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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