Get Your Kids Creating.

How can you get your kids busy making
puppets? Or drawings? Or masks? Or jewelry? Or costumes? (Or making
anything for that matter?)

Many parents don't know where to start to
help guide their children into more creative adventures. Here are a few
basic steps that should make your home the creative nucleus it secretly wants to be.


1. Make time.

If we don't make time
for our own creativity it is asking a bit to much to expect our
children to find the time in their own experience. They live what they
learn, so make time to be creative yourself (in the presence of your
children) and with your kids, even if it is just a few moments here and there. Draw with them. Make a fairy fort
outside. Make paper masks. Sew, knit, paint. Anything. Create a new family ritual. (Steal our idea for a weekend morning Jammie Craft featured here and here.) Carve out the time, even if it is just five minutes, two days a week.


2. Have supplies available.

Supplies that you don't ration.
Nothing squelches creativity like a parent hovering and being miserly
about their materials. My kids have their own yarn because they were
"borrowing" yarn from my project cabinet which was making me freak. And their having to constantly ask for tape made me buy them their own tape dispenser so that mine stayed in the office.

Some of our favorites kids' craft supplies are: wool and cotton yarn,
cotton fabric, wool felt, sequins and glitter (these are kept on a high
shelf and used when I help with setup), glue, needles, thread,
embroidery floss, watercolors, kite paper, regular paper (white and colored), pencils,
crayons, and wooden bits.


3. Organize your supplies

…so that
kids can find what they need easily. Self-service is important to
encourage kids to follow their creative spark. Think kid's eye level
and accessible day-to-day location.

 We have a sideboard in our dining
room filled with supplies with labeled drawers. (The labels include pictures and words so that pre-readers can still find what they want.) We have a friend with a
devoted dresser of supplies. You'll find the right answer for your
space. It needn't be fancy – just orderly.


4. Unplug and Acquaint Yourself With Boredom.

(Now we're getting to the sticky ones.) Nothing brings a faster death to creativity than lots of screen time for a kid. The younger your child is the less media they should be exposed to. (A well-accepted standard is no screen time before two, thought many believe it should go much beyond two.)

Without screen time kids will get bored. And they'll whine. And fuss. And be dramatic. It will be uncomfortable.

And then out of pure desperation they'll engage their brains and get un-bored. And that's when the best magic happens. But you have to stick it out and have some great supplies at hand. Trust me. You'll curse my name along the way, but the destination will be so worth it. 

Worth saying that the screen-time reduction should go for everyone lest it appear to be a demented parental punishment.


5. Find your inspiration.

Have some simple crafts up your sleeve for when you have creative time with your kids. Maybe they'll be old favorites from your childhood. Tap into your friends. Call your mom. Or come here to see what we're up to. Other great blogs for quick crafts are Crafty Crow and Artful Parent.

6. Plant Seeds.

"When I was a kid I made the coolest puppet out of a toilet paper roll
and some construction paper." Plant creative seeds for your kids to
nurture. They'll take the lead and come up with some great creative
ideas of their own.


7. Get out of the way.

It is
wonderful to nudge children in the direction of creative expression,
but then get out of the way. Busy yourself with your own parallel
project (making your own puppet for example), or quietly slip away and
make dinner.

Their finished project does not need to be perfect. This can be hard for us to learn. As parents we tend to offer too many suggestions, too many
ideas, too much direction. They know what they are doing. This is their
project – not yours. (Let the big pink strawberry star in that spring
puppet show.)

Enjoy the journey. Let me know what transpires this weekend in your craft zone!


6 thoughts on “Get Your Kids Creating.

  1. renee @ FIMBY says:

    Rachel, This was very good and I don’t think you needed to “cushion the blow” so to speak with your “do what you like” intro (although I understand why you do that).
    People visit your blog because they like how YOU do it, are inspired by how you live. You shouldn’t need to say “this is how I do it but you can do it differently”. It’s implied. We all live our own lives but you should stand tall and stand proud with how you live yours, especially since I absolutely, totally agree with all your point (LOL!!)

    I have loved the freedom of accepting boredom as the avenue towards a burst of creativity. I no longer rush to fill the kid’s down time with a planned activity or craft. There’s a balance in this too. I need to be inspiring them with good reading, ideas and the outdoors but then they can take those ideas and create.

  2. Rachel Wolf says:

    Thank you, Renee. I struggled with whether to include it or not. Ive had many emails of people expressing a feeling of guilt/sadness coming here because of the contrast it brings up for them. But thats part of growing into what you really want in my opinion. Ive very sensitive so the thought of someone feeling sadness based on my words is hard to swallow. Thanks so much for your wisdom.

  3. Rachel Wolf says:

    I decided to move the intro/disclaimer to the comments.This has been a very fun post to write. I am stoked to share it with
    you but also the tiniest bit nervous. You see, I know that many people
    who come here live a very different lifestyle than I. One that does not
    afford them the luxury of all-day-craft-a-thons with their kids. A
    lifestyle that is maybe full of school and work and after-school
    activities and different obligations than I can imagine. I want this
    list to be a blessing to a variety of lifestyles.

    We all have different opinions of what is the right way to raise our
    kids and different choices weve made in how we raise our kids. I say,
    go with your gut and do your best, whatever that means. Find the joy.
    In this post is my gut, my best, my joy.

    Like everything I post here it is based on what works in our world. Sift out what resonates for you.

    Enough said. Ready to play?

  4. Rachel says:

    Love this post! (hi, btw! a friend sent me your post about making toothpaste, and here I am)

    I think having opportunities to be creative is so important. Last week on the Oscars, a guy (forgot who!) who won (forgot what!) said something along the lines of, “being creative is never a waste of time.”

    another Rachel

  5. Michelle S says:

    Hi there,

    I just recently found your blog and read all pages…I love it!!!

    Can I ask where you got the wooden boxes used to store your markers, scissors, crayons, etc. They are perfect and I am having trouble locating something like them.


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