Let your kids write on the walls

March 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

Want to create a space that will heighten your child’s creativity?

Sometimes, it really is about space. Not the size so much. Just a nook where you can read your favorite book, a favorite chair that slides up to the tabletop just right so you can write with ease, a special lamp that casts light just the right way on the page. The same way we like our “stuff” the way we like it, so too do kids need their space. Especially their creative space.

While having the luxury to gift your child a writer’s lounge or art studio in the home is unlikely, there are some simple things that parents can do create “space” for their young authors and artists.

First things first. You will likely need to embrace the concept of creative chaos – which means this space may not be neat to your typical standards. That does not mean there is no organization. Figure out the tools your child needs and then work together to place these things in an accessible way. Paint some coffee cans to hold the pencils. Put up a shelf or two for the various kinds of paper or art supplies. And then, get your child a tabletop or desk space that is his own. I would argue that a postage stamp-sized surface is better than half of the dining room table – which, let’s face it, either is piled with your own tower of unfinished projects or is cleaned regularly by someone who can’t stand piles at all. This is your child’s space. Let ‘em have it.

Then, let ‘em write on the walls.

Huh?!

Seriously. Get a white board or a large piece of poster-sized paper and put it on the wall. Encourage your child to outline and story bubble and sketch out ideas before sitting down to the creative task at hand. Give him a bulletin board to collect notes and ideas and funny pictures of things that may inspire.

There are so very many reasons to do this. First and foremost, it makes your child’s thinking visible. Even better, it introduces your child to the process of developing and reflecting on ideas before barreling ahead. Regardless of whether your child is a visual or verbal learner, the process helps creative minds purge the clutter. Okay, yes, that means they are purging onto your wall. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. White boards can eventually be erased.

In time, if you pay attention, you might even start to notice some things—like how ideas in your child’s head are best sorted out. Does he use more pictures, shapes, charts, words? Or it a smorgasbord of all of them? When the time comes to help junior get organized with homework and writing assignments, knowing “how” his mind works things out and the tools that work for him will be invaluable.

Rest assured, in time the process will likely come down from the wall and become a bit more mobile (and aesthetically tolerable)—a box of index cards or a notebook to carry around. But for now, let creative chaos spill onto the walls of your child’s creative space. Unlike the art projects that go on the refrigerator door, these musings and pictures are for your child. Judge not. Ideas are supposed to be big and messy. Embrace the chaos.

And if you’re really daring…buy your own white board and see what happens.

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Entry filed under: Bright Ideas, writing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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