And when I'm playing with Sebastian, sometimes I feel that same "uncreativeness". So instead of scanning Pinterest for projects that feel overwhelming, I've been making more of an effort to think of creative play from the perspective of the maker movement. I discovered this amazing book by Rachelle Doorley. It's called Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors - 55 Playful Experiments that Encourage Tinkering, Curiosity, and Creative Thinking.
One of my favourite things is that this book is specifically designed for children between the ages of 2 and 6. At this age children may not exactly wander into their craft supplies and start creating on their own, but they will happily play if given a little nudge. An invitation.
A play invitation is basically setting out a specific number of art or building supplies for your child to encourage exploration.
Then, and this is the hardest part, once everything is set up and your child comes to play, keep your mouth shut. You are not there to direct their play, just to give them an offering to begin. "I wonder what would happen if...."
And once Sebastian dives into an invitation, I get to enjoy my tea while it's still hot.
There are no specific end projects in mind with each invitation. We never know what the result of our play will look like. Rather, the goal is to give our children the space to discover, to create, to explore.
As he was playing with glue and paper (above) Sebastian said to be, "I'm making a volcano. This is the lava." It is so amazing to watch how he sees the world.
Giving children the space to explore and discover (without getting all up in their business) allows them to develop into the best kind of adults: innovative ones.
Here's how to set up your own super easy #creativetable at home
If you can setup an uncluttered space in your home, that is ideal. We've turned the sunroom beside our kitchen into a craft room and even added a chalkboard wall as a bonus. Then we went to Ikea and got this table with these chairs and this amazing utility cart.
The invitations described in the book are so simple to prepare. I promise! And this is coming from a non-crafty person. They are easy to set up and build upon each other as you progress through each section for older makers.
Tinkerlab is divided into sections on designing, building, concocting and discovering. The invitations described are often the perfect blend of art and science without any of the pressure to create a perfect product at the end.
Sebastian and I have enjoyed exploring with invitations we try in the book, and I've seen it inspire him to create the invitation again more independently now that he has a few ideas to work with. This is an excellent book to add to your home library.
"Regardless of the outcome...a good creative experience is one that gives children the opportunity to solve problems and think independently. When a child exercises flexible thinking in a project without a predetermined outcome, then the experience is a success." - Rachelle Doorley, Tinkerlab