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Creativity: Imagination Play

As a future parent I want my children to have everything. I want them to be intelligent and confident. I want to provide them with opportunities, and really I just want them to be healthy and happy until they day they die. I also want my children to be creative. Not an answer you hear a lot but it’s important to me. I don’t mean I want to birth the next Beethoven or da Vinci but I do want my children to have creative minds. 

Creative minds don’t just focus on the arts- a creative mind thinks about all subjects in creative ways. Instead of being able to just regurgitate times tables a creative mind might actually be able to tell you that 24 is equal to 4 x 6 because it is also equal to 2 x 12. A creative mind understands things instead of just learning or memorizing them. Unfortunately creativity is lost in most schools. Art and music programs have almost been entirely thrown out and there is a greater focus on core subjects. Now I have no problem with math or science or language arts. Are they important? YES! But so is creative learning. So is imagination and playing. Schools tend to stop allowing imagination play at a certain age when children are supposed to grow up. But why should we stop imagination play if it expands our creative minds.

I am not saying that every parent should take their children out of school and play house every day until their 18, but as parents we should take some control of our children’s education. Doing simple creative projects with our kids and letting them define the rules. Promoting imagination play in our children and asking them to think about things for themselves instead of being taught what to think. Promoting creative minds in our children. Imagination play can be hard as adults. I’ve worked with children as a nanny and a teacher and I’ll tell you my creative mind is still a bit weak as are my imagination play skills. Here are some tips on how to do some imagination play with your kids:

1. Use your surroundings:

      This tip can be used for really any of the following tips. Using your surroundings is a great way to start a game of imagination play. If you’re trying to think of something to do look around you. Something as simple as a car or a basketball can start a great game of imagination play. Don’t hurt your creative mind trying to do imagination play with your kids- you’ll want to do it less. Ease into it by using what is around you as props or ideas and become more creative as it gets easier.

2. Ask your children:

        Ask your children what they think about stuff. Ask your children how they think something works, like a car or an airplane. Or ask them why they think the sky is blue or why the grass is green. Sure there is a real answer to these questions but let them use their imaginations to think about it and give you a creative answer. Eventually they’ll learn how it works, and you can even tell them later, but let them think through it with their creative minds. They might surprise you with how much they already know and if nothing else it’ll be entertaining. If their answer is short or just “I don’t know” ask them to tell you a story about it even if it isn’t right. Tell them to make something up or to just say the silliest reason that comes to their heads. If your kids aren’t supper into talking ask them to write about it or draw something.

3. Play “what if?”:

        Sometimes children are too smart for their own goods and actually do know how cars work and why the sky is blue, so change it up a little and make them work out their creativity. Ask questions that promote creative thinking like “What if we smelled with our ears” or “What if cars could fly and we drove airplanes”. Keep up conversations like this even if it’s just by asking why. Or dust off your creative mind and do a little imagination play and contribute your own theories. A little imagination never hurt anyone and it’ll create great memories and bonding moments with your kids.

4. Do something “wrong”:

        Break the rules a little, but not the big ones! Try walking around your house like a bear for an hour or eat lunch like a squirrel. Or if you’re doing an art project, draw the nose in the wrong spot or have the person have two colors of hair. Paint the sky orange and the grass purple. Do something that isn’t perfect and show your child that even things that don’t follow the standard rules can be fun and good. Change the idea that breaking rules is always bad and promote coloring outside the lines. A lot of people have done great things by doing something “wrong”. Don’t start driving on the wrong side of the road for your imagination play but do something against the norm with your children.

5. Follow their lead:

        In imagination play your child is the expert. No offense but you’re a little past your prime when it comes to playing house now that you are living it. Your game is a bit rusty your creative mind a bit dusty and well your child will kick your trash. If your child is off in some dream land while explaining to you what life would be like if we walked on our hands don’t tell them they’re wrong and the only thing that would happen is people would have calloused hands and people would pass out a lot. Even though you’re technically right telling your child they’re wrong when their imagining kills their imagination. If you’re imagination playing that you’re bears and your child starts to hiss like a snake instead of correcting them ask them what they’re doing. Maybe it’s a rare mountain hissing bear only found near the North Pole. Have fun and follow your child’s lead and don’t let that grumpy fart of an adult inside stop you.

Image Source: Sprout-Kids

The Next Step: Storage Organizer Bins | Sprout

By: Cody Kimball

When I was a newly-wed, I began to see just how ridiculously hard it can be (no matter how much you love each other) to bring two worlds into one! Till that point I was had the fool-proof perfect plan for finding any of my stuff. I simply put anything I might use during the week on top of my desk, anything I might need during the month under the hung-up clothes in my closet, and anything I might need some point during the year under my bed.

Everything worked great till I technically became the proud owner of 60 pairs of shoes and boots, more clothes than I owned in my life, and enough make-up to paint my self-portrait next to Mount Rushmore.

Obviously we had to do something. We tried parting with a bunch of things by donation; that lasted till she wanted to get rid of my high-basketball shoes. We tried buying more and more shelves, but in our tiny apartment and limited income, there wasn’t enough room (AND IT STILL LOOKED LIKE A BOMB WENT OFF!) But then after much confusion on my part, we found the solution.

 

Selective Compartmentalization

We realized we had to break this task into several smaller tasks. It was too much to tackle “organization” all in one day; however, finding a better home for her nail polish than a big tattered shoe box was totally reasonable. For our first Christmas together, I was such a thoughtful awesome husband! ☺ I bought her this nail polish organizing rack. For my birthday, she got me a tie rack (so much better than 3 Wal-Mart bags of ties taking up a lot of our small coat rack.

With each new hobby, or each new apartment upgrade, we found that we once again had more than what we planned for. The key three steps to compartmentalizing and organizing are:

1) Focus in on very specific items that can be grouped into one category

2) Don’t overgeneralize the items (e.g. sewing, clothes, etc.)

3) Take time looking around for organizers that take up the least amount of space

With these under your belt, you are ready to tackle the world. You will be amazed with how little space is needed to store a lot of those things you can’t bear to part with. Soon you will be a master organizer and will have a closet that looks like this below …. Or better!!!

Kids Storage Bins

Of course all storage and organizing efforts will one day face the make it or break it point, KIDS! Kids somehow manage to have more and more toys every time I try to clean up and put them away. I swear birthdays were once a year, but now they are somehow too cute to resist waiting the 300 more days till their next birthday to spoil. Fortunately, Sprout’s Modern Kid’s Furniture has the fun answer to our toy problem. With their easy to assemble shelves, and reconfigurable grid, kids can not only store their toys in compartmentalized bins, but play games with the bins. Imagine playing tic-tac-toe with the toy bins!

You will be amazed with how easy these are to set up, rearrange, take-down, and store. Sprout has several individualized and styled bins that can even create a city skyline. These bins become their own life-sized puzzle! Personally I like getting the boxes with a design printed already on one side, and then being able to use the other three to add personal decorations: a label on one side, kid’s first great works of art on another side, and some type of game on the third side. The possibilities are endless! ☺

 

The Next Step: DIY Storage Ideas

Just survived another Christmas season! Life was good, and the house was rich with the smell of both the new spiced cranberry Scentsy candle and the fresh oven pancakes being taken out in the neighboring kitchen. My brief moment of peace was rudely interrupted when I realized that with lots of new memories came lots of new toys, new pajamas from Old Faithful (i.e. my awesome mom), and new everything else. Then came the inevitable dreaded question, “Where am I going to put all of this?”

Whether it be massive clutter, overcrowded closets, or perpetual state of losing everything important, everyone has had to deal with storage problems that sadly don’t fix themselves. If you haven’t experienced this, wow (seriously that’s all I have to say). For the rest of us HUMAN BEINGS, we have to deal with finding a miracle solution to store all of our stuff. This is why we (here at Sprout-Kids) are creating this blog series for DIY storage ideas, to help us all find answers and storage tips we all desperately need!

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts!

DIY Nativity Scene: Minimal Clear Creche

When I was younger, my church and surrounding congregations held a Creche Festival. They opened invitations for everyone to bring a nativity scene. Some people brought purchased creches but many were hand made. I took this as an opportunity to experiment with new media and contributed several creches. This was a fun opportunity to make something, but also an opportunity to spend time building something with my family. My family still uses some of them to decorate at christmas time. In this post, I will share how you my method for a super cool minimal DIY nativity scene.

The Minimal Creche

At its most basic, a nativity only needs to include the Christ child. This creche has three simple figures, baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I will tell you the basic method that you can use to make these figures and any others that you decide to create.

Making your own DIY Nativity Scene

 

Tools and Supplies:

 

  • Acrylic (Plexiglass) sheet, 1/8” thick, 12” x 12” minimum Similar to this one on Amazon
  • Heat source such as a heat gun. You may be able to do it with an electric stove burner
  • Holding instruments such as pliers. If your pliers have teeth, you may want to tape the teeth with masking tape to prevent marring
  • Coping Saw similar to this one. Little teeth will help more
  • C-Clamp to hold the plexiglass when cutting
  • Pencil or colored Pencil
  • Sand Paper and a block

Process:

  1. Mark pattern onto the plexiglass with a pencil
  2. Clamp the plexiglass and cut out the pattern. Start with a rough outline, then move then clean up corners
  3. Sand edges. This may be done best by wrapping the sandpaper around a block of wood.
  4. Determine where you want the bends to be. Clamp one side to a table or other solid surface. Slowly heat this area. If you heat it too fast, it may bubble. Use the pliers to bend the plexiglass as it softens
  5. Make all the bends your need and you're done

There it is, a simple DIY nativity scene that will impress your friends and look great on your mantel. Enjoy!

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