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Anybody else have a creative job but struggle to do creative activities with their children?

(8 Posts)
BedHog Wed 02-Jan-13 09:46:21

I spend a lot of my time doing creative things - my job is in the 'art and design' sector, my hobbies usually involve making things, I enjoy looking at other people's creations. Yet I don't seem to be able to muster up enthusiasm to spend time doing creative activities with my children, and I'd like to change that because I'm sure we could have a lot of fun making wonderful things together.

I've tried to work out why I find it so difficult to play with them in this way. I don't know if it's the mess I find frustrating, or my lack of patience and inability to explain how to do things in a way a small child would understand, or the fact that years of my creativity being linked with viability (will this item sell? can I make it within a budget that will allow me to make a profit? is it good quality?) that make it hard to create things that have no purpose, just for the sake of it.

Has anybody else had this problem? If so, how did you manage to overcome it and enjoy being creative with your little ones? I feel like I'll be missing out on a lot if I can't work out how we can make lovely things together.

Thanks smile

Marne Wed 02-Jan-13 09:49:19

Yes, i make cakes from home, i realy enjoy doing it but when the dd's ask if they can make something i find it very hard, its much easier doing it by myself (i have my ways of doing things and i hate others messing it up), i do try and cook with them though (just not as much as dd2 would like).

overmydeadbody Wed 02-Jan-13 09:53:26

I teach creative stuff to kids, and one thing to keep in the forefront of your mind when doing creative stuff with children is that it's not the end product that is important, it's the process.

Really important to remember that with kids. It doesn't matter if you don't end up making anything good/nice/useful/pretty or that actually works, it's the process of making it that is important and useful to childrne.

I have to remind myself of this constantly when teaching the topic of 'moving toys' to children. Hardly any of them actually work at the end, and it can be very frustrating to me, but the kids have great fun, learn new skills, and get to use tools and try out new things and be ambitious and creative.

It might help you to tihnk of a skill you want them to learn, and then focus on that rather than the end product. Like drilling holes or hammering or applying glue accurately or even just mixing colours if you're painting. Keep it small, keep it simple, and expand on that once your kids have acquired a few creative skills.

BedHog Wed 02-Jan-13 11:04:16

Thanks. I do find, on the rare occasion when we do try something creative, that I have to hold myself back from fiddling with their creations to try and make them 'aesthetically pleasing' so I understand what you mean about the process being the important bit! Do you have any suggestions for things to make with a nearly 5 year old boy who would much rather be out on his bike or playing on the xbox? grin Or a 1 year old girl who is liable to put everything in her mouth?

Marne Wed 02-Jan-13 15:03:16

I made carrot cake with dd2 today (involved lots of shouting 'no, dont lick that' and 'don't touch that its hot').

One thing dd2 liked doing over christmas was making snow globes using old jars, dd1 likes making triffle (as she can put her own design on the top using fruit).

overmydeadbody Wed 02-Jan-13 16:52:07

With a 5 year old how about things like finger painting or making goop (cornflour and water and food colouring) to play with? Playdough is another thing that at the age of 5 he would enjoy making with you and then playing with? I'd stick to messy and explorative creative play, where there isn't a final product at the end.

Decorating biscuits might be good, but won't last longer than about twn minutes... painting naked in the bath is a good one, you could put them both in the bath with water-based paints or even special 'bath' paints, and then they paint the bath and themselves and you shower it all away afterwards.

Cutting up pictures from catalogues and mticking them onto paper is also a good thing, doesn't require too much supervision but very good to fine motor control.

How about wooden-spoon characters? You can get lots of cheap creative stuff at The Works, then buy some cheap wooden s[poons and your DS can colour them in with felt tips, add yarn for hair, add wiggly eyes, fabric, ribbon etc to make wooden spoon puppets.

Going out with paper and wax crayons and finding things to make rubbings of on the paper is a good one too. You can do it indoors or outdoors.

Lots of ideas on Pinterest too.

BedHog Thu 03-Jan-13 18:18:25

Some brilliant ideas there deadbody, thanks! I remember bath paints from when I was little!

Summersbee Fri 04-Jan-13 12:31:51

I seriously agree with the idea that it is the process not the end result that counts. I have three children, now well past primary, and looking back it was all the chatting and companionship which was worthwhile. Two of my children only liked to make things that they had thought of themselves so relax, sit back and see what happens. (My son has just made a wallet out of duct tape and he is so chuffed with it - clearing up still to be done!).
Why not put some language songs on in the background sometimes (e.g. A Green Mouse ones) - it's amazing how much children can pick up in a relaxed play situation and you might feel the mess is more worthwhile.

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