- Family and Parenting
7 Ways to Get Creative & Beat Boredom
Why Get Creative?
Most parents will acknowledge that creativity is important to some degree yet research undertaken shows that in the USA creativity scores among children have significantly reduced since the 1990's. http://www.parenting.com/article/creative-play
Nowadays some people feel that education has become 'linear' we test children on specific outcomes and time and chances to explore creativity may be becoming more limited. With creative endeavours the focus is often on the process rather than the 'end' product. It is often associated with the Arts BUT creativity is a way of approaching things, a way of thinking - so it is perfectly possible, and desirable, to think creatively about a familiar task - so we talk about people who may cook creatively or think creatively about design or media, coming up with new and innovative ideas.
Developing creativity in our children is good, but it also something they will enjoy and it will help them in all of their studies and learning.
1 -Get Arty
Perhaps this is what we first think of when we mention creativity - something to do with art or drawings. Well its a great place to start with children and young people. There is a long list of ways you can be creative with art! . Start with any type of drawing painting activity - art products CAN be expensive but you can also get simple sets of paints and use scrap paper or the back of wall paper if you have a strict budget. Young children will often just dive straight in but if they are reticent give them ideas, their favourite superhero, simple objects put a few things they can copy from or draw something for them they can then paint. If the weather is good, going outdoors to either draw or paint OR collect things to paint - like small pebbles which can be painted - or to use in painting like leaves for printing.
2 Get Crafty
As a step on from painting and drawing try collages with any material you have to hand, feathers fabrics (from old clothes for example), tin foil, packaging the list is quite honestly endless. Obviously glue is required but this doesn't cost a lot. Making personalised cards is easy too and something children always enjoy.
Paper mache is great for crafty projects too and when dried can easily be painted. Try something like creating a papier mache bowl. Simply turn a bowl upside down, cover with cling film then and build up layers of news paper or other paper and pva glue. When it is several layers thick and has dried it will be just like the bowl and can then be varnished (you can do this by adding a further layer of PVA glue and then painted. Nowadays you can also often buy 'pottery' ready to paint in many stores. This idea can be extended try making a treasure box by decorating a small box. There are lots of ideas on line so it might be worth a bit of research before you start working with the children the link below is a good place to start. http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/papermacheartscraftsideasideaskids.html
3 Get Cooking
I have yet to come across a child who doesn't enjoy some kind of 'cooking' and its actually something a lot of teenagers really enjoy too and let's be honest nothing beats a home made cake or cookie.
You can start simply by meting chocolate adding a bit of syrup and a breakfast cereal like, cornflakes or crispies - not strictly much actual cooking involved but children love it. Ring the changes by using a Mars or Snickers bar to replace the chocolate. Popcorn can also be fun though again not a lot of cooking is required. For younger children where great care is required with anything hot then try decorating plain biscuits or cupcakes - add some icing which can be made simply with icing sugar and water then use sweeties like smarties, marshmallows or sprinkles to decorate the biscuit or cake.
But children will also enjoy making almost anything - in fact making sandwiches can be fun especially if you then take them on a picnic or making pizzas (you can easily buy the dough) and get them to add toppings of their choice.
There are plenty of ideas if you follow this link http://www.kids-cooking-activities.com/
Obviously the activity has to be tailored to the age of the child and when you are the kitchen be aware of the safety aspects but it is also a great way to teach them about nutrition, health and hygiene in the kitchen while they are having fun.
4 Get Musical
Almost all human beings love music in some form or another and children will usually respond to music from being very small. Instruments like tin whistles, recorders, ukuleles, keyboards or harmonica's can be used to produce a sound instantly. Some may be very expensive but if the children are young then 'toy' versions will suffice and are usually very cheap. But remember that young children will enjoy 'making' instruments, like shakers (2 plastic cups with some rice inside taped together around the open ends) or drums by finding old containers that can be 'banged'.
There are also lots of computer type games where tunes can be made - but the important thing is to spend a bit of time and again give some input - try making loud and quiet sounds, find low and high notes and use fast or slow rhythms. Follow this link for a few ideas of instruments you can make at home with children http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/musical-instruments
6 Get Pretending
We all know that children love to use their imagination and they enjoy all aspects of pretending. At a simple level just join in with their pretend game and create a restaurant when they are playing with their toy kitchen or a workshop, hospital, hairdressers or anything else. Young children love repetition so this can keep them amused for ages.
But also think of making up stories, a great way is to get each person to write or 'say' a bit of the story and possibly make up one character these can then be put together and 'told' or even written and with a few pictures it is easy to produce a book or the idea can even be performed as a play and then filmed.
The important part is not the finesse of the end product but the process, getting them to actively use their imagination for a purpose and they do come up with some fabulously inventive ideas.
5 Get Making
Almost everyone has some old clothes, so before they make it to the recycling bin or charity shop, use some of them to help kids make things. For fashion conscious teenagers they can try a remodel there are some ideas here http://www.sewing.org/html/teen.php
Don't worry that young children can't use a needle because there are lots of projects where glue can be used or only a small amount of sewing is needed which means that the adults, or older children, can get to be involved too just for the actual sewing.
A sock can be used to make a puppet and left over wool can be used to make pom poms that can then be used to make 'creatures'. But things like small bags and purses can easily be made from felt or other fabric. There are also lots of fairly cheap kits where different cuddly toys can be created with sewing, knitting, weaving or crocheting and a few more crafty ideas can be found here http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/crafts
Use old clothes for sewing projects
7 Get Performing
Children love putting on a show and if there are a few children they will often enjoy actually creating a whole variety show. Singing, dancing, a trick or some magic as well as 'sketches' can be incorporated.
But they will also enjoy making a programme, finding costumes, or props and even making tickets - it doesn't matter that there may only be you in the audience, though if groups of children are together there could even be 2 or 3 and if grandparents or other relatives are visiting then they it could be a great audience! If there are younger children or some who don't want to perform its easy to find another role for them and obviously you are governed by space but don't a smaller space stop you giving it a go - they'll simply have to be creative about how they use it.
If space really is an issue then perhaps a puppet show could work - it's easy to make sock puppets or glove puppets and these can be the performers.
Creativity is good for both children AND adults so when the cry comes that they are bored use it as a chance to get creative. Keep it safe though and bear the following points in mind
- Make sure scissors are appropriate for the age and always supervise children when they are using scissors or any other sharp object.
- In the kitchen be especially vigilant with anything hot.
- Make sure that all glues are safe for the age of the children and that materials are non toxic
- If some parts of the task are a bit tough for the child offer help BEFORE they get frustrated
- Do a bit of forward planning to make sure the activity goes smoothly
Remember that these are just a few suggestions, there are plenty more, get creative in the garden ,or make a miniature garden on a plate for example.