30 Before 30 :: #9

Last fall, Tara over at Scoutie Girl asked a really intriguing question, and it’s been in the back of my mind ever since: What will you teach the new generation about creativity?

Having no kids of my own, all of my child interactions comes from other people’s babies – like my niece and nephew.

I love these two like they were my own children. I’ve been there for everything I can, and it pains me when I know I’m missing little daily things. But when I’m with them, I love watching them play. I love when they ask questions. I love involving myself with these two little beings who are so full of love and laughter. And the thing is, it comes to them naturally. They are so cuddly, and so loving, it floors me.

A while back, something else occurred to me as I watched them. Not only does love come naturally to them, so does creativity.

Parents out there already know this; they’ve got kids of their own that show these natural tendencies. No one ever had to teach them anything about creativity or make believe; their minds were already wide open to the possibilities.

I was reminded of this again two weekends ago, when the two little munchkins showed up at my house (with their mom, of course, though they are familiar enough with flying to navigate themselves here from NYC on their own, despite being super short and young).

I took the opportunity to knock off another 30 Before 30 item, and had an art day with them. It was so nice to get to spend quality one-on-two time with them. “Art day” is also a little generous, since they are still only 3 and almost 5, but for a few hours, we had a lot of fun.

I asked them what they wanted to do – paint, bake, sculpt – and wouldn’t you know? They both wanted to make jewelry. Totally unprompted by me, but I loved it. So, I dragged out a bunch of glass beads and showed them how to put them on a string to make a necklace, and stretchy stuff I had for bracelets.

In my head, I was thinking of all the tricks I knew, and how I could translate that for their age. But then a curious thing happened. After separating all of the beads by color (again, totally unprompted by me – the little miss decided that because she had just learned about the color wheel in school), they both sat down and figured it out.

I didn’t need to teach them anything. They already got it.

And I decided to let them just play. Rather than telling them the “right” way, I let them put things together on their own. They chose their own colors, their own beads, and how they wanted them to be on their necklaces and bracelets. And by the end of the day (or nap time), I had two proud little kids wanting to make more.

I played no role in this creative session; I wasn’t really a teacher, I was barely a participant (“No, I can do it.”). So, when I sat down to write this, I flashed back to Tara’s post. When she asked “What will you teach the next generation about creativity?”, my first thought was “Not much”. They’ve already got it.

So flipping cute.


This post is part of my 30 Before 30 list. You can see all of the posts here.


7 Responses to 30 Before 30 :: #9

  1. It's so much fun to watch their chubby little fingers deal with the beads and the stringing material, isn't it?

  2. It really is, Vicki! And also the looks they get on their faces – so intent as they string.

  3. I am constantly amazed by my children's creativity. Especially how they combine colors, I feel like they make the perfect color combos every time! It sounds like you had a lot of fun with your niece and nephew. Three and five are such fun ages.

  4. i love it! it is so true. kids are just innately creative. and i hardly ever teach my daughter how to do anything, she just picks it up on her own. cracks me up too!

  5. That's wonderful! I love that you guys had an art day! I used to do that with my Godson, Max. He loved to paint and draw, and make ornaments… whatever I put out there, he'd happily do. So cute! (I MISS HIM!!!)

    You are on a roll with your list!! Way to go, Brandi!!

  6. So fun! It is amazing how childrens minds are so open to all possibilities and how they are so creative. It has got to be one of my favorite things about children. This and of course their ability to love.

  7. Awww this is so sweet!!! It is truly amazing what kids can just DO, if you allow and encourage them! I have loved watching my younger siblings grow in their creativity and it floors me to see what they can do all on their own! 🙂 Oh, and you did teach them something! Because you allowed them to just go with their creataive instincts, you taught them that doing that is possible and great and encouraged. You didn't butt in and tell them "do it this way". You did teach them! xo