As the school bus drew to stop in front of me, on one of the days I was waiting to pick up my elder son from school, I couldn’t see his familiar frame near the bus steps ready to alight. I realized he was still sitting and refused to leave the bus even when the caretaker called out to him, when he finally came down he was upset, crying and basically had no hold on his emotions.
When we got home I gave him some papers and for the first time handed him the fevicol glue stick and told him he could use it. Within minutes he was calmer and quietened down enough to address the issue of why he didn’t want to leave the bus. That was a real turning point in my approach to process art and allowing my kids to work with their hands.
If you are a parent anything like me, your house is probably always a mess. I let the kids play with things like kidney beans, flour, paints, crayons, legos and other play material that they find around the house and decide is good for play. We often have dry play dough pieces all over the floor till its cleaned up in the morning but here’s the thing, in space starved cities like mumbai play spaces come at a premium that we cannot afford, we are always a room short.
How do we ensure kids have the right environment to explore these for themselves. If independent play cannot be encouraged my kids are bored easily and resort to screens especially the TV. So I have been doing a lot of research into how I can create independent set ups in the space available to help the kids play and create. Here are the things to consider –
Canvas – they need a canvas to create on that is available to them. Enter chalkboard / blackboard and paper rolls.
Open storage – when kids can see colours, paints, stamps, stencils, stickers etc they are automatically drawn to experiment and create. Their natural curiosity will push them to explore.
Accessibility – make sure kids can reach the art material and are able to choose and remove what they want to play with and put it back
Spaces that inspire – bring colour to the space, fill it with fun books and toys that encourage your child to roleplay, create
Display – Displaying what your child creates motivates the child to create further. As they see their work put up they create more and better so make a space on your wall to put up what your kids make on their own.
We are in the initial process of setting up these spaces in my own home and will share a few scenarios with you in up coming posts. What I am doing now is more trial and error as I’d like to set this up within our space (we have a space crunch anyway) and as child friendly as possible so I don’t have to supervise the kids too much.
The bonus: These quirky space are interesting for the kids and they try to keep the quirk factor up by contributing, cleaning up and sometimes adding a piece to the design.