Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Artistic Endeavors Of Children

Fire Engine for Connor by Gabby 7 yrs old 05Jan2010

Children are amazingly creative and full of an abundance of ideas. Drawing, storytelling and other artistic endeavors come naturally to them. It's important to encourage children in their artistic and creative pursuits.

There are many different ways for children to express themselves creatively. Some children like to color with crayons or colored pencils. Some children like to paint. Some children prefer to draw in pencil or ink. Some children love to tell stories or to write them down once they are old enough to do so. Some children love to take photographs. Some children love to cook and make up recipes. Some children love to sculpt and play with playdough. Some children love to dance. Other children love to act and play imaginary games.

It's a good idea to let your child use a variety of different methods to express their creativity. He will naturally be drawn to one or two, sometimes more, but by giving your child a variety of forms for his self expression, you give your child a variety of ways to express his creative side and this helps to keep him open to new ideas.

I have helped my children by creating self-published books from their drawings and stories. I help them by typing up the stories they tell me, and asking them questions as they tell the stories to keep the stories moving. I always show them that I am interested in the stories they tell and proud of them for being storytellers.

I have started blogs for my kids to showcase their different forms of self-expression. Gabriella has her own blog where she decides what to post. It's called Gabby's Art Gallery. Isabella has a blog that showcases some of the fairy stories that she has told. It's called Tangle Fairies. Through Innocent Eyes: Art By Children is a blog that shares artwork and drawings from all of the children. Imaginative Minds: Writing By Children is a blog that shares all of the stories they have told over the years.

In order to encourage them to do more than just tell stories and draw pictures, I have started some other blogs for them. Kids Creating Cakes: Cooking For Kids is a blog of recipes of dishes that they have cooked up. Photography By Kids is where they can share some of the photos that they have taken.

They always seem more inspired when they get comments from others about things that they have posted on the blogs. (I moderate the comments myself.) In order to get their blogs more notice, I have started Facebook pages for all of their blogs. There is a Facebook page for Gabby's Art Gallery, Tangle Fairies, Through Innocent Eyes, Imaginative Minds, Kids Creating Cakes and Photography By Kids. I even started a blog and Facebook page for them to review toys, books and other children-oriented things in order to encourage them to think critically about what makes something have value to them; it's called Children Review.

My kids also earn a bit of money from their creativity. Every time they make a sale of one of their pieces of art or photography or from one of their books, it inspires them enough that they suddenly get a burst of renewed creativity and they create more in a few days than they have done in the previous month. For this reason, I have spread their shops into various places to give them more chances of making sales.

They sell things through Printfection. They sell things through a section in my main store. They have stores at Zazzle too: Tangle Fairies, Imaginative Minds, Through Innocent Eyes, Kids Creating Cakes, Photography By Kids, Angelica's Designs, Kayla's Art and Spirit Of Imagination.

These are just some ways that I have used technology to help encourage and inspire my children. However, one of the best ways I have found to inspire my children to embrace their creativity is to let them see me embracing my own. I tell them stories that I make up on the spur of the moment. I try and draw pictures (even though I am not very good at it). I try and act out different roles in the stories I read to them by changing my voice for each character. I turn on the radio and dance with them in the middle of the living room. I write stories for them to read. I design artwork and practice my photography and sell both in my on-line shops. I blog on my favorite topics (and there are many).

We haven't practiced every form of self expression yet. Gabby recently bought herself a little Hello Kitty sewing machine. It's not professinal enough for her to make much using it, but it is giving her practice at sewing that she may be able to eventually transfer over to using my sewing machine. I want to learn to knit, and I think it would be something that the kids might like to learn too. Gabby used to take dance lessons, and I think Bella and Connor would enjoy taking dance lessons too. I'm still coming up with ideas and ways to help them continue to use their minds in imaginative and various ways. Because it's important.

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