Carefree Creating

Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening with my two granddaughters ages 6 and 9. I brought my big bag of arts & crafts supplies: paper plates, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, tongue depressors, all sorts of paper, beads, and more. Usually I go with a craft in mind, but yesterday I was winging it.

I simply put all the supplies on the kitchen table and let the girls go to work creating. E.(9) created a ripped tissue paper collage on a plain paper plate. She ripped and glued until she had the four colors of tissue paper just the way she wanted and then arranged a pattern around the edge of the plate. I.(6) began with making a paper plate mask (a lion) and then used cupcake cups to make fireworks like we had done once before. She told me she chose to put them on a piece of black paper because the sky had to be dark. She also made an alien mask and one that was a mystery to me.

What struck me was that each of the girls looked through the supplies, thought of what they wanted to create, and went for it. When they finished each creation they were very proud of their work. Neither of them looked for flaws or something that didn’t turn out quite “right.”

At what age to we start judging ourselves and our work? Was their total abandon because they were in a safe place with a person who they know loves them no matter what? Would they have acted differently in school?

I want my students to create with such abandon, but in 7th grade there is a lot of judgement going around – judging themselves, each other, and worrying about how the teacher will judge their work. How can I change this? How can I stop them from asking me, “Is this good?” I try, but it is an ongoing challenge. I will definitely be thinking about this a lot this week.

I am sorry I have no pictures of E and I’s creations. We got distracted – playing charades, taking turns reading, and taking spelling tests (at their request). LOL.

***Thanks to my daughter-in-law I now have pictures!!

5 thoughts on “Carefree Creating

  1. This slice makes me smile, Rita, because it brings up such fond memories of creating with my grands, many of whom are now too old to create like this. The fear of judgement is a good point. The years I taught using a workshop approach with 6th to 8th graders was when I had the most success dispelling judgement. We were all in it together and I felt like we all encouraged one another. Of course, that was over 25 years ago and kids may have changed a bit. Thx, Rita.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The judgement is very strong in middle school (and high school too). I’ve been thinkin about how we can fully develop into our own selves, but this peer pressure and judgement works against that, sometimes leading to a troop of people who have no idea who they are apart from those who look/act like them.

    Liked by 1 person

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