School’s out for the summer! Ahead are glorious days at the beach, RiverDogs games, visits to Grandma...and let’s not forget the inevitable complaints of “I’m bored.” Cut ’em off at the pass with Bobbi Conner’s The Giant Book of Creativity for Kids (Roost Books, $22). The local author—who also penned Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun—hosted award-winning nationwide public-radio series The Parent’s Journal for 24 years and now shares weekly parenting podcasts at www.parentsjournal.com.
“Creativity is an essential ingredient for a happy childhood,” urges Conner in the intro to the book, which packs 500 activities for making music and art, dancing, writing, building, and more. Get started with three of her inspiring ideas.
There’s something extra special about a toddler and parent building with really giant boxes!
4 to 6 medium or large cardboard boxes (check your neighborhood grocery store for clean, recycled boxes)
Optional: colored construction paper and tape (to cover logos or printing if you like)
Optional: action figures and dolls or stuffed animals (for the people living in the buildings your child is about to create)
Bring the boxes into a large room (or outside) and see what your child wants to build. Some kids like to stack, others line them up end to end or turn them upside down or sideways for a creative hut.
Preschool & Kindergarten Creativity
Once preschoolers see how to make their first paper-bag puppet, they can make these easy hand puppets on their own!
Paper lunch bags
Markers or crayons
Optional: construction paper, small pom-poms, felt or fabric scraps, buttons, glue, tape
Give a short demo of how to place your hand inside a flattened lunch bag, putting four fingers into the end of the bag and your thumb in the underflap of the bag. Now move or pinch your fingers and thumb together repeatedly to make the underside of the bag flap open like a mouth. Then, work side by side with your child, with each artist drawing a large animal or person’s face on his bag. Encourage your child to use markers to create colorful eyes, eyebrows, nose, and mouth on the bag puppet. Cut pieces of colored paper or fabric scraps to create ears, nose, or hair, and tape these and other decorations on your puppets. Then help your child slip his or her hand inside and pinch or move fingers and thumb together to make the puppet “talk.”
This is a perfect dance activity for Family Creativity Night or a birthday party!
Recorded music with a good dance rhythm and beat
Turn on the music and select one person to be the dance leader. The leader creates dance moves and everyone copies what the leader is doing. Encourage the children to have fun and invent silly or interesting movements to go along with the music. The children may add some moves they already know (the twist, the stomp) or invent their own. Let everyone in the dance group take turns being the leader!
Find the Book: The Giant Book of Creativity for Kids (Roost Books, March 2015, $22) is available locally at Wonder Works’ West Ashley and Mount Pleasant locations, as well as Barnes & Noble.