Free-flowing creativity doesn’t need a search engine

I sometimes wonder if the internet actually does the opposite of inspire…especially when it comes to creativity.

We all seem so taken with the internet…don’t know something? Type it into a search engine. Want to be inspired? Check Pinterest (or whatever). Feel like procrastinating? Social media.

But when it comes to actually creating something artistic, frankly, I don’t feel like we need to do any Google searches at all. Especially when it comes to the imagination of children. Let them think up their own thing, and create freely and without the constraints of someone’s preconceived idea.

But, there I was with my morning coffee, thinking about our afternoon activity, laptop handy…

Case in point: as a diversion, and since we’re dog-sitting today, I thought we could head down to the pebble beach in the afternoon today. It’s a nice day, the dog will love frolicking in the water, and the kids always find things to occupy themselves on the shores of Lake Ontario. Upon return I thought we could perhaps paint some of the collected pebbles, and use them to decorate our garden.

I had visions in my head what I was going to make: bugs, mostly, like ladybugs and butterflies.

I did not share this thought with the kids. I simply said ‘we could paint some pebbles for the garden’.

This morning however, I typed into Google the search term painting pebbles and the images that returned, mostly from pinterest but also from other sources, were astounding. There is SO MUCH creativity out there, it’s simply phenomenal.

I showed the pictures to the kids.


While we were looking at the pictures, this current blog post percolated in my head. I had mostly questions:

  • Should I have shown the pictures to them at all?
  • Are they now per-conditioned to paint the pebbles the way they saw, or are they truly inspired to do their own thing?
  • Will they still create freely or will they copy something they saw on the internet?

I think we’ll just experiment a little later on. See what they come up with. Even the 9yo Minecraft-obsessed child is interested in trying his hand at this project, and he’s not usually too keen on painting or drawing. What I did discover is that if we leave him alone and go about doing our thing, it won’t be long when his curiosity peaks, and he asks to join us…

So, we are going to be painting pebbles.




Crafts with kids – the letter S

The  letter S

I was inspired by this fantastic blog. And since my kids love to do crafts, why not teach them something about letters, reading and writing at the same time!

My 4yo boy already knows the letter. He was introduced to reading and writing at his Montessori daycare using the phonetic method. Yet when I came out with the supplies to create art with the letter S, his eyes lit up!

First, I showed both him and his toddler sister how to trace the letter out with his finger. Watching him do this, it emphasized many things for me that allowed me to further expand my role in helping him reach his reading and writing potential. Things like:

  • He is definitely left-handed. Up until last year he often switched hands, but it is evident now that he will always prefer his left hand to do most things with.
  • He recognizes the letter, can sound it out, and see it in the written word (mostly if the word begins with the letter S), and has for a while.
  • He can think of words that begin with S (sun, snow).
  • He can write it, but it does not remain upright. At this point, crooked, sideways or even upside down, is of no concern to me.

While introducing the letter to them, I said the following:

This is the letter S.
It makes an ssss sound.
Sssss for snake.
What other words begin with Sss?

We then proceeded to create a Snake.

The kids decorated their S with stamps, markers, and stickers. Benjamin tried to write it by tracing it, and by copying it right on the page. I then remembered I had some workbooks I used at the cottage in the summer, so I got one and he continued practicing.

If you have younger children participating, just let them sit there along with the older child. They will amuse themselves as long as the supplies are handy.

A few days later, anxiously waiting for snow that never came, I thought of making another S picture.

Paper crafts

Paper Birds

Andrea from the fishbowl made these recently with her daughters and I thought it was a great idea to try with my almost 4 year old.

So while the kids were napping (at the same time, how unusual!) I prepared the paper birds and got all the supplies ready. Not sure how fancy Ben would get with markers, I also included stickers for decorating purposes. The results were actually quite pleasant!