Guest post by Lisa Pennington
Lisa Pennington, of The Pennington Point, is mom to several OYAN students—among them J. Grace Pennington whose guest post we featured last week. The Penningtons are such a creative group, we asked Lisa for pointers for cultivating creativity in our homes.
As a homeschool mom, I have to be careful not to become all about the work. Book work, home work, house work, yard work…it takes over my day!
I also want my children to explore their creative side. While I have tried convincing them that mowing the grass in an artistic pattern is fun, they aren’t falling for it. So I have to dig a little deeper and purposefully inspire imagination and originality.
These are some of ways I encourage creativity in our house:
1. Keep plenty of supplies around.
Paper, crayons, glue, tape and sharpened pencils all give the kids something to use when they are feeling the need to create something. If there’s a lull in the day I can hand them a stack of paper and tape and say something like, “You have 20 minutes to make me a house with this…do it however you want!”
2. Think outside of the box.
When it comes to supplies, it doesn’t have to be from the craft aisle. Let the kids experiment with other materials. Toothpicks, cotton balls, beans, paper plates and even leaves could all lead to a fun creative adventure.
3. Dance, dance, then dance some more.
In case I didn’t make that clear, you should dance. Nothing perks up a draggy day like a little loud music and busting a move. It’s up to you to be bold with the dancing so your kids can express themselves freely. If you’re not the best dancer, try looking up some YouTube videos and teaching yourself a couple of steps. Then surprise your kids one day and teach it to them!
4. Have a display area.
Who wants to create something beautiful only to have it hidden in a chest at the foot of Mom’s bed?! Find a spot in your house where the kids can display their work. If you are short on wall space, use the back of a bedroom door or the laundry room. The inside of your kitchen cabinets is always available. Just let them know that the last project has to come down when a new one goes up.
5. Explore local art.
Our town has several museums that we love to visit. The art there inspires us to try something new and get outside of what we already know. Just be careful to preview the exhibit before you take the family. Take it from one who has made that mistake.
6. Share with others.
Nothing is more satisfying than doing something for someone else. Give the kids a mission. Make a card for a neighbor or write a thank you for Grandma with an original drawing on it. Send a pressed flower to a sick person at church or do origami to add to some gift wrap. Anytime we take a meal to someone I always have one of the kids draw pictures to take with it.
7. Give detailed praise.
Instead of just saying, “Great job, honey!” try noticing details about their work. Choose something specific and ask them, “I love the way you folded the ribbon, how did you think of that?!” It will build their confidence and encourage them to try new things.
8. Do it with them!
Let your children see you being creative. Nothing encourages a child like seeing their parents setting the example.
9. Get outside.
God’s beautiful creation inspires us deep down in our souls. Fresh air, birds singing, sunshine (or even rain!) bring out the best in us. Being together is the icing on the cake.
In the middle of the work of life, look for ways to encourage your child to explore their creativity. And who knows? Maybe you will find a spark of creativity of your own.
What do you do to push yourself or your family to be more creative?
Lisa Pennington is a homeschooling mom of 9 and country girl wannabe. She is enjoying the work of teaching her children while equally enjoying watching them graduate, one at a time, so she can look forward to someday having a morning free of math questions. She enjoys the small things of life, the sunrise, a cup of hot tea and sleeping an extra 10 minutes in the morning. You can find more of her writing on her blog, The Pennington Point.