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Mindful Mama

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Anything Goes

At Clementine Studio, an art space for children in Boulder, CO, I often set up an art activity called ‘Anything Goes.’ I arrange a six foot table with the most inviting materials I can find: colorful paper and wooden shapes, tubes, cubes, spools, and baskets overflowing with embellishments; bright pom-poms, bendy pipe cleaners, funky buttons, sparkly glitter shakers, glue, scissors, and vibrant bowls of creamy tempera paint.

Much of the time, children approach the table tentatively, look longingly at all of the inviting materials, and turn to ask:

“What am I supposed to make here?”

“Well my friend, what do you want to make? You can make anything.”

After I watch the child’s face light up in anticipation of the possibilities in the word ‘anything,’ very often, I watch it fall again when the child realizes that there are no directions for making ‘anything,’ and self-doubt sets in.

This moment is the magical, possibility-filled moment of the day. I call it the creative edge; a defining element of both art and the creative process. When a child is inspired by the challenge to create something new, she has met her creative edge.

A child engaged in the creative process feels challenged because every area of her brain is engaged. The creative process develops both right and left brain abilities to dream, plan, brainstorm, problem-solve, synthesize, interpret, express, and execute an original vision.

As a parent, you are likely interested in helping your child develop her creative abilities. When choosing art activities for your child, you’ll want to make sure that the activity you provide has the potential to support the development of real creativity.

A child’s creative edge is a magical place. When encouraged to explore this place in their own way, children learn to think creatively. The act of creation is natural, joyful, nourishing, and developmental for children. When you provide opportunities for your child to engage in creative thinking, stand back and be prepared to watch her glow, hum and shine.

Look for this article in Mindful Mama magazine. www.mindful-mama.com