Ideas on how to get kids to jump in and try to make and create … where to start…

Making with children is such fun! I visited a P2 (age 6-7yrs) class and talked again about illustration and how it is something which really is not out of reach. We created seagulls out of shapes. The class I had visited had been reading the lighthouse keeper stories and the teachers had asked that they make sea creatures and seagulls so we worked together to make a beautiful array of curious creatures, brightly coloured and full of smiles.

How did we do it?

I shared my book ‘the seagull’ with the class, I have to admit I had forgotten how much I loved reading the book to children. There is a repeating line throughout the book which the children loved calling out as we read the book. It’s like magic hearing it called and enjoyed.

You see the thing is books are amazing but they only really come alive when they are read and loved.

We talked about the seagull in the book and how he was made of circle shapes and how they could make their own characters based on circles and basic shapes. We spent a little time experimenting with shapes and drawing creatures based on circles on a worksheet I had made them. You may have read my previous post about visiting the younger class and the need to be quite prescriptive, I felt with this class that I could give a little more freedom and so didn’t have a totally finished seagull to show them and simply demonstrated how to do it.

The kids were brilliant, many created a similar seagull, other created a bird based on mine. Others enjoyed the freedom and made octopus or jelly fish or fish, there was even one that created a crocodile. They thrived on the freedom and those who found it harder were able to easily create something recognisable which really helped with their confidence.

For children who love to make it can be easy to get them involved but for those who find it harder try a few of these ideas-

Use something they recognise to get them started – I used basic shapes here but you could use cuttings from magazines that they can add to. eg a head with the hair cut off- who will they add and what will the hair be like, a person and they add clothes, an animal that they can add legs/head/ features too. Giving a starting point is really helpful and helps them to feel like its already started.

Limit resources – it might sound counter intuitive but having too many options can be overwhelming. For this project the children had a little time to draw ideas and then we handed out circles to start making, the only things they had were circles, small triangles and shredded paper. It was all colourful and lots of fun but not too overwhelming. Some children cut other shapes from circles, others just used them as they were and added to them.

Be excited – they will often follow your lead. If you are stressed about the final result so will they be. Ask them about their ideas and encourage them and celebrate their ideas. If you end up with something completely different to your original design, thats really ok its growing the love of creating which is so important and valuable for the future.

There has been lots I have seen over world mental health day 2019 about the benefits of creating on mental health, for me its a vital part of keeping my mind happy. For those who love it we should encourage it, remember not everyone is naturally in love with it and that can be for a number of reasons. Encouraging children (and adults for that matter) to try and experiment with different creative outlets is really valuable and who knows you may be able to start them on a creative path they never even thought about treading.

These are the beautiful creations made by this imaginative collection of kids. Look at the variations, one even because he wanted a white seagull used the back of the coloured spot! So clever! The crocodile is 3rd one along on the bottom row!

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