The holidays offer a huge creative opportunity, all you have to do is visit Pinterest to find Thanksgiving and Christmas GALORE! Adults shouldn’t be the only ones moved by the season of creating.
1… Add a Little Something to Open-ended Toys
Open-ended toys are toys that can be used in many ways. Wooden Block are a perfect example because they can be used to build a sky scraper, make a fantastic balance beam or even hold up a train track when the supports aren’t tall enough. Adding a little holiday spice to the open-ended toys that already reside in your playroom is an easy (and cheap) way to get your kids creating… holiday style.
~ Pull out red, green, yellow and white Legos and put them into their own bin. (For Thanksgiving or Fall themed bins use brown, orange, red and yellow Legos.) No need to say anything, your little builder might be inspired to make a Christmas tree. They might also be inspired to make a Fire Station. Either way changing the look of the Lego bin is sure to get the creative juices flowing. (Tip: Keep all of the other Legos accessible. That way your kid won’t feel restricted to only what is in the box.)
~For those train loving kids, make a few mini food packages, some tiny plates and a picnic area to celebrate Thanksgiving. Make little presents, add white fluff (to mimic snow) and a North Pole sign to make it a Christmas scene. (Tip: the trick to allowing for creativity is to stop while your ahead. Make only a couple of items to spark an idea, then let your kids do the rest.)
~ Is it dress-up that gets the most attention at your house? Try adding Santa hats, black boots, jingle bells and elf ears. I bet you’ll be amazed at the creative conversations that take place!
2… Display LESS Decorations Than You Normally Would
I’m sure you have boxes of decorations that you can’t wait to pull out, that’s how I am. I love the cozy, cluttered feel of Christmas. If you can resist pulling out everything and leave a few empty spaces, your kids will have a place to display their homemade creations. It might even help to let them overhear that you think the mantel is “missing something”. (Tip: Write your artist’s name and the year on the kid made decorations you can keep, I’ll bet in a few years those will be the ones you can’t wait to see.)
3… Offer Sensory Experience With No Expectations
Oh the smells of Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is the season of sensory overload. Use that to your advantage by setting up creative sensory experiences for your little one.
~Next time you’re at the grocery store pick up some small pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn. Set a basket of these fall color goodies in the playroom and see what happens. If you have a “no touching decorations” policy you might want to let them know these are HANDS ON! (Tip: No expectations means that once it’s in their hands they choose what to do with it. If pulling off the kernels is what they do… let it happen. Feel free to stop pumpkin throwing though. YUCK!)
~Make scented playdough and add a few seasonal accessories. (Tip: make it a family affair, pour yourself something warm to drink and chat with your little one while they work.)
4… Create a Holiday Rich Storytelling Session
~Take out your favorite fall, Thanksgiving and Christmas books (you know the ones that everyone knows by heart). Use the characters, events and places in the stories to make storytelling cards. Help your little one change the ending, the beginning or the entire plot and create an entire new story. (Tip: You can photo copy pictures from the book or better yet have a family drawing session and use the book as inspiration.)
~Use props to bring holiday stories to life. Again use family favorites so the story is easy to tell. (Tip: Tell your kids what your setting up and let them help you collect props. Accept their suggestions… even if you don’t understand the relevance.)
5… Schedule Down Time During This Busy Season
Once we hit November the parties, gatherings, shopping, planning, baking… etc, etc, etc… all start. Kids end up being dragged from place to place (yes sometimes the places are totally cool!) but it leaves very little time for kids to just be. Down time is so important to creativity. It allows them the time to get really involved in play.
This backyard campsite is what happened last Sunday. M and M spent the entire day out back, working together, talking and laughing. They created a space and experience that I would have never thought to encourage. If our schedule would have been crammed with events it never would have happened. (Tip: Write AT HOME DAY in your calendar and don’t budge. Remember it’s just as important as the family Thanksgiving dinner you would never cancel. :))
How does your family celebrate the holidays with CREATIVITY???
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