Encouraging Creativity in Kids: 3-D and Recycled Art

It’s important, I believe, to encourage children to explore their creativity in as many various forms as possible.

My daughter has an imaginative and artistic temperament so we tend to be overrun with her creative output — her day to day production can be quite impressive (and overwhelming!).  I’ve learned to select a few pieces for preservation and photograph some of the others for posterity.

My son, however, has a very different approach to his creative endeavors.  He works in “bursts” of creativity and tends towards a more dramatic, and often 3-D, approach to his art.  Needless to say sculpture parks are one of his favorite “field trips”.

I wanted to share a couple of  Mac’s favorite projects that show both his unique approach to art but also serve as examples of what results when you encourage creativity in kids — the results can be surprising :-)

The Magical White City (made from various bits and pieces scavenged from the garage as well as packing materials):

This particular city provided hours of play after many hours of precise arrangement and placement.

The Robot named Max:

Mac built this almost life-size robot mostly on his own — Dad helped him get the wheels (training wheels from his sister’s bike) attached.   The robot, affectionately called Max, spent weeks being rolled around and played with and made a wonderful buddy.  It finally fell apart but Mac said he’s working on plans for a new one this summer, also out of recycled materials.

And my personal favorite, The Swimming Tree:

Mac collects plastic “swimmers” — small pool toys.  He is especially fond of duckies and has amassed quite a collection at this point!  He decided to create a “swimming tree” since we had put the pool away for the summer and he wanted a way to display his ducks, etc.   He was quite pleased with the effect it created.

Here is a close up of The Swimming Tree:

He worked on The Swimming Tree over the course of almost a week, arranging and rearranging the various swimmers to suit whatever aesthetic he wanted to achieve for that day.  Then he was done and the swimmers moved on to other pursuits :-)   But he has asked to have a picture of the Swimming Tree for his bedroom wall so he can think about other ideas involving nature.

I’m looking forward to seeing his next project or installation, whatever it may be — he’s been plotting and planning so I expect there will soon be something new to view and experience!

In what ways do you encourage creativity in your kids, or for yourself if you don’t have kids?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. What a cool way to turn trash into treasures!
    Amy recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Robot

  2. That is very cool! My daughters are like yours, very creative on a regular basis and mostly use a 2D canvas. Since it can overwhelm quickly, I am trying to scan them all into our back up hard drive, so they have them when they get to be adults.
    Jacqui Gonzales recently posted..“Marathon: You Can Do It” Review

  3. ahh, this brings back memories of the days when Brendon had similar bursts of creative energy. I can’t tell you how many times he made incredibly intricate ‘mini golf courses’ involving our entire yard and anything he could scavange to work into his plans. We used to keep all kinds of boxes, packing materials, scraps, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, string, ribbon, etc, etc for his creations. At one point he decided to build a house for his neices’ barbies out of used materials. He was very physically creative back in the day. Now he does most of his creating in short stories and poetry. Although his topics aren’t always topics I like to read about, I have to admit that he really is a talented writer.

    Give my best to Mac & Alex and thank Mac for bringing back some old memories for me! :) Hope he can keep the creative juices flowing for years to come.


  4. Wow that requires a lot of imagination and creativity! I always try to encourage my kids to draw things or make things, or write their own silly book!
    Deanna recently posted..It’s Thirsty for Comments Thursday… Link Up!

  5. Love the idea of the 3D art projects. It really does help children learn to think in a vastly different manner. Dropping by from Thirsty for Thursday!
    Wayne recently posted..Tourism & Technology Thursday – Festival Trends…

  6. I love kids imaginations! Some are more imaginative than others. I love what your son has done and especially the town. I did stuff like that when I was little and they gave me hours of happiness! When my children were little they were always building ‘club houses’ outside and little trails and towns to play with their barbies and wrestling figures. My son loved to draw pictures! I still have all of them. I think children should always be free to express their creativity (unless it’s something that will hurt them of course). It allows them to grow and come up with ideas all their own! Thank you for sharing! Visiting from ‘Thirsty For Comments Thursday.’
    Angela recently posted..Thirsty For Comments Thursday

  7. You are such an awesome mom! I know, as a mom, that sometimes in the rush of things, it’s easy to let your hectic schedule keep you from letting the kiddos explore and play like that. It’s important that kids get to explore and experiment like your son does and I can see him growing into a wonderfully creative person :) I know my son loves building things. When I was in school for interior design he would watch me drafting my floorplans (the old fashioned way)and the next thing I’d know, he’d be showing me his own floor plan that he created – and I’ll tell you, he’s got some serious talent. He’s made houses out of Legos and he has a video game where he can build houses and cities and the like. I hope he considers architecture in his future.
    Brandina recently posted..Thirsty for Comments Thursday Blog Hop!

  8. Thats great that you encourage your childrens imagination. I have three girls who love to do projects and I love doing them with them.

  9. Those are awesome! I especially love the city idea. Visiting from Thirsty Thursday.
    Heather McD recently posted..Beautiful personalized children’s book #WIN

  10. Thanks for stopping by Brando and Bogart! I love the swimming tree. Awesome! What a creative mind! As homeschool parents, we’ve always tried to encourage the children to live it up with creativity. I never thought about taking pics of the bigger stuff they’ve made. What a wonderful idea!
    Christine recently posted..Coffee With a Canine

  11. Love the magical White City! Very creative. I believe in encouraging kids’ imagination too! Love it. Thanks for stopping by the Email hop at Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life. If you’re interested, I have a Twitter hop going on right now as well. Have a great Tuesday!
    Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life
    Michelle recently posted..Interview with Robin Crespo from ING

  12. Love how much repurposing is going on at your house – beautiful creations from ‘junk’! My favorite is the Swimming Tree!
    Heather – Acting Balanced Mom recently posted..Kidtoons Movie and #Giveaway – Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2


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