Let the journey be shaped by the curiousity of the child…
Welcome back to this monthly series on engaging siblings of different age into activities together.
Today I will talk about the emphasis I always make on how it is important to nurture creativity in your children. They are such a source of inspiration for me, personally, and they come up with the cutest, most adorable and even shocking (in a good way) activities that keep them self-entertained for long periods of time.
I have previously raised this subject in a guest post for Love, Play and Learn – How to Encourage Creative Play
In the pictures you can see an activity my older one came up to entertain herself and her younger sibling: drawing on a rug. I was in need of a rug next to my side of the bed so my husband and older daughter went to buy one. She chose it as she loved the texture and the color. Once it was unpacked and on the floor, she came to touch it and then told me: “Mommy, look, I can draw on it!” And there she sat, for at least 20 minutes, drawing alphabet letters, numbers and shapes. Within 5 minutes the younger was there too, first observing, then also mimicking her sister. This happened around 3-4 months ago. The rug is still popular in our house.
So how to encourage this creativity between siblings?
1. Based on personal experience – don’t overdo it with toys. We just got rid of 2 boxes of toys we’ve accumulated over the years. They were just sitting in the boxes and were not played with. These were hand down to us by friends who left the country and we took them gladly thinking they’d be useful. Instead we found out the excitement was only there for a bit – since there are just too many, there is no really time to play with them all! Rotating them didn’t help – there are always all time favorites, so we chose them and gave the rest away to other children.
2. Use real life objects – they are way WAY more exciting.
3. Let the older sibling take the lead: you’d be surprised how many ideas are in those little heads (Note: you might want to supervise of course – those ideas sometimes not the safest!).
4. Getting back to #1 – toys are still great. We love toys and I would never exclude them from my children’s life. I just learned with the time to choose wisely – before you get a toy, think of its practicality in the long run: how easily it can break, how cost efficient it is, whether the noise it makes will annoy you and the rest of the household after some time and so on.
5. Pretend play and dress ups work GREAT in my house. They all come from reading, watching some cartoons and action songs. We always have a bunch of scarfs, clothes and accessories at our disposal to create some fun play.
6. Encourage interaction – let your older sibling talk and describe what he/she is doing, “guide and lead” the younger sibling. Ask them both questions, sometimes answering on the behalf of the younger one if he/she still doesn’t talk much.
7. Important: always remember to keep small objects out of reach of your little ones. So far I’ve been lucky as my children don’t stuff their ears, noses and mouths with little objects. But my older one used to love eating paper. And my younger one loves eating tissues papers and… stickers!
I wish you lots fun time exploring your own and your children’s creativity.
Varya @ Creative World of Varya
Varya blogs at “Creative World of Varya” about nurturing creativity, multilingualism, multiculturalism, craft, art, cooking, parenting and character education. She is a mom of 2 (soon to be 3!), an early educator, perinatal fitness and baby massage trainer, currently residing in the South of China with her family.