Friday, October 17, 2008

Heart of the Matter Meme: Being Creative

This week's Heart of the Matter meme asks for ideas for the non-creative moms or those that think they’re not creative. "What are some of the best projects your family has done? What fun things doing you remember doing as a child? Are you naturally creative or did you have to learn? Any sites you could share? "

I'm a pretty creative mom. When we first started homeschooling, I was definitely one of those ultra-crafty moms, but I've become less and less inclined to be crafty through the years. Now I have to remind myself to do crafts with the younger two, and they get very excited when we do.

Autumn definitely brings out the creative side of me. When my kids were really little, one of their favorite things was the fall bracelet. This is so easy and somehow so thrilling to them. Just take a piece of clear packing tape and put it around their wrists. Go outside and find bits of nature to stick on the tape: bits of leaves, grass, flower petals, etc. (Sticks don't work too well; flat objects are best.) When the bracelet is fairly well loaded, cut it off and put another piece of tape over the top. Now they have a bookmark or just an autumn keepsake! Or, if they're like my kids, they won't want you to cut it off and they'll keep adding more objects to it throughout the day until it is sagging off their wrists.

Of course we always have to do leaf collections and rubbings each year. One year we did leaf rubbings in lots of different colors on white paper, glued the white paper on orange or yellow construction paper, and then covered it all with clear contact paper for placemats. You can have them label the type of tree and/or copy a fall poem onto this, as well, before covering it with contact paper.

Another perennial craft at this time of year seems to be fruit and/or vegetable stamping. You just need poster paint and a variety of fruits and/or vegetables, which you can cut into various shapes. One year we made acrostics to go with each fruit/vegetable. So, for example, we wrote an acrostic poem for apple, like
Pink lady
Pies, sauce, crumble, crisp
Love to eat you just like you are
Excellent fruit.
and then stamped the edges with various shapes cut from apples. You could do this now with pumpkins, squash, pears, potatoes, etc. or do the same thing with leaves, making your acrostic poems from the names of trees. If the kids get tired of acrostics, this would be a great time to try other form poetry like haiku or cinquain. Here's a great site that briefly introduces types of form poetry.

My favorite sites for craft ideas are Enchanted Learning (click here for autumn crafts), Crayola, and Family Fun.

In our house, though, most of my kids' creativity is self-initiated. Essential to being creative is to have an abundant supplies. We have a big tub that we call the invention box. This is where all those things go that you say, "What could we make with this?": egg cartons, styrofoam chunks, paper towel and toilet paper cardboard rolls, shoeboxes, containers of all sorts, etc. I also stock up on all the essentials each summer when the school supplies are on sale, so we have ample markers, crayons, scissors, glue, and paper. (It's a good idea to keep back some of each so that you can bring out fresh markers, etc., during the year.) I usually put fresh supplies in my younger kids' Christmas stockings, too, and also some extras like their own rolls of masking tape, poster paint, and some other exciting craft item like plastic eyeballs or pipe cleaners. We live big here.

(And that reminds me: one of my daughter's favorite gifts was when I made her a craft supply center. I just bought one of those craft/tool organizers (sort of like this) at Walmart and filled each drawer with all sorts of things: beads, glue sticks, eyeballs, ribbon, pipe cleaners, pom poms, etc.)

All that to say, if you give a kid an empty box, he'll ask for a pair of scissors. If you give him a pair of scissors, he'll ask for a piece of tape. If you give him a piece of tape, well, you know the rest.

Related posts on SmallWorld:
Celebrating Autumn Resources
Apple Unit Study
Teaching Creative Writing
Combating the January Blahs

For more ideas, visit Heart of the Matter!


  1. Great ideas to get us in a crafty mode! :)

  2. scissors are always the first thing they ask for......
    thanks for the nudge

  3. It's been so fun to watch Caroline come home from preschool and say, "Look what I made!"

    The pride in her little face makes it all worthwhile -- and means that my fridge is COVERED!!

  4. Great ideas! I enjoyed reading this post. Santa got my 6 year old her own craft center last Christmas and she was so excited! Our houses sound a little similar- we have an invention box, too. (Need to hide from husband because he wants to throw the items out!!) Also, love to give different craft supplies at holidays, etc. and see what they can create on their own. When they were small I would give them blank paper instead of coloring books and I think this helped to foster creativity in them even at a small age. We still like to do a coloring page here and there, but they much rather have a sheet of blank paper. Thanks for visiting my site. I'll be sure to explore your site as well!!
    Jen @ Creative and Curious Kids!!

  5. Great ideas! It's fun to see what the kids come up with on their own. We used to make lots of things out of discarded boxes--musical instruments, paintings, and even a robot.

  6. Painting with food is so much fun. My kids love doing that. I have never thought of the bookmark/bracelet. I am going to have to do that with my kids this year. Thanks for visiting me. :)

  7. part of the reason i picked the curriculum that we use is because it focuses on art heavily. crafty things are intertwined with their lessons. my kids love that. my only complaint is the constant mess the crafts create! i wish i had a separate room like yours for school.

  8. Just wanted to let you know that you just received a creative blog award over at Creative and Curious Kids!!

    Congrats and so happy to have found your blog!!

    Many blessings,

  9. WOW!! Great ideas! I just hope to get through a day....LOL!!
    Thanks for sharing!


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