Creative Play

courtesy of nor.org
courtesy of npr.org

According to PBS (n.d.), the ability to create something from personal experiences and feelings can nurture emotional health and assist with mental growth by providing opportunities to problem solve and think in new ways.  Adults benefit too because creative play leads to relaxation or stimulation of new ideas and mental growth.  With advantages like these, it is impossible to deny the impact it can also have on bonding time.  As single parents, it is crucial for us to bond with our children as we are their first peek into what the world is like “out there”.  We want them to trust us and our opinions more than they will trust their friends as we have been there, done that.  It is during this time, that walls can be broken down and conversations can filter in (for the older children).  Some of us struggle with the concept of being silly and getting dirty or letting our children find their way in creative play.  But, there is no failure or gong that goes off to signal foul play.  It is all fun, outside of the box fun, giggles, laughter, joy, eye contact, wonder, imagination, celebration, stimulation…play.  Don’t be scared that the carpet and the walls will become ruined (the odds that this will happen regardless are great).  Put on some clothes that you feel comfortable in and depending on the type of activity, that you don’t mind getting nasty.  First think of your child’s natural strengths and talents and build activities around those. After building self-esteem, transport them to new activities where they must think outside of the box and use their imagination.  I look back at my own childhood and since everyone else in the household was an adult and worked long hours, I had to entertain myself.  I set up concerts using my Barbie dolls, created castles with Lego’s, completed latch hook and paint by number pieces, collected garbage pail kid cards, rocks, stamps, etc.

But, now there are so many other options out there and our kids are glued to screens instead of manipulating pieces and putting things together with their hands to create something new, whether or not it turns out the way that they intended.  Below, I have listed some options for creative play with your child by age group.  I hope that this helps and you try some of these this summer when you have more time with them than during the school year.

Toddlers & Young Children:

  • foam blocks
  • foam tangram
  • finger paints outside, in the tub, on a wooden table
  • Wii just dance or any dance game on the Wii or Kinetic for Xbox
  • decorate clay pots
  • use towel paper rolls to create instruments, kaleidoscope, animals like color snakes, etc
  • fruit loop necklaces
  • create a rainbow with paper plates and colorful streamers
  • just color (crayons, blank paper, huge coloring book)

The great thing about toddlers is that they are more interested in the box than the contents. Utilize everyday household supplies to save money and create with what you have.  Small ones love to get messy and make a lot of noise so keep that in my mind.

Tweens:

  • make lip gloss, soap, candy
  • bake a cake that looks gross but tastes wonderful
  • let them design a menu and make the meal (with your assistance of course)
  • watch a YouTube video together and learn a new dance move
  • put together a skit, write it and act it out
  • put together a dance routine
  • Wii Zumba
  • latch hook
  • paint by number
  • watch a YouTube video and learn how to crochet and knit (make a scarf)
  • purchase a science experiment book and try one a week
  • make jewelry
  • up cycle a pair of jeans or a t-shirt and make it something new
  • paint glass

Remember there are a lot of items that you can obtain from your local dollar store.  You don’t need to go to some expensive craft store to get started.  Also, use your seasons; in the summer collect seashells and place them in clear containers, in the fall, gather some leaves and create something, in the winter make something besides a snow man with the snow, and in the spring plant a garden.

Teens:

  • make snow globes
  • create a musical
  • shadow boxing
  • create an iPad sleeve from recycled resources or old clothing
  • make a journal from scratch
  • vision boards
  • bejeweled iPhone cases or jazz them up in a different way
  • learn to sew together
  • Wii Michael Jackson

Okay, the Wii showed up in each category but it is really fun and my kids love to see me let my hair down, plus I get some exercise.  If you can think of anything else, please add to the list in the comments.  If you have questions please feel free to contact me here in the comments or via Twitter.  Now, go play with your kids!

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If you Dare Me…

I will tell you the whole,being-transparent1

Unmitigated truth

It will spill from me

Like lava from a volcano

It may consume all the

Inhabitants in its immediate path

But from the burnt ground

And discarded souls

You will hear the truth

See it in the soil

Bare, naked

But rich, fruitful and renewed

If you dare me…

I will wait for you to pick

Up the ashes of my truths

And carefully handle them

Until they are cool against your heart

I will wait until your eyes

And mind connect the dots

While your conscience makes

A decision that your subconscious could not

If you dare me…

I’ll let my truth linger

For a moment in your village

I’ll let you rebuild your home

Decorate it new again, fresh again

But, if for any reason

You let the ashes from the lava of my truth

Completely be blown away and taken up by the tide

I will never be transparent

For you again.

 

 

Answering the Call

ImageSo, I’m an educator and I am proud of this but there is something tugging at me.  It keeps nudging me and whispering how I will be known for education activism and my writing.  I will be a renowned author and I keep hearing it in my head.  Every time I look at the classifieds for a part time job to bring in extra income to pay the bills, I hear it.  As I go from my day job, to my night job, to come home and help the kids and then attend online class, I hear it.  And recently it started upping the ante.  It is know stating very matter-of-factly that I should not take another part time job and more time away from the kids or pursue yet another masters degree, just write.  The rest will work itself out.  It’s almost supernatural like I am following this voice and not my common sense that screams bills, bills, bills.  Yet I am happy to know the answer to my over-decade-old question ” who am I and what will I do?” I will write and people will read.  Some will love what I have to say and some will not.  I will hone my craft as time goes by and I will spend time with my kids and be happy and at peace.  I am loving this newfound epiphany.  Just write! And that is exactly what I will do.  If there is something that you have been obsessing over or that has been haunting you, confront it.  Maybe there are dozens of incomplete projects ( I know this situation personally).  Take one out and complete it.  Then go to the next.  Live the life that you want NOW and stop waiting for a more ‘opportune time’.  The time is NOW!