Summer time—the academic pressure is off! Whew! Now some really important learning can happen: creativity! From a monetary standpoint, the value of a creative mind is priceless. Every businessman and inventor yearns for more of this precious element! It is not something that can really be taught in school, either—but you can foster creativity in your home.
Here are some ideas to feed your family’s creativity:
My son Ammon, 15
1) Be creative cooks
This is hard for me to do (because I tend to be thrifty and efficient) but it has been amazing when I “let go” and let the kids combine ingredients and spice things up the way they prefer. My only rule is you have to clean up, and eat what you make.
My son Nathan invented and named a family favorite dish, “Yummy Turkey Bolitos” when he was about 10 years old. He even made a chant/song about it, and printed and illustrated his recipe. I would have never been creative enough to try all the combinations he did! Basically, he baked potatoes and banana squash. Then he scooped out the cooked potato and squash and whipped it with a mixer, adding a little milk and lots of savory spices (salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, parsley, marjoram, oregano, etc.). Then he scooped the golden mixture back into the potatoes and topped them with cheese. They don’t contain any turkey, but they are definitely yummy.
Louisa makes the most gourmet, exotic scrambled eggs. I am afraid to ask what is in them, but they are always highly seasoned and delicious. I have the inkling that she just opens up the spice cupboard and grabs whatever she sees!
As I’ve loosed up on letting my kids experiment in the kitchen, I have seen their creativity expand and their confidence grow!
2) Dress up
We all express ourselves creatively every day just by choosing what we will wear. Moms can allow a lot of freedom in this department and let children experiment with many ways to dress, combining outfits from their own wardrobes. (I do reserve the right to give final approval before going to church or out in public if their outfits are too unconventional—we want to serve as modest, good examples and not be distracting or attention-getting with the way we dress!)
Besides getting dressed each day, there is dress-up play—another chance to be creative! Keep your eyes open for fancy or unique clothes, shoes, accessories and wigs from yard sales or a thrift shop. They are well worth the price in creative dress-up! We have a pair of full length metallic silver gloves in our dress-up box, and they have served to create robot-looking arms, a glamorous accessory for an evening gown, surgeon’s gloves, and much more over the years. Seems every child can think of a new use for those silver gloves!
When Ammon was just a little guy, he wore a tiger suit—complete with headpiece and tail—every single day for months on end. I learned that tigers can do their math and their chores just as well as people!
3) Paint together
You don’t have to be talented in the least to enjoy painting. It is so creative!
I buy watercolor paints (the cheap ones are okay, nice ones are even more exciting) and collect scratch paper (usually computer paper that has been printed on one side and is no longer needed) for our painting times. Set a leaves, shells, or fruit on the table to create a still life. Put on some classical music, and get your brush wet. Look out the window and paint what you see. Look at your sister and paint her eye close-up. Imagine your favorite place and paint it from memory. Do it realistically or with dashes of colors and vague forms, or with dots of paint. Use a fine brush to add details. You aren’t trying to paint a masterpiece—you are just painting for the sheer fun of it, rather like dancing. When you are all “painted out”, you may have 5 or 6 paintings each. Dry these flat, and then use masking tape or sticky tack to arrange your paintings all on your dining room wall for a temporary art gallery. It is fun to look at everyone’s paintings while you eat.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”—Albert Einstein
Have fun being creative!