The Secret to Kids’ Creativity

It isn’t a secret. One of my creativity gurus says the best way to encourage kids’ creativity is to live it yourself.

I would add: supply the tools, space, time and patience (yours) and turn ’em loose.

My granddaughter now lives nearly two hours away, so rather than the alternating days I’ve had Chloe for nearly four years (half her life!) I’m getting her every other week through the summer. The condo pool provides plenty of outdoor activity, but I don’t want her filling the rest of the days with TV and YouTube videos.

I’m constantly on the lookout for fun art and craft ideas, and often visit sites like All Free Kids Crafts.

Chloe’s favorite videos are on cake decorating, so on her first day here, as promised, we baked a cake (from scratch) and decorated it, even making fondant. When I told her I had no idea how to make fondant, she got on my phone and found a video on howtocookthat.net. It was from Australia so we had to do a little translating (corn syrup for “sucrose syrup”)  and converting–I had no idea how much 900 grams of confectioners’ sugar was, but with a quick internet search I soon learned it’s about 4 cups. The recipe also called for glycerin. I knew I had some but couldn’t find it, but it was not necessary (I later found it in the medicine cabinet). I had plain gelatin on hand. What I was lacking was sufficient powdered sugar and food color, but a couple of calls to hubby on the golf course, asking him to stop at the store, fixed that.

 

Chloe sculpted and painted the fondant into huge globs–it was basically inedible.

Chloe's abstract expressionist cake

Chloe’s abstract expressionist cake

 

Icing colors: fill green, sides yellow, top purple, piping blue, fondant red, blue and green

Icing colors: fill green, sides yellow, top purple, piping blue, fondant red, blue and green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleanup continued till the next morning–dried sugar and flour need a lot of soaking!

Hardened fondant and sugar

Hardened fondant and sugar

 

Cake mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we made art and put on a show.  Actor husband visited as various wacky critics in strange wigs, capes and other costumes.

Chloe made and hung signs announcing the exhibit

Chloe made and hung signs announcing the exhibit

 

Art displayed with the wooly docent, Lammy.

Art displayed with the wooly docent, Lammy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Display welcoming visitors  to the show.

Display welcoming visitors to the show.

 

This is a foldover print.

This is a foldover print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite, a monoprint (although she doesn't know that's what it is)

My favorite, a monoprint (although she doesn’t know that’s what it is)

 

A trip to ToysRUs to get a birthday gift yielded the best find of the week. Chloe repeatedly watches videos on the Vat19 web site (sort of the Spencer Gifts of the internet–entirely useless but fun novelties) for “Sånd” (pronounced “sahnd”) a Swedish product made of sand and polymer. It cost nearly as much as the birthday gifts (when I take Chloe shopping I call that the “Granny penalty” because I usually end up buying her something) but it was cheaper than on Vat19, with no shipping charge or wait. It’s also called “kinetic sand.”

Pastry chef at work

Pastry chef at work

It was worth every penny. The stuff is addictive, and I’ve never seen her so absorbed for so long with anything. She would play with it literally for hours, and go back to it repeatedly. I felt bad about her going home without it, but I really didn’t think her mom would appreciate it. Even though it sticks together, some does spill and requires sweeping.

Product list for the sand bakery

Product list for the sand bakery

 

Molded sand decorated with beads

Molded sand decorated with beads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chloe and Lammy with their treats.

Chloe and Lammy with their treats.

Lammy and a molded cake

Lammy and a molded cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Display worthy of a bakery window.

Display worthy of a bakery window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next week we’ll have the grandson here part of the time, so it’ll be interesting to see the (very different) cousins interact.

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