Saturday 12 October 2013

The Sunday Parenting Party - Creative kids

Taming the Goblin

 (Goblin is 4)

When Goblin was small (like 18 months old) he loved to paint and draw. Painting was a daily activity and he'd often be found scribbling with felt tips in his art corner. But as he grew older his enthusiasm for art waned. His interests shifted and now he barely touches a pen without encouragement. 
I make sure all his art materials are still easily accessible in case he suddenly becomes inspired. And I leave out art based invitations to play in the hope of reigniting his creative flame. But had started to fear it had been extinguished. That was until recently. 

I had been reading An Everyday Story and was taken by the block play her kids get into. It inspired me to change up the way I present blocks for Goblin. Where as before I kept them all quite separate and would rotate which blocks were on his shelves, instead I put all the different blocks together in one big box and placed it low on the shelf where it's weight wouldn't hinder Goblin's ability to access it. If you follow Montessori method you would probably be horrified that I mixed all the blocks together. My initial instinct has always been to keep them separate so Goblin can clearly see the options. But I think the sheer quantity of them when all together was the inspiration he needed. He has started playing with blocks more than ever before.

Apparently blocks are Goblin's 'go to' toy at nursery but at home he hasn't shown a huge amount of interest (at least not on my days). But since the blocks have been mixed together and are more accessible I have seen a new creativity in my son that I hadn't realised was there. Not only creativity but patience and concentration. He doesn't wig out when the blocks get knocked over while he builds. He sighs and returns them to their positions. He spends hours building intricate play scenes. The themes usually revolve around roads and airports but the details are so imaginative.Block building together also gives us a new opportunity to connect. We are creating together. He instructs me what we are building and directs the play. It gives him control, which I think helps with our relationship - his throw downs are usually when something is taken out of his control (like transitions).

It made me realise that I have been looking at creativity with a very narrow focus. I had been worrying that because Goblin doesn't paint so much any more, and isn't interest in drawing like some of his peers, that he was not going to be a creative child. But his creativity just takes a different form. For now he is a sculptor rather than a painter. 

Flight of Whimsy's shared a quote of their Facebook page which I am currently totally embracing,
"Kids who play with blocks perform better on divergent problems. They also show more creativity in their attempts to solve problems" (Pepler and Ross, 1981)

Taming the Goblin
There were some great links last week, I particularly loved
Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party, hosted by Dirt and Boogers, Play Activities, Crayon Freckles, Taming the Goblin, The Golden Gleam, Prickly Mom, and The Tao of Poop. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, and caring for children, as well as honest posts about the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Links to reviews and giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic. All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception: please do not link to posts promoting physical discipline, as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs. (P.S. By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.)


  1. Totally with you on mixing blocks up - we've also had a lot of fun mixing up our bought building stuff with random junk modelling boxes. I've got a link up for building & constructions posts on my building post, would really love for you to share this, Alice

  2. I'm always amazing at how much changing the environment can alter the play. Goblin's block city is amazingly intricate. You're right, that's creativity. And he's also working on his also imaginative play, fine motor skills, attention span - all things that are very important. :)

  3. This post is a good reminder. I'll definitely be pulling the blocks out again and mixing different types of blocks. Goblin's creations are a total inspiration.


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