Any thing that guarantees mess will probably be a success i.e glitter and glue.
tbh I think the best way for children to be creative and imaginative is to be left to get on with entertaining themselves. I admit I haven't tested this theory yet. Any chance you can throw them outside with a picnic lunch and tell them to come back when it's supper time?
DD is 4.8 and I'm not worried about her. The DSSs are 14 and nearly 12; DSS2 is quite naturally imaginative when given his freedom, but has been caged up for so long that he tends not to know what to do. As for DSS1, he is 100% the product of urban apartment living and his only creative outlet is shopping. Grrrrrr.
Well, there's colouring of course but how about something like Moonsand for some building or AquaBeads to make some jewellery is she likes that? Lego do ClickIts for girls to create handbags and picture frames and bracelets etc.
Have a look at Mr Maker on CBeeBies if you fancy some home made art projects...
Free access to art materials and lots of stuff to make 'sculptures' with
Encouraging sensory crossover - smells and sounds just as important as what something looks like
Important not to put pressure on a child to 'perform', so let them be privately creative and don't make a big deal of it, eg dress up to read a story with you, not to perform a play if she doesn't want to (some kids really want to though); let her watch you do the actions to a song but don't make her join in etc
Make up stories out of your own head and get her to feed in details
I agree - mess is good. Stuff like play doh, shaving foam, water mixed with cornflour etc are such fun to get messy with (in the bath tub if need be). Sand also good, clay, paint.
At her age I'd go mostly for experience based things, rather than outcome based (eg, "lets make a jewelery box") -things where she can;t get it 'wrong', and the enjoyment is in the activity rather than the end product.
Story telling is good - my DD is learning to tell stories (she is 5, but quite a particular child, so worries about doing the story 'wrong') - you could write her stories down for her and get her to draw the pictures.
Dancing also good - get some of the Putamayo international music CDs, and some classical ballet, some marching band music etc, and then give her some pretty ribbons and pieces of fabric to twirl and shake in time with the music.
I do think that this is a problem with boys. My dd is 13, and has progresses seamlessly (no pun intended) from all the glue and glitter to making ghastly primary coloured jewelery to making jewellery that you might actually want to wear to customizing charity shop clothes for herself with practically no input from me. He school is very hot on textiles work, so that's helped.
DS 8 would rather eat wasps than make stuff - but he loves to cook, and play his ukelele and (bit worrying this!)plan complex graffiti on huge sheets of paper.
Oh, and inspired by a recent thread on here, we are going to be making scented candles as soon as the stuff I've ordered arrives. Ds loves giving presents, so he has said he is prepared to overlook the girlyness of this activity if he can give all the ones he makes away!
oooh, yes, get your boys cooking! Might they be lured in by the likes of jamie Oliver or some other young chef? Give them a budget and send them off to the shops to buy ingredients and cook the family a meal?
Yes, I'm really looking for ideas for the boys! DD does all the usual stuff and has lots of toys, materials etc that she can get on with on her own.
The boys tend to fall back on TV/computer. I would love to get them into something more creative. Photography isn't a bad idea at all - it is SO much less burdensome than it once was, both in money terms and in storage terms.
Maybe there is a local club with a photography course to get them started?
Sculpture - some clay sculpture wouldn't nessesarily take up a lot of room. Or what about carving soap stone? Easy and fun. We used to have loads of soft, thick wire at school for art, and I LOVED making sculptures with that. All you'd need is the wire (from an art shop? Or maybe a hardware shop?), some small long nosed pliers and some sturdy scissors or tin snips to cut it with.
A lot of boys this age are into role playing games (like Dungeons and Dragons) or fantasy battles with figurines. Both are quite creative. RPG is mostly all in the head so less manually creative but great for the imagination. With the figurine battles you paint the figurines, create scenery and then play the battle which is a bit like an elaborate version of chess with either elves, dwarves, knights or futuristic armies. You could take them to Games Workshop and see what they think. They sometimes have introductory workshops in the school holidays. But be warned, it is an expensive hobby if they get hooked.
If the staff at Games Workshop look a bit scarey, don't worry, I know plenty of responsible 30 and 40-something businessmen who enjoy this hobby as a creative outlet and don't feel the need to dress like and Orc and have a haircut like a dwarf or elf!
Woodwork? I loved making things with wood - anything at all. You could feign a desire for a new bird box or maybe commission them to make dd a play house in the garden - this would not actually be that hard to make and if they involved dd in the design process, could be a nice bonding activity for them too.
They have their own rooms at their mother's house and share a (very large) room at our house. Decorating is a complete non-starter at our apartment as it is all Art Deco mouldings and parquet floors - not exactly a blank canvas to be played with . DSS2 plays the guitar and you are quite right to suggest that he could be composing - that's a good idea. Though when he plays, he gets very fed up with DD accompanying him on vocals - I must think of how to get her out of the picture sometimes.