Creative Child

Organizing Your Creativity Zone

by Rebecca Eanes

We’re losing our creativity.

Research shows that creativity has been on a steady decline in America since 1990. The reason is up for debate - too much TV and video games, a jam-packed school curriculum that doesn’t allow time for creativity, pushing academics too early? Whatever the reason, there is cause for concern. Creativity solves problems and fuels innovation. We need creative people to change the world.

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A weekly art class at school isn’t enough to fix the problem. University of New Mexico neuroscientist Rex Jung has concluded that those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains' creative networks quicker and better. Here’s the crux - just as teachers’ days are too packed to include creative activities, at home, parents aren’t often bursting with free time either. The creative solution?

Enter a DIY creativity zone that your child can use independently.

By making a child-friendly, self-serve space in your home where your child can easily do creative activities, you’re providing the opportunity for them to wire their brains for creativity, and with the right organization from the get-go, it’ll be less stress and less mess for you! Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating and organizing this amazing space for your child.

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Step One: Choose the space. You’ll want to pick an area that is easily accessible but not highly trafficked. If you want your child to frequent this space, it needs to be somewhere close to where the family hangs around. You don’t want to put it in a creepy basement corner!

Natural light is a plus! Keep in mind that creativity can get messy at times and choose a space that can accommodate that.

Step Two: Choose the furniture. This is going to be dependent upon the type of space you’re creating. An art studio will need different furniture than a builder’s workshop, but in general, a small table and chairs makes a great workspace for drawing, coloring, painting, etc. A desk might work as well, although sometimes they’re a bit narrow. You’ll also want to look for low shelving plus trays and bins for organization, and don’t forget a waste basket for easy clean-up. Check thrift stores and yard sales for amazing finds. The key is that everything should be within reach for your kiddo so that they can access the materials independently and know where to put them away. The Dollar Tree is a great place to find organizing supplies! You don’t want it to be too organized and complicated or your kids won’t keep it up. Simple, basic bins, jars and cups will do.

Step Three: Choose the materials. Again, this is going to be largely dependent upon your child’s interests, but don’t forget to provide materials that give them the opportunity to grow and discover new things. If your child loves to paint, you’d obviously fill the space with more painting materials, but if your child only has access to that, they may never discover another passion, like sculpting. Perhaps your child isn’t into art so much as science, so giving them a creative science lab may spark their imagination! Or maybe they’d prefer a music studio or a builder’s workshop! Cater the space to suit your kiddo. For a standard art space, consider adding blank paper, construction paper, crayons, markers, pencils, erasers, glue, scissors, felt pieces, buttons, paint, brushes, playdough, clay, pipe cleaners, pompoms, googly eyes, socks, yarn, and stickers. Also think about adding recyclables such as cardboard boxes, paper tubes, milk jugs, egg cartons, and plastic lids.

Step Four: Make room for a display area so that your child can show off their work! You might consider designated shelves to display sculptures and crafts, a gallery wall or string line for paintings and drawings, etc. Children love to see their work proudly displayed, and this will encourage them to keep creating!

It’s important to keep the space fresh, lively, and fun. Join them often in their creativity! This is a wonderful way to bond with your child and strengthen your relationship. In addition, being creative is good for your mental health, and can become part of your own self-care routine. What a lovely way to create beautiful memories that your child will carry with them for a lifetime.

 

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Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 

 

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