Why Creative Experiences for Children Matter
As an artist, I do a lot of things “just because” and due to a compelling tug in my spirit. The “Connecting the Dots” project I’m doing with the Loveland Library was one of those heart/spirit tug type of situations. It just felt “right” and it was almost like I couldn’t NOT do it. Elizabeth Gilbert speaks to this "creative idea compulsion" in her book “Big Magic.” (I recommend it for your summer reading). Why did I want to do this? Why did it feel like I had to find a way to make it happen? So many reasons, but here’s a couple I want to share with you today:
Because kids need creative experiences for their development. Moments of creating and collaborating give kids something that lectures, books, and videos cannot. This article by TeachThoughtStaff breaks down the benefits of creativity for students including self-expression, stress-relief, improvement in mental focus, etc, but I’m not as convinced by the science as I am by my own experiences with kids. When I work with them to create a drawing, a huge mural, or a weaving project, I see their faces light up, their brains working, I hear their laughter, I see their joy. When they are creating, they are learning to adapt and innovate. Exercising creativity is hard work, but it is well worth it. This article talks about how all three networks in our brain are activated during a creative project and cause them to all work together.
Because kids need creative experiences for their hearts. And while our children’s development is really important and creative experiences can support their growth, I also believe that creative experiences open something in our children’s hearts and expands their understanding of who they are as creatures created by a Good Creator. Creativity is directly linked to self-actualization which is not just a mind issue, but a heart issue too. When we make with our hands and minds, something happens in our brains that brings a sense of peace to our souls and you can hear echoes or whispers deep down within that you were MADE to make. Give it a try, practice making and something supernatural will start to unfurl. I believe it’s God whispering to you that He’s there and He loves that you’re using your ability that He gave you. It may take a while to sense it, but hang in there….it will come. That’s pretty special and don’t our children deserve to experience that too?
Because kids need to know they can problem solve. I’m sure you already know that we have a bunch of problems in this world and things aren’t going to be all "rosey" and problem-free for our children. They need to know they have the innate ability to solve problems. Practicing and strengthening our creative muscles expands our ability to problem solve in all areas of life. I have seen this and I know this, personally. Because I practice and use my creative muscles all day long, there’s not a whole lot that feels impossible to me. I have so much practice moving ideas into the reality of the canvas that I know I have the ability to problem solve through learning and doing and asking for help. What if our kids felt the same way? What if they had that confidence to look a problem in the eye and say…”I’ve got this...I know how to solve you.” Wow...that would be incredible.
As an artist and a mom, I feel a deep calling to share my skills and the lessons I’ve learned with the kids I know and be a trumpet that blasts the same tune over and over….."You matter." "You were made to create." "You have a unique voice to share with the world." So, that’s why I am doing the “Connecting the Dots” project.
If you want to be involved in this program, you can click here for information about upcoming activities and info on how to donate to support this effort. If you would like to do something like “Connecting the Dots” in your community, let’s talk and see what we can do to bring creative experiences to your town.