Founder of the award-winning national arts and craft franchise The Creation Station and bestselling author and speaker, Sarah Cressall writes a regular article in the 'Crafts Business' magazine and is a judge for their illustrious Crafts business awards. Here Sarah shares nine tips to inspire your child.
Turn your darker evenings and shorter days into a positive creative experience for kids and you!
It takes a bit of adjusting to the shorter days and change of seasons, but I do love the silhouette of winter trees, warm woolly socks and the smell of bonfires. This is a great time of year to do more activities indoors, and this can lead to developing new hobbies and giving our kids opportunities to be creative.
Over the past seventeen years of running Creation Station weekly classes, clubs, parties and events for all ages, I’ve found that there is a process and activity for everyone. As Bananarama sang in their song ‘It ain’t what you do but the way that you do it and that’s what gets results’
This is so true with nurturing creativity.
Plus, creating handmade gifts is a fab way to save money and have fun too!
But where to start?
The great news is you don’t have to be an artist to help nurture children’s creativity. This is because the less we ‘interfere’ with our kids’ creations the more empowered they feel. When we take over, they naturally presume that we know what’s best and that their idea wasn’t good enough. Let’s face it, we can all feel like this at times and before we know it, we don’t make suggestions anymore as we feel our ideas are probably going to be ‘wrong’ or ‘not good enough’.
Our team of over 120 Creation Station franchise owners come from a wide range of backgrounds including managers, teachers, bankers, stay at home mums and crafters too. Together we inspired over a million children and adults and we have a really effective way to help inspire imaginations.
I’m delighted to share with you 9 Top tips to help you inspire your child’s imagination and nurture their creativity and potential:
- Creativity is often nurtured by challenges. Dr Seuss’s book ‘Green eggs and ham’ was developed as result of a challenge to create a book with less than 100 unique words. He went further and created this classic book with less than 50 unique words. By giving your child a challenge, you will get their creative juices flowing. It could be ‘make Auntie a Christmas present they will love using materials from round the house’ or ‘Create a design to use on our handmade Christmas cards’.
- Create the opportunity for them to make decisions. After your child has completed their first creative challenge, they could explore a range of other challenges. Other ways to develop their decision making include doing part of an activity together. For example, collect some items from round the house together and ask, “What do you think you could do with these?” Children appreciate when their opinion is asked for and valued. See what ideas they come up with, then help them make it happen.
- Creative activities provide fun opportunities for different ages to enjoy together – As a mum to three boys I was always looking at things they could enjoy together. Giving them opportunities to collaborate on an idea and a plan, then let me know what their ideas where, proved to be a great way to get them chatting and helping each other. (Now my boys say their best friends are each other, so group collaborative projects can make a long-lasting impact). The Creation Station family fun workshops are a great example of this, often workshops will sell out within 24 hours of being released.
- Don't ask ‘What is it?’ Tell me about ….’The answers you receive are a great insight into what they are thinking about and can generate some interesting conversations. What may look like a scribble or sea monster to you, could be a drawing of what you did at the weekend with lots of extra details that you may never know your child was thinking about.
- Allow them to fail. It is so easy to step in and take over. Yet we really do learn by making ‘mistakes. I believe to ‘FAIL’ is our First Attempt in Learning’. Allow them to own their successes and praise the process of how they overcame hurdles.
- Ask them what they think. Encourage their ideas rather than solving the question yourself. This can be very hard to do, especially if you are rushed!
- Turn off your phone and make the time matter. As busy parents it’s easy to think ‘they are busy now I’ll just...’ but by stopping and focusing on your time together you both grow and learn.
- Make eye contact. This might sound strange but your facial expressions, body language and smiles, all make your child feel loved, special and valued.
- Remember it is the journey not the destination that can really help your child grow through creative activities. This means giving your child the opportunity to experiment, explore, discover, play, think, problem solve, try, fail, learn and grow in self-esteem that is important, so don’t worry about the end result. Celebrate and praise all the positive things you have just shared together.
Your child is unique, and they need to know that you value and love them for who they are. Your contribution is not what you help your child make - but how you make them feel. You are giving your child so much more when you give them opportunities to be creative.
To download your copy of 'Craft Business' visit www.craftbusiness.com
For details of local classes, parties and event visit www.thecreationstation.co.uk
If you would love to find out about running your own flexible and rewarding Creation Station franchise, with full training and award winning support, download a free information pack at www.thecreationstation.co.uk/craftsbusiness it could be the perfect successful crafts business that you are looking for.