Kids’ imaginations are endless. One day they can be a super hero rescuing the world from evil, another day they can be a dog looking for treats or a little petting. The joy of childhood. Simple, yet fun. Unfortunately, in today’s society there is little room left for imagination. Kids are constantly entertained by the television, video games or the ever endless amount of electronic toys they have. There really isn’t much room left for them to imagine or to create.
As parents we play a big part as to how much of our child’s imagination is active. We can do this by limiting them to the amount of television they watch and video games they play, as well as by surrounding them with toys that allow for that creative part in them to come out and explore. Wooden blocks, costumes, puppets, paints, and crafts are just a few examples.
There have been more than enough studies done on the benefits of exposing children to the arts. This does not mean you have to be a Picasso to be able to show your chiquito how to be creative. Just give them a piece of blank paper, some crayons or markers (or if you’re a little more daring, paint) and listo - set them free to just be. The simplest crafts are usually the ones that allow for more imagination.
Crafts also need not be expensive. Just look around at what you have at home. In our home we keep a basket full of recyclable items that can be used for crafts. Empty toilet paper rolls can become a telescope; empty egg cartons can become an art pallet or even a caterpillar. Gift wrap tissue paper saved from the trash, can be perfect to tear apart and glue on to construction paper, or it can be turned into flowers. Empty cans like the chocomilk or oat meal ones, once decorated, can become great for storing colored pencils, crayons or other little special somethings. If you have enough cans, they are also great to use for stacking and making towers. Foil paper can become fun accessories for that special little princesa or a crown for the principe azul. The possibilities are endless. Take a step back and look around your house, you’ll be surprised as to all the great things you already have and can use.
Here is a simple kid’s craft to get you started.
What you’ll need:
- An old shoe box (any size)
- Scraps of colored paper (I save all my scrapbook scraps, but you can also use colorful magazine pages, newspaper funnies or old gift wrap tissue.)
- A paint brush (or fingers)
- White glue (I like to water mine down for paper projects. Or you can make your own glue at home. Here is a great easy recipe.)
- A cup or mug to use for the glue
Tear or cut all the paper scraps into small pieces. They don’t need to be perfect, in fact, the more variety in sizes, the nicer the end result will look. This is also really fun for the little ones to help you do.
Set the glue, pieces of scrap paper, and shoe box on the table. Hand the paint brush to your little artist and let them start gluing the scraps of paper on to the box. Guide them at first, by showing them how to brush the glue onto the box and then attach the paper. It is okay if they overlap. Set them free to do it all on their own.
Once your little artist is done and the glue is dry, cut any excess pieces of paper sticking out.
If your chiquito knows how to write, let him write his name or first initial and then glue it onto the box.
You are done! A Caja de Tesoros to keep all those special little rocks, acorns, leaves, hotwheels, etc. that your chiquito finds.
All photos courtesy of Lisa Renata with the exception of top photo.