In wondering if the less 'organised' activities children have, the more creative they are?

(34 Posts)
ilikeyoursleeves Fri 22-Mar-13 14:05:18

Just wondering this one and would be interested in others thoughts. I have 3 boys and they have never really done organised structured activities (as in paid classes etc). The most has been swimming lessons and my eldest did a baby /toddler music group when younger. We don't do anything at weekends other than visit family, hang out at home, play football in the garden, go shopping etc. They usually have at least one friend over to play a week.

My two eldest age 3 and 5 (the youngest is a baby) can spend hours and hours drawing, playing together and reading books and comics. The stuff they come up with is fab and IMHO very creative. I was talking to another mum recently who said her kids don't sit still so they do 8 activities a week! I sometimes feel bad that my kids don't do lots of classes but then I wonder if 'neglectful' parenting might actually be helping them to be creative and able to entertain themselves?

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Fri 22-Mar-13 14:45:10

My 9yo probably has the same time to be bored as your 5yo as most of his pool time is after a 5yo's bedtime.

BackforGood Fri 22-Mar-13 14:52:59

Wht Trills and DeWE said on P1.

That said, I opened this expecting you to be talking about 10 yr olds.
Mine didn't go to any structured activity / lesson / group / class until they started swimming lessons - at pre-school / toddler / baby stages, those groups are there for the parents to meet other parents, not because the dc 'need them'

However, 1 of my dc had to be taken out and "exercised" every day from whenhe could toddle until into his teens - that's the way he was, nothing to do with creativity. The next one could sit and amuse herself much better, but she's not creative in the slightest - more of a problemsolver / maths / scientific person. My eldest (who had to get out the house every day) is the one who is into dram and music.

You're massivly overthinking this IMO. Do what suits you and your dc, and let others do what suits them. Neither is right or wrong.

KitchenandJumble Fri 22-Mar-13 14:57:09

I also think that the constant supervision that exists these days may play a role in the rise of "Queen Bee" behaviour at younger and younger ages. When every moment of their day is filled with structured activities, children are left without the tools to negotiate their own relationships. The result is that they don't know how to cope with friendships, how to solve minor problems or resolve disagreements, and so ordinary friendship groups turn into hotbeds of power plays. And it can lead to conflict, hurt feelings, even bullying.

Obviously, there is more to these situations than the rise of the helicopter parent and the overly structured lives some children live. But I do think it is a connection that really hasn't been explored.

babybythesea Fri 22-Mar-13 14:58:14

The other thing is that sometimes a couple of extra activities can give a bit more 'experience' for the child to draw on when imagining their own games.

Dd is four.
As well as nursery, she does a swimming class (which I instigated) and a ballet class (which she asked to go to) each week.
She has plenty of time to potter round at home creating mess which I have only just tidied up being imaginative and I've noticed that some of her teddies now attend ballet classes as part of her make-believe games with them. They also put on dance shows (although she's never been involved in one of these) using her rudimentary ballet knowledge to tell stories of her own devising. So she's clearly using the extra activities as inspiration for her imaginative games.

I think, as others have said, it partly comes down to the child and their nature. Some children have more energy than others for example. I know I was told when dd started nursery full-time that she would be exhausted at the end of each day - I was hopefuly but not a bit of it, so doing a couple of extra bits is quite useful to help me manage her energy a bit! Other kids probably do get wiped out after a full day at school or nursery and might not need or want the extra stuff.

And I also think there's a balance - most people I know don't fill the child's entire waking schedule with activities but do a couple of bits a week. Find the medium that suits you best.

I have two (older) kids, one by nature needs to keep busy. He is much happier when he has something to do, somewhere to go. The other is content sitting and entertaining himself for hours. They are both very creative but in different ways. The older (busy) kid does things like making locks and grandfather clock mechanisms out of lego and take photos, the less busy one likes to draw and paint and sculpt and do origami.

In our house the amount of creative time increases with less TV and computer games, not organised activities. TV and video games are a huge time suck that make my kids disinterested in most other things.

InSearchOfPerfection Fri 22-Mar-13 15:03:50

My dcs didn't do any 'structured' activities at 3 and 5yo either apart from... oh yes swimming.

As they grew older, they have asked to do X or Y after school. There isn't a day when we don't do something now.

But none of them ever read books at that age (I did read to them though). Nor did they like to draw or have they been very artistic either.

You are thinking too much there. Your dcs do that because they enjoy it and because of their own temperament.
If you had had 2 very active dcs, you might have looked around more to find some activities 'to tired them out' because otherwise, your dcs would have climbed up the wall or you would have spent a huge amount of time frozen at the park.
Granted if you 'occupy' them all the time, they will never do that. but it's not because they have that time that they do iyswim.

Yfronts Fri 22-Mar-13 15:07:13

My kids generally are always grabbing a few minutes here and there (before school etc) to play or create. What I have noticed is that my kids get on THE best when they are refreshed (through having a few days off school) and have time just to hag out.

However I think there is a balance. We do two clubs for the eldest because he loves them - swimming and banjo. I think its excellent for kids to have a regular commitment to exercise (to take into adulthood) and secondly swimming is such an amazing skill to have.

We never did clubs as kids yet I was absolutely desperate to to something and specifically learn to dance. Never happened as a child sadly and was quite hard to get into as an adult. I wouldn't say we were more creative because we had less clubs. We didn't have many books about and I was on my own most of the time with very little parental interest.

I think it is possible to have too many clubs and have too much timetabled time though.

If you had had 2 very active dcs, you might have looked around more to find some activities 'to tired them out' because otherwise, your dcs would have climbed up the wall or you would have spent a huge amount of time frozen at the park.

I have one of those and yes, those were my choices (albeit not frozen). I spent many hours sat with a young baby/toddler at a park while my older one burned off energy that would be put to no good at home if not. Plenty of sporty organised activities saved our sanities. We also had lots of sporty activity things to do at home where he jumped and spun and threw heavy things into bushes.

kelda Fri 22-Mar-13 15:48:17

My dd1 is nine and she has always been very active and lively. As other posters have said, keeping her busy with structured activities and lots of walking has saved our sanities - dancing, swimming, rollerskating, music - sometimes all of those things twice a week.

When she is at home, she mainly draws pictures and does stretching exercises on the gym mat. She does not take after me in the slightest! She enjoys reading at night in bed.

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