Apr 5, 2009
Feb 18, 2009
The recent Hindi Bollywood blockbuster Taare Zameen Par where an artistic boy loses his concentration and spirit of learning via formal education and is misunderstood by all including his parents and sent to a hostel labelled as a dyslexic child shows that society is not ready yet for creative talent. We can only fantasize of a society that is receptive to such children as the kid 'Ishaan' in the movie. (By the way, my younger brother's son who was born a few months back has also been named Ishaan and I wish him a creative journey for life like the boy in the movie.)
Formal education demands you to deliver like pre-programmed stereotyped machines. Is any child on the offbeat track heading for trouble. Yet, one can see the need for individuals with abilities for innovative problem solving abilities who have an edge over the others when a problem arises, due to his/her innovative way of looking at the problem in a job scenario.
Building on a child's creative genius requires an open mind that is ready and brave enough to beat the system. But will it leave a child directionless and confused? I think there is a great need for some experimental schools for nurturing creativity and the creative way of thinking. Until then, I hope as a mother that we can make a difference to our child's lives by keeping the creative flame burning despite the challenges of a rigid and structured formal education system.
Do take a look at this enlightening video by Sir Ken Robinson. It’s a little long but not to be missed. He’s funny, making you laugh while bringing in the importance of being creative! Also, contribute your thoughts. I am concerned. Are you?
http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/66 - INTERESTING VIDEO
Jul 21, 2008
Take a deep breath. Here are a few essential tips to choose the right toys at a toy store.
While a whole range of toys are available, it is important for parents to choose the right toys for their children. Toys can help educate as well as stimulate your child's play and imagination.
Many parents think that their child is much more advanced than others and go in for toys that are not age appropriate, and hence do not interest or intrigue the child. Age specific toys can not only be relevant to your child but also help build many core skills like fine or gross motor skills of a child.
Many toys have small detachable parts which may not be suitable for young children. A pointed edge in a toy can accidentally hurt the eye or an eyeball of a soft toy could be swallowed. So, always make sure that the toy you are buying is safe for your child.
-Appealing to your child's senses-
Toys can be appealing if the child can exercise his senses through it. See if your child loves holding the toy, (say a soft toy for cuddling) or seeing it (if it is colourful) or if it can lead to some games.
Stories can be built around a toy. Teddies can be bought and named as Papa Teddy, Mumma Teddy and Baby teddy and they can be made to do various activities round the house to help your child bring them alive.
- Simple yet F-U-N-
It is important for toddlers to be exposed to letters, letter sounds, and numbers. Look for brightly colored blocks, oversized flashcards, or puzzles with letters and numbers that may also have a tactile component like a fuzzy duck or shiny moon. Some phonological based toys also talk or sing to children. Parents always enjoy helping their child explore and create with oversized paper and crayons, or clay.
Having said that, you need not buy costly toys for your children always however tempting it may be.
Creativity can be enhanced from simple things too. A chair can become a bridge if your child crawls below it. A plastic plate can be a steering wheel. A rope can become a snake, a pencil for writing or it can take shape of letters and numbers.
Help your child play with his toys in various creative ways as possible.
Cardboard boxes interest all children. A throw-away cardboard box can become a doll's house, a cupboard for doll's shoes or clothes.
- Interactive -
A toy that aids your child's imaginative power is always a better choice.
Books with pop-up characters, board books for young children, touch and feel books that babies can scratch and feel or cloth books with mirrors for newborns are wonderful variations to the ordinary books available otherwise.
Below is a cloth book from Lamaze with legs that your baby can touch and play with.
This is a pop-up book that adds a lot of interaction and imagination as opposed to normal storyreading books.
This is a board book with touch and feel areas that are specially made for curious fingers.
Even a variation to the regular cushion can become an interesting gift for your child.
Here is a toy that helps build imagination too.
It is a cushion with a cow tied with a small piece of rope. This builds interactivity with the toy. Your child can hold the cow and place it inside its house and take it out to graze in the field when he is hungry.
Have you bought any toy for your child that you think enhanced his/her creative or imagination skills? Share it here at the 'comments' section.
Jul 12, 2008
Is it right to forget ourselves while we live for our own loved ones?
Our tiny tots can take up most of our time and soon leave us in a maze of frustrations and responsibilities.
What better way to refresh our mind & spirit than stealing a quiet hour indulging in our creative minds. Remember, you can be the best role-model for your child. Give some time to yourself, and let your creative self shine.
While we dwell on the creative pursuit of our little ones, wouldn't it be fun to take some time off to let loose our own creative selves.
Whether it is expressing through poems, articles, drawings, paintings, photography, or any handmade work like glass painting or candle making or any other creative work, here's an opportunity you shouldn't miss.
Once you are done, share your beautiful and unique creations. And, if you already have a treasure trove of masterpieces, just scrawl them out, and send it to me. Also, you can get unbiased opinions from others (if you are daring enough) and learn tips from others at the same time. You may get in touch with like-minded friends too.
Send your work (in the form of pics/video links) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Add in the following details:
1. Title (in 10 words or less):
2. A Background of the work would be appreciated (with/without pics) so others can learn too:
3. Your Name (optional):
4. Your E-mail id:
Cheers to life! And living it creatively. With & For our children.
Jul 7, 2008
How about sacrificing an evening with friends or budgeting a lavish birthday party to help the needy children instead. Donate some money, play with them, chat, teach them ways of earning a living or simply share a laugh with them. Add some colour into their lives. They dont need your sympathy. They need your love and concern.
Read the heart wrenching article that follows...
The secret to our future - Joyshri Lobo (The Tribune, Chandigarh)
THE view from the large, French windows at the gym in Sector 9 is interesting. Half a dozen children gambol around green spaces. They wear handouts, chase each other, rile the puppies that arrived a few months ago and smile a lot. Their distinguishing, common feature is that they are very thin and dirty. The moment the traffic lights change colour, they rush to the waiting cars and whine, asking for alms. Some succeed, others do not, but in the end the same young woman who is standing under the trees, darts out to collect the loot and the children start playing their games again. A visit to some of the slums around the city reveals that the kids are trained to beg. Their mentors feed and guide them in the profession. It is just another job in a country that cannot fill a billion bellies. Shades of Oliver Twist and Fagin?
Some huts in the slums have TVs, fans and fridges. These minimal amenities are there because of the shared earnings. As I sweat it out on the treadmill, I become more and more aware of the great divide between those working out on the road and I at the gym. They invent games and laugh like demons. They eat whatever they get while I cannot find a table at a popular restaurant on a Sunday evening because my food tastes are very discerning and any type of food will not do. I am shedding the extra kilos gained but the kids have no such worries. If they can sleep on a full stomach, it is a blessing.
The above mentioned is a material and monetary divide. There is hope on other fronts. We watched two street-plays created by college students and performed by the children of Hamari Kaksha. They put forward depressing social issues humorously, riveting our attention. Each actor was unselfconscious and hugely enjoying him/herself. This total abandon and freedom comes from having very little. Just being recognised and doing things that do not form the daily drudge to keep alive, are worthwhile and fun. If learning is added to this, it is a bonus. AIDS, blood donation, female foeticide and dowry are serious social issues that are dragging the country down. If the poorest of poor can be made aware of them through NGOs, government institutions and us — the future citizens of India — have a better chance of survival.
At DIR India, I told the open-mouthed children a story about a tiger and a sour, miserly man who was eaten by the hungry beast. The story was illustrated with hand puppets made from cut off sleeves. Our awareness about the less fortunate is limited. We do not introspect, look around or empathise. We relegate them into a corner of the mind that does not want to know. Two young girls and a little boy from Welham’s Dehradun, came to help. They sat on the floor amongst the aanganwadi children and made newspaper planes, boats and hats for every one. It was a joyous day for all the children. Baljit Dhatt and her college-going daughter Simran tend to a refugee camp. They care like a lot of us should.
Old newspapers, cut off sleeves, children from all stratas, gifted college and school students and a few people who want to help those who have nothing — the potpourri is heady and fragrant. It is a recipe for progress and the uplift of India.
Have you ever done anything worthwhile for a child besides your own? Do you want to help add a smile to a needy child's life? How?
Jun 29, 2008
We live in a competitive world. Competition is going to increase ten times more when your child grows up.
Parents of today demand too much from a child. Right from the time your child takes birth, comparisons begin from health to looks to his weight and so on. Later, it extends to his abilities in academics and extracurricular activities.
While comparison in the good sense of the word can bring in motivation to improve, it can also bring in a sense of meaningless jealousy and a lack of confidence in the child.
Every child is different. Every child has his unique strengths. Every child is born with a purpose. Our children are like a bouquet of flowers. Each flower has its own place. Each flower has a role to play as part of the decoration.
As parents we need to look out for their unique strengths and recognize their distinct abilities for them to achieve success. Just because you love painting does not mean your child has to be a painter. He could do very well as a drummer. Every individual is creative and creativity is unique to every individual.
Nurturing your child's unique strengths and finding out the space where your child's creative genius is exposed the most is what can help him stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Jun 26, 2008
It can grow long. It can become short and tiny. It can even make different shapes.
Just hold out a flashlight and try out various shapes that your hand/hands can make.
Can u make a bird?
Can u make a barking dog?
Can you make a hungry dog now?
How about a deer?
Shadows are also used for performing arts like in plays and dance performances.
Creative activity for children: Shadow Art
Tape white paper onto the wall. Children work with partners. One child "poses" while the partner traces his shadow. You can shine the flashlight to create a shadow print. Trace their outline shadows. You can also let them sit in a chair and trace the outline of their heads/hands.
Allow them to experiment with what their shadow can do before you do the drawing activity.
If time and interest allow, the children like to color in the outline of their shadow, draw facial features, clothes, etc. Be sure to have each child write his name by his picture.
Now, glue them onto Popsicle sticks to make shadow puppets. The shadow puppets can be now showed up on the wall and the kids can make up shadow shows (like puppet shows) and have fun making them bigger and smaller.
Remember to have someone trace your shadow too!
Did u have fun with shadows?
Jun 21, 2008
Getting your child to experience the sense of touch can become fun if you play the blindfold.
Collect a variety of textures from your house from the rough utensil scrubber, wood, cotton, toothbrush, silk cloth etc. Put everything in a box.
Blindfold your child and let him pick up everything one by one. Ask him to guess what he is holding in his hand. This can not only be a lot of fun but also an eyeopener for you all.
Jun 20, 2008
Give your child's entry a caption and a short description (if possible) along with your child's name and age at the time of the creation.
Send your creative entries by the end of each month, so the selected entries can be published by the 15th of the next month in the Creativity Unleashed (By Juniors) segment of the blog. Send your entries to email@example.com
Jun 18, 2008
After having written the earlier post, my daughter wanted to teach me to practise what I preached. To let them play, let them create mess once in a while.
I remembered what I had just written and kept my cool when i caught her redhanded in this state. (lol)
Jun 16, 2008
Believe it or not! It is true.
You call a spade, a spade! Your child doesn’t. She will dig out ten different things that a spade can do besides what it is known to do.
She does not have any predisposed judgments about things. She does not analyze. She does not search for logic. She does not look for the output. She just thinks the way she wants to think.
We need to think like a child and reverse the assumptions that are taken for granted.
“If my child sits facing the rear of her car, why do we assume that she is the one who is backwards, and not the car itself?”
A child questions things that we don’t. A child looks at things differently.
A ball has rolled out of your child’s reach while she was playing on the bed.
What will you do? You will reach for the ball. Right?
What will your child do? She will just pull the bedcover so it comes closer to her.
We need to accept unusual ideas from children by suspending judgment of children's divergent problem-solving.
Instead of nipping the creative bud right in the beginning by snapping at her, you can can accept it and encourage it to keep the spirit of thinking differently alive in your child (if possible).
Sure, it will need a little more understanding, a little more clearing of mess ups, a little more curbing your urge to smack her on the back and tell her to follow the ordinary norms that you are used to. But, that also doesn't mean letting her do whatever she pleases creating havoc in the house. A balance between the two; by giving her freedom to explore and experiment at times and setting the rules for other times, is what I find is ideal for both the parent and the child.
Gradually, you can extend this creative problem-solving bent of mind to various problems that naturally occur in everyday life.
Have you or your child solved any problems that occured in your day-to-day life creatively? Do you think disorder breeds creativity?
Jun 12, 2008
Every child loves listening to stories. But creating one's own story can be very exciting and thought provoking. You can take turns in telling one line of the story.You can make it interesting and amusing by bringing in different surprising leaps in the story so that your child has to connect to your piece of the story and build it further.
The story need not have any logic or make any particular sense.
The story could look something like this:
Child: There was a lion.
Adult: He was old and weak.
Child: One day he was very hungry.
Adult: So, he took the bus to the town to 'Pizza Hut' (Instead of saying, he hunted an animal, add elements to turn the direction of the story every time its your turn to make it a funny game.)
Child: But Pizza Hut was closed.
Adult: So, he called his friend, the elephant and asked him to come over.
(Soon your child will learn how to change the direction of the story without going the conventional way).
Child: But the elephant was too sleepy.
[II]: What's the ending?
Tell your baby a story and stop before the ending and ask him/her to complete it. Once you have heard his/her part of the ending, ask him/her that if Mummy/Daddy had to write the same story what type of ending would it be?
This will help him/her to think of alternative endings to the same set story.
Get hooked to story making!
Jun 6, 2008
Blogging is a platform for writers to express their views about life. This is my first post. So, let me not scare you all away with my weird blabber.
But then to start off a creative process, one needs to press the creative button on one's remote control. Ya, everyone's got the button. And your child has it too.
Just PRESS the right buttons. And off you will go to a world where you see what no one else sees, you say 'wow' to things that remain unnoticed to others and others say 'wow' to things that you happen to notice.
We as parents want our child to be able to feel the joy of finding that creative button within him/her.
Welcome to the hard work, the frustrations, the trials and tribulations and finally the little happy milestones that go behind parenting a creative kiddy.