Babies and creativity - Part II
Respecting little ones' pace during crafts
Here is the second column in this series about babies and creativity.
I remember a parent once entering the nursery where I worked and asking me why I did not paint with his son and stating that I painted with his older brother when he was the same age.
The parent was actually right...I was forced to explain that to paint, a child must be able to sit in a high chair independently. His older son's postural development was incredibly advanced and he was able to sit and control his hands before most children. On the other hand, his younger son was unable to do the same.
Seeing that the mother seemed sad, during the day, I made an impression of her child's foot with paint on a paper.
She responded with, "See, I knew he could paint!"
I had to explain that her child did not really have fun with this activity since I was the one who did all the work (holding his foot, dipping it in the paint, and pressing it on the paper).
I told her, "I did this for you because you seemed so sad. This will be a nice souvenir for you. However, this "craft" was not fun for your child. He wasn't really aware of what we were making. He is still too small to explore paint, however, he enjoys manipulating all kinds of papers."
For this reason, I wanted to point out the importance of respecting little ones' pace when it comes to creative expression.
It is important that you offer creative activities which enable children to explore on their own. You must provide materials which are the correct size to ensure they can seize them. Children must be able to sit and direct their hands.
Always ask yourself:
- Can the child do the craft I am presenting?
- Will the child enjoy it?
- What will this craft provide?
If you feel that the activity is not appropriate for the child, adapt it!
Paint, glue, and other materials do not always correspond to babies' developmental stage. Several activities can be done with children who are not yet ready to explore paint. In my next column, I will provide tricks to help encourage creative exploration in younger babies.
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