done. Sometimes it’s just inevitable. I mean, stuff just has to get done. I’m in my twelfth year of homeschooling and if I have learned one thing it’s that my kids need to be creative to be productive. If school work has become drudgery, or brings on tears in under 30 seconds, I know it’s time to get the creative juices flowing.
Some days that’s easier said than done. First off, getting creative means something different to everyone. Second, sometimes the fear of not doing something right will hold us back from trying something new.
When we’re stuck in a rut and can’t get out I have a few go-to sure-fire ways to get my people excited:
Sometimes that means a quick walk around the block, other times it means a hike in the woods. It all depends on how long we’ve been cooped up in the house and what the weather is doing. When I was in college taking child development classes I observed in a pre-school. The teacher insisted that, rain or shine, the children spend at least two twenty minute sessions outside every day. That has stuck with me all these years later. Everyone benefits when you get outside to get some fresh air, and seeing the colors of Creation, taking time to notice minutia can be enough to loosen up the stagnant rivers in the kids’ brains. The kids may grumble when I announce it’s time to go out but I notice on the way back inside they’re all (mostly) smiling.
Doodle. Color. Paint. Whatever tickles your fancy. It's super important to give kids options and time to just create. This year I decided to buy each of my four kids a sketch book. This has been a stretch for some of my less artsy inclined children, but it has taught them to think out of the box. Sometimes I give them a topic, sometimes we find magazines to cut pictures for collages. The first time we journaled we went to a park. It was not the harmonious experience I had hoped because it challenged the kids to be creative with a different medium besides Legos or scrolling on Pinterest. It was great, though, to watch the kids share their work later that evening with their Dad. I'm not as diligent about getting out the bag I was the first weeks of school, but when I get the satchel that holds the art journals and supplies I hear way more cheers than groans.
Tidy up. This is my least favorite but most helpful tactic to encourage innovative thinking. I will just go on and confess that I am far from a neatnik. My husband might even call me a clutter bug. I think of myself as someone who organizes with piles. Piles on the couch, piles on the table, or any flat surface, actually, and piles on the floor. I do not know many homeschoolers who avoid the eventual pile up that occurs when you do school at home. I do know, however, that when our house is (mostly) tidy we are much more productive, and therefore much more creative.
Pump up the jam. Well, maybe not with Salt-N-Peppa, but putting music on helps bring out the imagination. As a young mom I would sometimes call out, “Dance party!” and my little people would come get their groove on in the kitchen with me. I still sometimes call for a Dance Party, but we also like to listen to genres that are new. It’s how we learn what we like. It’s also how I can get my kids to do something they would ordinarily think they couldn’t do. Having them paint, draw, or write a story as they listen to new music allows them to enter their own world and interpret what they’re hearing on their own.
Being creative every day is vital to our homeschool, and really just to being alive. I believe that being creative connects us to our Creator, and look at how creative He is! I think getting out play dough, throwing some Legos on the table, playing with glue, taking pictures of nature, anything that fuels the artistic tendencies in children will get those juices going.
Sometimes, parents even find themselves getting creative!
See? What’d I tell you? Super inspiring!
Thanks Kara for stopping by & dropping off some sweet & creative encouragement!