Encouraging Creativity in Kids - Handmade in the Heartland

Encouraging Creativity in Kids

Yesterday i had my first real parenting breakdown, like bawling on the phone to my husband breakdown.  Moral of the story is that 2 year olds are hard.  This cute little guy featured below in all these fabulously creative scenarios can really push my buttons, let me tell you.  I think the lesson to be learned here is that sometimes you just need to cry it out (not babywise but mommywise) and then move on.  Max has a lot of energy, and poor kid has a full leg cast on so we are limited on how and where he can exert that energy.  Like i mentioned before i feel like his behavior is soooo much better when he gets it all out first thing in the morning, but with the cast its so much harder.  So yesterday after he had repeatedly hurt his sister and been in multiple time-outs then thew one nasty tantrum because i said no to him using dad's golf clubs in the house he then proceeded to throw a hardback book at June and I basically lost it.  I tossed him in time out with the timeout clock set for 15 minutes and cried on the couch. Why is my kid so hard?  15 minutes later after praying for more patience i had calmed down, so had he and i moved on.  Kids are just plain hard sometimes, you can read all the parenting books and try all the great methods but bottom line is some days are just going to be mentally and physically exhausting. Its a really good thing they bring so much freakin' joy into our lives or else there would be a lot more homeless two year olds! 

So today i bring you some creative activity ideas for toddlers.  I went to art school and i love to make things.  I don't practice my skills nearly as much as i should- that sketchbook on my kitchen bookshelf is dusty! So this week when i started getting together these activities for Max it was actually really fun for me to sit and doodle and play with him.  Since he has the cast on all of these were sitting activities that went over really well, it made me super happy to see him enjoy painting and sculpting. Who knows we may have a future RISD kid on our hands... 

1. I bought just a regular set of Crayola washable paints at walmart and a few thin poster boards.  Both times we played with these paints he was entertained for 45 minutes to an hour! 
Creativity in Kids, Painting with toddlers

2. I also purchased a big set of finger paints at walmart for $10 and had some friends over to play with them on the deck.  I cut up some dollar store sponges and pulled out some paint brushes and let them go at it.  I forgot to snap a picture when our friends were here but Max wanted to paint again after nap time so i did get one of him.  
finger painting with kids
3. It was our first experience with play dough and i bought the cheap stuff at the dollar store which actually worked out just fine.  Max is still a little young for it, he couldn't quite understand how to mold and shape it but he did love when i would make things (like the faces below) and he could tear them apart (such a boy).  I also got out cookie cutters for him to use and he liked it, just didn't quite get it all yet, but i'm sure as we keep pulling it out he will be more adventurous with it.  
play dough with kids
play dough with kids
4. This activity is really just a highlight of this awesome tree house my mom sent Max.  It's from Manzanita Toys and i love that it is this cool space for him to use his imagination with.  I'm sure as soon as June can she will turn it into a "doll house" but for now he thinks its an awesome landing pad for his airplanes and cool place for his super hero's to hang out. Gotta love great design.  
manzanita toy tree house
I believe in cultivating creativity in my home and with my kids and love encouraging them to be creative.  I was reading THIS article about how art can help children with communication, problem-solving, social & emotional skills, motor skills and self-expression.  I love this quote from the article: 

"Art develops a child's creativity. Rather than being told what to do, answers and directions come from the child. Art is an experience that requires freethinking, experimentation, and analysis -- all part of creativity. "

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