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Inspiring Kids to be More Creative can Boost Self Esteem

 Different Ways to Inspire Creativity in Your Child 

As a parent, it's often challenging to see your child struggling, especially with their creative endeavors. It's essential to inspire children to explore their passions and interests. For young girls, especially, it can be difficult not to get pulled along by peers and lose sight of personal interests and passions. One way to help all kids find their voice and unique passion is to inspire their creative flow with lots of creative activities. Encourage your boys and girls to try something outside of their comfort zone!


This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links for your convenience.



different ways to inspire creativity in kids
School plays are a creative outlet that builds self-confidence
 and life long friendships.


If you follow along on this blog, you know that kids being creative is our lifeblood. Kids Creative Chaos is not only our name, but our mantra. Creativity is often a chaotic event, but it needs to take place! Never choose a clean house over letting a child explore their creativity. Squelching creativity can have unwanted outcomes. Empower your kids to be themselves, explore their creativity, and improve their self-esteem in the process! And never, never, fall into the old stereotypes of labeling activities for boys or for girls. Without even knowing it, you can be killing a child's self-worth and dreams. As we always say, let them try, try try!

Inspiring creativity is a challenging tasks for most parents. Kids often choose not to do something simply because their parents have suggested it. Other times, they may feel insecure about trying something new. Try to encourage different creative pursuits as an outlet for self-esteem, fellowship, and mental health. Here are a few simple ways on how to cultivate your child’s creativity. 




Musical Creative Expression for Kids
Mayhem in a school band production.


Introduce kids to different types of crafts


Introducing your child to different ways to be creative allows their mind to develop away from the rigid confines of the creativity taught in many schools. It shows children the art of critical thinking and developing passions beyond the ordinary. Ask your child what interests them, but also give them options and ideas to inspire their creative and critical thinking.


If you wonder what this might look like, consider introducing your kids to different expressions of art that inspire creativity. For example, listen to music with them, discuss musical instruments and let them try one. Many cities have musical petting zoos or other opportunities to test an instrument.



Activities for Creative Expression



Creative Expression and the Arts for Kids
Jake in an adaptation of Brother's Grimm.



You can also show your kids different forms of creative expression with painting and other arts and crafts. Allow them to play and explore. The earlier kids start experimenting with creativity, the better chance it will have an affect on their emotional stability and self-esteem. So, be sure to take your kids to museums, the theater, and to music concerts to inspire their senses and allow them to engage in all sorts of artistic pursuits. If you want to learn more about that, here's an article from Berkeley on why the arts matter.


On a side note, always remember to read with your children and encourage critical discussion on the book and its themes. A child with a curious mind will find it easier to access their personal creativity. 



Surrealist Art Activity for Elementary Children



Give Kids creative gifts


Giving a child and exciting gift that isn't clothes or a video game, might inspire them to think creatively or get actively moving and making art. If you're struggling for ideas for your daughter, there are many gifts for girls to choose from that don't need to sit within the confines of gendered stereotypes. For example, you could buy her a zine-making kit. Firstly, making things helps kids to be more creative, but secondly, creating their own magazine can encourage kids to use their voice for good. Zines are a great way for children of all ages and genders to write and be creative. Click here for gift ideas that are targeting boys but can work for either gender. My daughter always hated to be excluded from toy cars, trains, and Transformers and my son loves to use hot pink as an accent color for sunglasses, hats, or other accessories. He gets a kick out of people giving him a hard time. Self-confidence at work!




Books about the Arts for Kids



Allow kids to explore 


Finally, one of the most important ways to inspire creativity within your child is to allow them to explore on their own. For a child, exploring comes in many shapes and forms, from creative play to fashion. If you want your child to develop a unique identity and a sense of themselves, they have to learn what they like and don't like.



See how we encouraged our daughter to dress however she pleased.



Kids have to try out activities and get things wrong. Making mistakes is an excellent way for a child to learn, and this can also be applied to their creative endeavors. So, give your kids some paint or a dress-up box and encourage them to explore. Then, stay engaged in their exploration and find out more about what they are doing and why, but never force it- being an over zealous parent can backfire. Play it cool, and watch your kids have fun with the skills you helped to create.



Recommended:


Rhythm Discovery Center Indianapolis, Indiana


Get Musical Instruments on Amazon


Book Tips for Kids






Best Musical Instruments for Children

Hitting the Right Note: Online Music Lessons and Instruments

So, your child wants to play an instrument? Great! The benefits of playing a musical instrument are endless- playing a musical  instrument increases memory capacity, concentration levels and coordination, teaches perseverance and discipline, promotes social skills and the ability to listen, nurtures self-expression, and relieves stress. The pros outweigh the cons, now all you need to do is choose a musical instrument, find a music teacher and take some music lessons. Simple. We've got it all sorted out for you, including some of the best online music lessons for children. Enjoy!


Best Musical Instruments for Children




Tips for Working with a Child with Autism

Tips for Playing and Working with an Autistic Child

Tips for Working with a child with Autism.
Tips for Working with a child with Autism.

We are sharing some tips for working with a child with autism. I know, I know, you  don't want to use the words Autistic child, but these words help those who aren't as in the know find this information when searching the web. After several years working with children of all ages, races, and denominations, I have tips for playing and interacting with an autistic child, and all types of childhood disorders, diseases, or states of mind. Let's face it, there is no such thing as normal!

Social Interaction is a key concern for parents with a child who has Autism. Remember, play is the work of children. Does your child engage with you or with other children while playing? If your child has been diagnosed with Autism, the answer is more than likely no. 

As parents or caregivers you can adjust your style of play to make playing with a child with a sensory processing disorder more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Making small adaptations to the environment will help parents to observe and begin to understand how their child’s mind works. Forget how you remember playing as a child; be open to a new way of playing and a different kind of interaction.

All children like to make their own decisions and choices. If you set up several stations with various types of play opportunities, your child may be drawn to one or more of them. Don’t jump in or show too much excitement. Sit back and become a silent observer doing research while your child explores his new environment. At first, it may be interesting but intimidating for the child. Let them explore or simply observe the invitations you have provided for play.

Perhaps, you have ordinary cardboard boxes in varying sizes. Leave some empty to let your child explore his imagination.  Fill others with different types of toys. Depending on the age of the child, make appropriate “toy” choices. A box filled with pots, pans, and wooden spoons is a scientific experiment. Contain your desire to show your child how to bang on the pots or wear one as a hat. 

Let your child teach you how they want to play. A simple thump on the pot could frighten the child and ruin the experience for everyone. The idea of wearing the pan as a hat could also discourage the child. 

In the coming days or weeks, as your child becomes more comfortable observing or playing with the toys, you can slowly introduce your style of play. Sit across from the child; don’t worry if they are not watching you. Just play.Gently, put the pan on your head. Pretend to stir soup in a pot. What happens if you scrape the bowl? Observe how your child reacts, but don’t force or ask them to play yet. 

Be patient; if your child isn’t interested today, move on to a new toy. By playing by yourself, you are demonstrating how to play, how you play, and letting your child know it is okay to play alone. 

Remember, it is okay to play alone! All children learn through play, so never discourage them.

In time, your child may begin to feel less threatened.They may do what you do, or they may choose a toy and hand it to you to see what you will do with it. If they don’t, keep trying with quiet encouragement. Keep experimenting with new ideas, but always watch your child’s facial expression and body language. If they don’t like what you are doing, change it.  

Hopefully, one day your child will accept your invitation to play. 

Need some more ideas? Here are ten sensory play activities for kids.



Recommended:


Circle Time Activities


Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World*



July Calendar of Special Days and Holidays for Curriculum Planning

Plan lots of Fun Activities with this July Calendar of Special Days and Holidays 2016


Don't let summer break get boring. Change it up by celebrating each and every special day. Did you know July is the National month for Blueberries, Hot Dogs, and Ice Cream? It is also National Anti-Boredom Month. Who could get bored in July? Idk, it gets pretty hot here in Indiana. So, a lot of kids probably stay inside and play video games  Minecraft. Check back here each year for an updated version of our free printable July calendar of special days and holidays. Enjoy!

Plan lots of Fun Activities with this July Calendar of Special Days and Holidays.
Plan lots of Fun Activities with this July Calendar of Special Days and Holidays 2016.



July Calendar of Special Days and Holidays for Curriculum Planning
Free printable July Calendar for Classroom.

This 2016 July calendar of holidays is a Google Doc. Print it out as is or make changes as you see fit. Each year, we edit the calendar to make sure the dates are accurate. Some holiday dates change each year.


July Holidays

1 International Joke Day. Whether you say Ha-ha, lol, or lolz, tell a joke to get a belly laugh out of a friend today.

1 CANADA Day. Here are some activities for Canada Day. I also rounded up some posts from the Kid Blogger Network. Oh my, my favorite, is this post on Canadian Peg Dolls



Canadian Mounted Police Peg Dolls from Clothespins by East Coast Mommy.


2 World UFO Day. Roswell July 2, 1947. No aliens here, perhaps these futuristic activities for kids will help you celebrate.

3 Compliment your Mirror Day. I don't know about this day. Shouldn't this be everyday? Anyway, maybe let the kiddos choose what they want to wear today- no matter what it is? You can do it, Mom. Build self-esteem with self-expression.

4 Independence Day. Here are some Firework Safety Tips and Fourth of July Activities from Pinterest.

6 National Fried Chicken Day.  

10 Teddy Bear Picnic Day. Celebrate today with teddy bear activities. Maybe your teddy bear would like a purse or a hat or a cookie?

14 Bastille Day (French National Day).  What is Bastille Day? I got nothin' except this post on how to make French Toast. So, eat some while you read up on this French holiday.

15 Cow Appreciation Day! From our friends at Chick-Fil-A. How about celebrating with a cow coloring sheet?

20 National Ice Cream Day (Third Sunday) Ice cream is awesome on a hot July day, even better, Ice Cream Snowmen.

23 National Hot Dog Day. Only in America, right? Angie has a yummy recipe for Chicago-style Hot Dog Pizza Bites.

24 Ameila Earhart Day. So... I've got a groundhog flying an airplane coloring page. It can be your catalyst for a discussion on the history of Ameila Earhart.

24 Cousins Day. I've got some cousins, but not here on the blog. How can you celebrate? Tell them, "Happy Cousins Day" on Facebook. Wait. I am so virtual. Meet a cousin for lunch today! (That's better.)

30 National Cheesecake Day. Hooray for Cheesecake



Recommended Reading:

July and August Monthly Idea Book from Scholastic*

Happy Fourth of July Coloring Book: For Kid's Ages 4 to 9 Years Old*














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Jake's Journey in Art - Homeschool Lesson - 4 Watercolor Seascape (Wet on Wet)

Jake's Journey in Art: Watercolor Wet on Wet techniques for Homeschoolers

Kids Creative Chaos building Self-Esteem one art lesson at a time.


Lesson:  Choose one of the seascapes and one watercolor technique you've learned.

It was time for our next art lesson. Jake moaned and complained as usual, until I reminded him this week's lessons involved painting. "Yay! I like to paint. I never got to paint in art class."  Say what you say?  Catch up here. Art is about the journey, not the end result.

Homeschool Art Project How to paint wet on wet watercolor technique
Jake's seascape is on the left, Mayhem is on the right. She's added some embellishments.
Did you notice his attention to detail?  This is not a child who should despise art. Thankfully, we are making amazing progress.

Now, what Jake really meant to say was- I love it when I'm allowed to make a mess. He chose the sailboat scene and the wet on wet technique. Which is exactly as it sounds, paint water over your entire paper, dip your brush in water and the color, and let it bleed blend. Don't move it until it is dry.

We also did the salt painting technique and sprinkled salt on the wet sand area. When it dries it looks like real sand.

We first traced over the image to get a feel for it and then we lightly drew it in pencil on our watercolor paper. When painting with watercolors it is important to use the right paper. Copy paper will deteriorate with too much water. The fibers in the watercolor paper are designed to soak up the excess. Still, we laid out three layers of newspaper and had a roll of paper towels ready and waiting. Inevitably, someone always spills the water.


Our art table, okay, it is our dining room table. We never use it for that!

I am pleased to announce this assignment was our turn around lesson. In fact, his feelings about art have changed so much in a recent lesson on mask making he said, "Mommy, it is really awesome that I have a teacher who knows so much about art. You can teach me so many cool things!" (Insert tears here.)

I am quite skilled in the art of mask making. My highschool, art teacher, Mrs. Conway did a lesson on mask's with handmade paper. I made 3 or 4 different projects, entered them into an art contest and won some sort of an award. 

Oh my, I wish I could tell you what it was but a lot of time has passed since then.  After, I took a tiny scholarship to college and studied theatre design, art, and architecture. I've used the skills I learned in those classes to make many a mask for many a child in an after-school program, made some great mardi-gras costumes, and designed many theatrical props and sets. We'll post mask making 101 next week.

Hooray! Someone finally took notice.  My college journey was not a waste after all :-)

Okay, the real point is that Jake took notice. Chuckle-chuckle and all it took was some fancy paper curling around a pencil and a cool, paper snake. Mom's have mad skills, don't they. I'm gearing up to ask Jake to draw a new picture of how he feels about Mommy's art class-eh. Maybe I'll just take a photo of his expression.

Things are looking up!

What She's Wearing Wednesday: Creative Play Leads to Self-Esteem: Mandy Mayhem 10/03/2012

Creative Imaginative Play and Dress up Leads to Self-Esteem

We attended a practice party for the race pit crew of Rex Norris. It was a special event, so it called for a special attire. Mandy Mayhem styled herself in sparkly, pink slip-ons, black leggings with silver glittery sparkle, a turquoise tee with silver and rhinestone buttons, and her Snow White costume from last year. Enjoy!

Upon, slipping the costume over her clothes she noted it had shrunk. This ability will become very useful later if she goes through a chubby stage. Remember, it is the dryer ~ not you. It always helps with self-esteem if you can blame someone else.



Creative Imaginative Play and Dress up Leads to Self-Esteem
Creative Imaginative Play and Dress up Leads to Self-Esteem.

Her special accessory is a giraffe, perhaps Geoffrey from Toys R Us. She entertained anyone who cared to watch with a puppet show on the deck.

Mayhem is always allowed to dress herself no matter where we go. If the occasion requires specific attire; I give her choices. She is excellent at matching and pretty good at choosing the right outfit.

I never find her clothes embarrassing. I would be embarrassed if they were dirty or too mature for her age because that reflects on me, but fun, self-expression is healthy and makes for great self-esteem. "I can do it!" Allow your child to be themselves- your relationship will appreciate it.


Recommended Reading:



Great Big Book of Children's Games: Over 450 Indoor and Outdoor Games for Kids, Ages 3-14*

Lesson 2 How to Make a Tunnel Book: Elementary Homeschool

Ideas for your next Homeschool ART Lesson: Summer Tunnel Book from Jake's Journey in Art

Working from crayons to Picasso. The art of the tunnel book. Learn how to make a tunnel book, it isn't as easy as it looks!

So, if you are following the story, you may remember we had a bad experience with an elementary art teacher. Might I just add- this occured at a 4 Star school.  I'm pretty sure she has tenure. Oddly, outside of the classroom (at least with adults) she was very personable. If you haven't read it click here for Lesson One - Art Expression.

The infamous Tunnel Art Book. Oh my!  Even with my art and architecture background, I had difficulty following the instructions for this one. We watched a video, we looked at samples, and still it just wasn't clicking for me.  Perhaps, I over complicated it.

Well, my struggling Art-hater truly hated this one. If I couldn't explain it- why should he bother trying, right?  So, we sat it aside for a day, and then a week, and then a little bit longer. I tried to make my own by cutting out a frame and gluing the sides together, but it was so much trouble. I refused to make another one, so we used it as the tunnel for Jake's book.

Cut and pasted the important pieces so we can keep it in a scrapbook.

Turns out, I had NO IDEA what I was doing, but Jake drew some nice trees for the background even though he complained the entire time.  When he finished, he complained some more, "Mine isn't as good as yours.  Amanda's trees look better than mine. I cannot do this; I hate art!"


So... apparently somewhere along the way, I missed am important step.  The next day, the little one and I tried one last time. The sides are sheets of paper folded in half, and at the half way mark we glued (and taped) the frames for the tunnel effect.  I scribbled some pictures, and she drew some beautiful creatures and a background, and we attached some to each interior frame. These did not stand on their own; and they are extremely flimsy, or our construction paper is just way too thin. 

elementary homeschool art tunnel books

Anyway, we tried our best, and that is what really counts- right?  Hopefully, our failures will help you have a successful Tunnel Art Book.  In two years, when the little one gets the same lesson; we'll refer back to this post and try with thicker paper.  I'm thinking CARDBOARD sides.

The Little's background and other fun items.

Here is a link to an entire site about tunnel books.  Hope this helps spark your creativity!

And... here is their closest example to the way our assignment was described.

How to make a tunnel book
Too cool ~ It is a construction site!  Photo from Popular Kinetics Press


Recommended:



Green Light at the End of the Tunnel: Learning the Art of Living Well Without Causing Harm to Our Planet or Ourselves*


Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects (Build It Yourself)

What Not to Wear: Encouraging Self Expression: What's She Wearing Today: Mayhem Fashion

Encourage Self Expression to Create Self-Esteem

Mandy Mayhem, Fashionista Extraordinaire. She is one of a kind. We let her wear whatever she wants, wherever she wants. There are some misses, but way more hits! Allowing her to pick her own clothes and letting her know we accept her choices encourages self-esteem. Enjoy!

Outfit:
Layers of Ruffles paired with Cowboy Boots (Wal-mart Special) and a Magician's Hat (Reminds me of Slash). Never leave the house without a purse accessory. Today, the teddy bear backpack.


Encourage Self Expression to Create Self-Esteem
And yes, she almost always picks her own outfits.

I refuse to let grown-up stereotypes or 'you have to do this' or personal insecurities stifle her creativity. Life is too short to be boring. Live a little.




  
Purple witch skirt over dark, denim jeans.



Even in this one, her favorite tie-dyed onesie.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the many trips to the grocery when Clifford, The Big Red Dog, or Bob the Builder's friend, Wendy, or a Kitty or a Dalmatian in footie PJ's escorted me to the grocery store.

Creative outlets are important around here, ya know.


Tinkerbell Backpack.
  

Foam cowboy hat, Tinkerbell backpack, pink sundress (too short), 
knee-length skirt, pink monkey rubber boots.
So, wherever you go, strike a pose and never, ever, stifle your child's creativity. It's the stuff of superstars. A real superstar needs a supportive network to thrive.


Green Disney socks with plastic ballet flats.


Recommended Reading:


Innovative Interventions in Child and Adolescent Mental Health*


Building a Chicken Coop in a Tutu



Ask Amanda "Mommy You Look Beautiful"

Sweet words out of the mouths of babes, Ask Amanda for Advice


Amanda has opinions. In this "Ask Amanda" column, we share her advice and quotes. She's got some doozies!

This links contains post affiliate links.


Ask Amanda advice form kids is the best on beauty.
Ask Amanda for the truth.


My significant other never, ever says a word when I have a bad hair day or when I have a bad face day or when I have a bad bloat day. So, it came as quite a surprise when we were out to lunch and he grimaced, "Did you remember to comb your hair today?"

At first I thought it was a joke. I had looked in the mirror before I left and thought 'I look better than usual'. I had even made the extra effort to apply make-up.

Whenever I'm sick, I tend to look better than when I'm well. I rarely wear makeup. If I have something to do outside the house, I might throw on mascara and lip stain. But, I'm sick, I go the extra-inch and add powder or (my new favorite thing) eraser by Loreal. It was cold. My hair felt slightly frizzy, but I felt good about my overall appearance in my flawless wrinkle remover.

Aghast? I have no wrinkles- just a few seniority lines on my forehead and at the corner of my eyes from scrunching my face into smirks far too many times. By the by, I got this makeup stick for free. It normally retails for around $30; a price I would never pay for anything, much less for makeup.

Chris grabbed a glob of my hair, "It looks like Jake's does in the morning, all mangled." Quickly searching the inner depths of my brain, I wondered...  Did I remember to comb my hair today?

Yes! I combed my hair with a brush with no handle. My brush is always walking out of the bathroom. It never stays in one place. Amanda screamed, "Don't brush my hair, don't brush my hair!" So, I brushed her hair right after I pulled the little wiry, oval thru my bangs and sides. She took off into another room and I made chase.

Amanda's hair looked beautiful when I dropped her off at pre-school.

Before meeting up for lunch, I combed my fingers thru my sides and pulled my hair back with sunglasses.I plan to invent lens free hair-glasses one day. Headbands hurt and make me feel like Hillary Clinton. Did I brush the back of my hair? Signs point to No.

I can't wash my hair everyday or it turns brittle and breaks into a thousand tiny pieces all over my clothes. It has nothing to do with hair product or styling equipment its just always been crappy hair. I washed it, put it in a scrunchy, started blogging and fell asleep.

Yes, Kathy a scrunchy! (Kathy, once posted on her Facebook page that she was not aware scrunchies were back in style. She wasn't speaking of me, but I resemble that remark.

Oh, I know the real answer, but ponytail holders break my hair. Scrunchies are so much nicer for the lazy likes of me. I woke up around 2:00 a.m. and pulled the scrunchy ponytail out. If only I had taken a picture of the mess. 

So, the next morning, I decided to tame the wild hairs with a curling iron.

"Why are you doing that," asked Amanda.

"My hair is yuck and I look ugly," I replied thoughtlessly.

"Well, I don't think you look ugly. I think you look beautiful, Mommy."

This from a rotten little, mean-girl, my arch-nemesis. Instead of crying, I said, "Thank you."

"Yea, 'cuz did you know, I know that you always look good? You can ask me anytime and I will tell you."

"Thank you, Amanda! That is so sweet. I love it when you are nice to me."

"You're welcome 'cuz it's true. Mommy, you look beautiful, you really do."

The expression on her face was priceless. I'm sure mine was too.