Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Create This

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I don't consider myself a creative person.  Not artistically anyway.  I could blame that on a couple of middle school teacher experiences, but more than that it probably has to do with a perfectionistic leaning that seems to flair up when it comes to things of "permanence" - such as painting or tie dying. I've tried not to pass this on to the kids with some  success.  So far no one has jumped both feet into the visual arts, but they are quite willing to engage in a variety of projects for their own enjoyment and benefit - including such things as duck tape clothing (and other items), other types of clothing decoration and creation, drawing, painting, cardboard construction, "cooking dangerously" and others that aren't coming to mind at the moment. Many of these things they pursue at home and for those that are beyond the scope of my experience or willingness to indulge the mess I find other places and opportunities.  This is the mom that I am and I'm [mostly] okay with that.

When I saw this months carnival topic I strongly considered not submitting anything.  I don't have a great tutorial to offer nor any ideas for creative stimulation that belong in Family Fun. But as I pondered the question of how we create as a family I began to feel like there was a bit of something that I could share.

In our family we create with ideas.  I am fairly introspective (everyone who knows me can make sarcastic gasps now) and tend toward big picture thinking.  I like to synthesize ideas, concepts, opportunities.  This is what we do together.  We think, we ponder, sometimes we put these into action either ourselves or by stimulating others to act.  If a child approaches me with some thought about the universe or the things in it that they've run across we look at it, discuss it, explore complementary and contrasting ideas.  It is critically important to me that my children see ideas as questionable and facts as manipulable.  Not that I'm a complete relativist - but only that it is as important (if not more important) to know the question that was asked and by who in relation to the answer that was given than the answer itself.

So how does this look in our family? Mostly lots of talking with each other and among friends who have different points of view and different life experiences.  "What if" questions make regular appearances.  Just as an artist might ask and trial "what if I painted this blue?" or "what if I draped the fabric this way?" we might ask "what if this person was still alive?" or "what if scientists had looked at this part of the question instead?"  There is also a lot of "why" even past the age of three. "Why do you believe this particular "truth" of this one?" or "Why do you interpret and then act on these words or actions in the way that you do?" or even "Why were these assumptions made prior to even engaging in exploration?"

It isn't the way we normally think of creativity and there is nothing to hang on the wall to show off to the grandparents, but I believe that many of the mental exercises are the same. A willingness to try new things, experiment, and possibly fail.  However these experiences are achieved I think that they contribute to a vital and fulfilling life and I hope it is something that my children keep with them through adulthood.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

This is an excellent example of creating with kids - you're creating thought patterns, open minds, curiosity - love it :)

Amy @ Anktangle said...

I really enjoyed your take on this month's topic! Talking, pondering, exploring ideas, and dreaming out loud are incredibly creative and expressive.

jessica said...

Thanks! For a long time if I was asked it I was creative I would say no way! I am so not in any traditional artsy activities. I'll do some basic crafts - like easy level knitting or sewing, but am all about having directions and following them LOL.

I think it was when I was taking a leadership class several years ago that it dawned on me that analysis and synthesis - not to mention curiosity - were creative processes.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

I love this! This is exactly what I (now) encourage in myself and my children. Sam & I grew up as "good students," which meant we never questioned anything we were taught. I really want better now!

I did always love "what-if" games, though. I think that's what made me a fiction writer. :)

Anyway, thank you so much for making us think creatively with your take on the topic! :)

Amanda said...

As others have said, what you are talking about is creativity and certainly one of the most important kinds! Creativity could never be "traditional" in any sense...otherwise it wouldn't be creative :)You are encouraging great things from your children!

Sylvia@MaMammalia said...

I love your line of creative questioning! Expansive thinking is sort of the foundation for creativity. I remember playing thinking games with myself as a young child. Now I see that it was my own form of creative thought. What a great thing to share with your children.

mrs green @ littlegreenblog said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I'm not creative as in art either, but I do create in the kitchen and I ALWAYS create thoughts and ideas, so I could totally resonate with what you said - thanks for sharing your unique perspective on this month's theme :)