From the moment they are born children are creative; they experiment and create with their minds, bodies and voices. As children grow, and develop physically and emotionally, their creativity expands and extends to expressions in play, on paper, with play-dough, etc. The avenues are endless.
– Develops and strengthens gross and fine motor skills
– Helps children express and cope with feelings
– Stimulates brain development
– Increases self esteem
– Encourages innovative thinking
– Builds a strong sense of identity
So… it’s important – REALLY important!
Very young children, ages 0-5, are often not interested or attached to their creative products. Their interest lies in the actual process of creating. All the learning, development and joy happen within the process.
The Creator’s Workshop is dedicated to reconnecting adults to the power of the process and inspiring them to create with the children in their lives.
Here’s one of our favorite activities – “Save that Box”
Materials: cardboard box, crayons (“ALEX” finger crayons are great for little hands and young minds) or markers, scissors or knife for adult use, packing/masking/duct tape, belt, neck tie or robe tie for pulling, favorite small toys.
Benefits: physical engagement, self expression, discovery of self accomplishment, develops gross and fine motor abilities, elicits storytelling/language, FUN!
General age: 1 year and up (if you are inspired but don’t fall within age range try anyway. Especially those of you with very young children – these creative projects can inspire and engage YOU as well! )
Start with a cardboard box that is big enough for your little one to sit in. Let he or she climb in and out, wear it on their head, etc. This box can become many things! Some possibilities:
– Cut an opening in the front of the box and attach a belt/neck tie/robe tie and pull your child around in the box. NYC apartment hallways are perfect for this activity! Your child can also pull his or her toys around in the box. Cut a “window” or a “door” in the box through which your child (or their toys) can peek. Adults should do all the cutting but let your child observe; show them your process and then place the cutting instrument out of child’s reach. Let your child color inside and outside the box. You can begin coloring to engage them in the process.
– Turn the box into a “house” for favorite small toys. Create “upstairs and downstairs” by taping pieces of cardboard inside. Create a “trap door” that a toy disappears through.
– Use the box as a drum.
-“Not a Box” by Antoinette Portis is a wonderful complement to this activity.
About The Creator’s Workshop:
The Creator’s Workshop offers small, private group workshops on the Upper East Side of Manhattan as well as on-site workshops at schools and parenting programs throughout the Unites States. We also provide individual consultations for parents, teachers and administrators. Workshop members participate in hands-on creative projects working with different materials. They learn about the benefits of the project, developmental appropriateness of the materials and how to customize it for their unique family or class and workspace.
Kaena Clark,MPS,ATRis the founder and facilitator of The Creator’s Workshop. She received a BA from New York University and a Master of Professional Studies in Art Therapy and Creativity Development from Pratt Institute. Kaena is the mother of 2, wife of 1 and a native of Manhattan who has been creating in small spaces for over 30 years.