You may be hearing this a lot lately, “I’m bored.” When boredom sets in - that’s the magical moment of creativity. Parents, take that as your cue to get the Creativity Box out and let your kids create. Boredom can lead to something really engaging, especially when you support your kids with open-ended materials for creativity. 

Step 1 - Start a Creativity Box

Keep a box of items - reusable things that you might usually recycle or throw away, like tea boxes, corks, tubes, plastic caps, old toys, fabric, etc. Add to it daily to keep items interesting and fresh. Encourage the kids to create using items from the box. 

Step 2 - Add Art Supplies

Supplement items in the Creativity Box with typical art supplies like scissors, markers, tape, glue sticks. Add paint and a low-heat hot glue gun for kids 5+ with a safety lesson from you. 

Step 3 - Offer Ideas or Creative Games

Kids can use the materials to create on their own, or create as a family. Kids can make whatever they want with the materials, but you can also offer some ideas. 

Art is fun, but there is so much deep learning going on too: designing, engineering, measuring, balancing, creative thinking, imagining, troubleshooting, problem solving, collaborating, and even presenting, when kids tell us the story of their creation. 

Idea #1: Stuffed Animal Fashion Show

Materials: Stuffed animal, old clothes or fabric, old accessories, scissors that cut fabric, paper, pencil or pen. 

Every child has a favorite stuffed animal or doll - probably more than one. How about designing clothes and accessories for these favorite furry friends? Just use some old clothes, pillow cases or fabric from around the house. Cut these items into outfits for the stuffed animals. Have fun making tops, pants, skirts, capes, hats, boots, etc. just by cutting and tying the fabric. There will be a lot of experimentation and problem solving - which is great for learning. Old accessories like scrunchies and scarves can give the stuffed animals a whole new look. A story may emerge from all the new designs for these favorite friends. Let the creativity emerge! 

Older kids may want to create a pattern first. Just trace the stuffed animal on paper with your pencil. Then draw the clothing onto the tracing to make sure your design will fit. Cut out the paper clothes and tape them together to fit to your stuffed animal. Take apart the taped paper clothes, and these parts become your pattern. Trace the paper pattern shapes onto the fabric. Cut out the fabric pieces and sew fabric pieces together. Sewing and creating is all about patience. Encourage problem solving and most of all, have fun!

Joan Green is a South Bay resident and owner of Green Art Labs, offering online art classes and art boxes for kids.

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