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. Continue reading

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.

Halloween crafts with preschoolers and toddlers

Halloween never meant much to me BC (before children). I mean, sure, I liked the candy, or the idea of candy at least. But considering that I’ve researched what goes IN some candies these days make me not only not want to eat it, but also keep it from the kids.

Of course the 4yo will have issues with that.  But we’ll cross that bridge later.

In the meantime, I still have to keep these little monkeys occupied and stimulated while they are home with me. So what’s a mother to do?

Why, crafts, of course!

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I don’t know where I got the idea to make these spider-like bugs. Probably a combination of googleing and pondering during the many hours of peace and silence I enjoy each day (enter loud and hysterical laughter).

Anyway, I was at the Dollar Store and saw black pipe cleaners. Once I got home I saw stuff that needs to be thrown out, so I kept a black garbage bag aside after purging to my heart’s content (enter more hysterical laughter). The funky eyeballs I had in my craft bin, and there are always old newspapers hanging around in every nook and cranny of this house.

Here’s how it’s done:

Get the child to crumble up the newspaper into a ball.
Cut the garbage bag into a square that is large enough to cover the newspaper ball.
Tie the four ends at the bottom (the spider’s tummy).
Use the scissors to punch holes into the plastic-covered newspaper, near the bottom where the knot is, and feed the pipe cleaner through. Those will be the legs.
You will have to twist the pipe cleaner to stay in place if you have a toddler who likes to pull things out of things.
Attach the eyeballs with some glue.

* * *

Another day, Benjamin started bugging while I was busy flickring and picniking. So I pulled out black and orange paper and helped him cut them into strips. We were going to make a garland.

Cutting paper has been something he enjoyed doing for many years. They teach cutting with real scissors at Montessori to toddlers, and with supervision, you’d be surprised how quickly they master this tricky skill. Using tape or glue just adds to the fun!

papergarland

While he was busy cutting and taping, I used the strips of paper to teach him some simple addition and subtraction.

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* * *

Of course cutting paper that is folded in half, making interesting holes to peek through, is a big hit too. So one night after dinner, when there was little effort on their part to play quietly, I pulled out paper and scissors and had them sit at the table. I had no clue what to make, and just starting fooling around with the paper. Before you knew it, we had this on our living room wall:

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I’m really enjoying this preschool age. He is such a sponge when it comes to learning new things, and introducing him to new things has stimulated me beyond my wildest imagination.

As far as the 2yo is concerned, she wants to participate, and so I let her. Not that I have an option here…but she is very interested, and as long as she doesn’t destroy other people’s stuff, I can usually find something to keep her occupied as well. She loves glueing, she likes taping tape to paper, she’s trying to manipulate the scissors, and when she gets bored, I give her things to sort, or count.

So far, so good. And our house is all decorated with homemade stuff!