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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Book Review: Grace and the Terrible Tutu

Title: Just Grace and the Terrible Tutu
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Release Date: Available Now
Source: Review Copy from Publisher via Netgalley

Description from Good Reads:

In this sixth installment in the Just Grace series, Grace and Mimi have a secret . . . Mimi is going to be a big sister. Then when Lily, a visiting four year old, turns into the Terrible Tutu, Grace can’t escape her, and Mimi can’t wait to be with her. Using all her empathy powers Grace shows Lily and Mimi the creative path towards a new friendship.

Review by Alex:

I have liked all the Grace books so far and I liked this one a lot also.

One of the best parts is when Grace had to be the Pinkie the Unicorn for Lily (who she was babysitting) and Mimi was the evil troll.   Mimi didn’t want to be the troll and she made an angry scary face.   Mimi was mad at Grace because while Lily was the in the bathroom Grace suggested playing unicorn and Mimi felt that Lily didn’t like her.

Grace had to come up with an idea to make Mimi feel better and show her that Lily liked Mimi her too.  It has a really good ending!

I like the Grace books because they are fun to read, they are about a girl who is my age, she’s crafty (I get neat ideas about things to do from the books) and she has a lot of fun with her friends.

Picture by Alex illustrating the scene where Grace is Pinky the Unicorn (giving Lily a ride) and Mimi is the Troll:

Brief Review from Mom:

I just wanted to add that Alex and I usually read the Just Grace books together because I enjoy them every bit as much as she does.  They are entertaining and Grace comes across as both realistic and empathetic (because she has special empathy powers, of course!)   We have read every Grace book together and we look forward to sharing the next one — it’s wonderful to have a book series that we both enjoy and that can make us both laugh out loud!

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