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.




2 thoughts on “Free-flowing creativity doesn’t need a search engine

  1. How did it go? Would love to hear how they turned out!

    I think it depends on the kid, how much direction you should give them. My three are all very different. The oldest feels completely blocked unless you tell him exactly what to do – but at the same time, pictures like this would make him not even want to start because he’d feel he couldn’t make it perfect-perfect. My middle daughter wouldn’t be interested – she’d want to create from her own mind. My youngest would be able to look at these for ideas, then run with it – she’s the perfect Pinterest audience!

    • The stones are beside me in my outdoor office waiting to be painted. We did the collecting and washing, but then were doing this and that and then the fridge broke and yada yada… but I will blog about it when we paint. The day will come… 🙂

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