The tools that finally tore four kids away from their beloved gadgets and computers were surprisingly simple—fresh notebooks and new pens. Four boys between the ages of 7 and 11 spent an entire Saturday just drawing, seemingly forgetting about the lures of Facebook games and the Internet.
In this age of instant gratification and digital spoon-feeding, parents couldn’t help but worry that technology can kill their kids’ creativity. Sure, there are apps and software and websites that encourage its users to develop their flair for art and expression, but how do you know your kids are using them?
Here are 10 easy ways to unleash your kids’ creativity, 10 ways to have fun, and 10 reasons to unplug—even for just a few hours.
Let them write on the wall. Paint one wall of your kids’ room with chalkboard paint, giving them an instant blackboard. If painting a wall is out of the question, buy a blackboard and hang it in their room. Don’t forget the colored chalk.
Give them a journal. Sure, kids tweet and Tumblr but there’s nothing like taking pen to paper. Encourage them to document their days and share their thoughts, doodle and sketch in a journal. They don’t have to be expensive leather-bound journals. National Book Store has a lot of pretty Moleskine-type notebooks that are very affordable.
Prepare a crafts kit. Get a nice box and fill it with different art materials—colored pens, paper, clay, beads, anything fun that your kids can use for creative play.
Put up a blank canvas and an easel in one corner of your home. Don’t forget the paint for your little Picasso.
Give them access to musical instruments. Rock Band and Guitar Hero just won’t cut it. If your kids enjoy playing musical video games, why not let them cross over to real musical instruments?
Pictures and stories
Lend them your camera. A lot of photographers recall receiving their first camera very early. Hand over your camera to your child, teach them the basics, and let them have fun shooting stills and videos.
Trade stories. Who says bedtime stories should only be told by parents? Let your kids tap into their imagination by asking them to tell you a bedtime story. You can also tell a story together—you can take turns in continuing the tale.
Learn a new art form together. This wouldn’t be just good for your kids—it will be good for you, too. Learn a new art form together—pottery, knitting, sculpture, something you’ve never tried before but have always wanted to learn.
Make your own family newspaper. All it takes is bond paper and colorful pens. Give your kids different assignments —someone can be in charge of the comics, someone can write news, someone can do puzzles. A new cousin is born? Put it in the family newspaper. Ate had a recital? Write about it.
Hold an exhibit in your home. When your kids have created enough artworks, you can hold an exhibit in your home. Transform your living room or garden into a gallery and invite their grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends for merienda and a viewing.