"I don't want to clean up the mess"


Most of us know that giving our kids opportunity to be creative is good for them (and us) for a number of reasons. For most the thought of the mess means that my holiday art classes are always full. Amongst those reasons are that being creative:

  • helps our kids learn: the brain rests when we are sleeping, playing or being creative. For example, how many of you have come up with the solution to a problem in the shower after a night of sleep?

  • releases dopamine a happy chemical that fights off the blues;

  • allows us to express ideas therefore improving our communication.

My most favourite reason is that in being creative with our kids we open up the lines of communication. How many times have you picked your kids up after school and being answered with a grunt when you ask them about their day? Of course, for all you who are educators or carers these tips are also for you. In my artclasses, I always have the child who finishes way before everyone else. Instead of telling them to read, why not give them a challenge? As a mum myself, I know time is precious so here are some activities that can be done in 5 minutes (if you can stop!). You can do these with your kids or good to start them off as they are a great antidote to the old "I'm bored" All you need is a space to create, paper (A4 printer paper is fine) and some coloured pencils. Combine it with some favourite music and you have a mini art class. Find a fish First get a blank piece of paper and cover the whole thing it with swirly scribbles. Then with your child find the fish. Once you have found some see if you can find other sea creatures or other things. If you have found everything challenge your child to colour in the remaining shapes so the whole paper is a coloured masterpiece. Squiggle Do you remember Mr Squiggle? I use this activity a lot in my classes. Draw a squiggle, it can be spikey or curly. Challenge your child to turn it into something. Kids love this and will quickly ask for another one. That is great but encourage your child to fill all the page. They can draw the scene or patterns. A good lesson in persistence. Kids can also give you a squiggle to try. Can you draw what I see? One of you draw a picture of anything simple - it could be a boat, face, car but dont show the other person. The person who drew it then has to describe it without saying what it is, for example put a barrier between you both. For example, if I drew a face I may say "In the centre of the page draw a big circle...." This is a really creative way to have some fun. If you were an inventor draw me a picture of what would you invent? This one combines problem solving and communication. Again encourage your kids to put as much detail into their invention and fill the page. In order to develop language and communication skills, ask your child open questions like "Tell me what you can see" or "Can you tell me how it works" to get them to describe their creations. Oh and about the mess, why not use one of those half filled scrap books that came home last year to contain all their creations! Please feel free to share this with people who may be interested.