Sunday, January 23, 2011

Creative Play for Kids

My grandson loves to go on dangerous missions, a tradition begun by my husband with our own kids, and continued now on the days we provide childcare for two of our grandchildren. In winter, a dangerous mission usually involves bundling up with long underwear and riding a sled into either Winter World or Ice World and trying not to get frozen by an ice bomb, battling enemies with icicle lasers, and so on. When the mission is over, coats, gloves, scarves, wet socks and long underwear are thrown into the dryer, the Winter World Warrior is covered with a blanket, and hot chocolate with marshmallows magically appear to warm the chilled bones.

In between trips to the library or the local nature center, my little explorer likes to make up games. This is something we have encouraged since he was a baby. Again, this is something carried forward from raising my own kids: never, ever waste time being bored. In addition to the many games we play all day long, we often make things that can be used to play the games. The ideas occur spontaneously, often the result of a needed character or a "what if we had this" question. My grandson, at six, now knows and often repeats, "We can make anything." We can also fix anything : )

Here are just a few of the things we have made together. My challenge to you: keep making things, and show your children how to make things. This is something kids today do not get enough experience with. Go'll be fun!

We made a printing plate from a meat tray to make Valentines.
We printed out black and white character images to color, glued to cardboard and made an action figure.

We drew our own action figures on canvas with oil pastels, stuffed them, and sewed them together to play with.
We made an action figure mask (this is Mr. Incredible) from knit fabric that ties in the back.
It's fun to make your own treats. These are Gumdrop People. Slide the gumdrops onto sucker sticks, or use toothpicks to hold the arms on. Take a picture before eating.



  1. It is so nice that there are some people who still encourage imagination and play in children~~coaxing forward the abilities to create and enjoy the process.
    And yes, get the gumdrop people photo QUICK!
    Great post Gayle!


  2. I really wish everyone would, especially in school. You're right about the gumdrdop people...very popular creation : )

  3. These are great ideas! I will have to try them out with my nephews. Love the library and the nature centers but sometimes you just gotta invent something new!

  4. Sounds like a fun time in the making, Melanie. Yes, inventing new things generated from their interests is so fun!