Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fostering Creativity

I don't want to be the toy police. {You know there's a but coming...} But, I do want to be somewhat intentional about what my kids play with, especially in the future. Right now Ethan just chews on everything. But when he gets older I would really like for him to use his imagination when he plays instead of just playing with a toy that sort of takes the imagination out of playing. Simple Mom wrote a great post about this yesterday, but I have thought about this even before I was pregnant with Ethan.

I think {most} kids have a natural imagination and creativity to their play, but there's so much more creativity involved in having to make a Batmobile out of a large cardboard box by drawing in your own buttons and gadgets than just sitting in a store-bought Batmobile that already has everything there. {Yes, my brother and I made a Batmobile once}. Kids will still roll play and use their imaginations either way. I just like the out-of-the-box thinking {no pun intened} that the former way allows. That being said, I don't intend for my kids to have to make every toy they play with or not enjoy some cool new toys on the market. All I am saying is that I'd like to give them the opportunity to exercize and develop that imagination that's just begging to be used in dramatic ways.

My friend Mary and I were talking about this yesterday and that got us onto the subject of gifts that our kids receive for Christmas and birthdays. She had a great idea that's too good not to share. She said that they sometimes do a {gift} themed party. This means that maybe they have a book theme and everyone brings a book as a gift. Or an outdoor toy theme and everyone brings things to play with outside like a kick ball or baseball glove, etc. You get the idea. Some other themes could be art supplies, dress-up clothes, bath toys, or board games. A sports themed party lends itself really well to outdoor toys as gifts and you could get creative with each category of toy and really incorporate it into the whole party. See, now you've got yourself being creative! This is not meant to tell people what to give {althought sometimes people appreciate the help...I usually do}, but rather to collect toys and play things that are timeless and creative.

6 comments:

Kaitlin said...

I think that having a gift themed party is a great idea. I never had a gazillion toys growing up and we always used our imagination. We had a lot of magic shows. I see so many kids these days with a room full of toys and they aren't even playing with them. It's like you spend all this money for a couple weeks of fun. I like the board games, especially because you can always play them and it's fun for everyone...puzzles too!

Mary said...

It also helps to cut down on the friend parties. We are going to limit the amount of friend b-day parties that our kids can have. They get lots of toys that aren't necessary at those parties. But, at some point you just have to remove the excess toys if needed! We took a box of less played with toys and boxed them up for later use. We didn't need the sheer amount of toys around to clean up!

Christina said...

The gift theme is a great idea! I may try this for Ashton's upcoming, first birthday. I can't believe that it's already that time! Just so you know, I really enjoy reading your blog. You've shown me some really interesting ideas that I would never have thought of on my own. So, thanks :)!

Jennifer said...

Hi Rachel,
I totally agree about kids needing to use their imaginations instead of each toy having one specific use. We are in the process of moving from Brazil to the US right now, and I needed to choose a few small toys for my 2 1/2 yr. old daughter to play with over the next few months while our stuff is in transit. It turns out that her favorite "toys" are a plastic coat hanger (which she pretends is a trombone), stickers, a couple of matchbox cars, and a few Little Golden Books. She prefers to use her imagination and play with whatever she happens to find around the house than to play with fancy toys. I guess I shouldn't waste my money on toys! Jennifer Terry

Becky said...

I go one step further and put on party invites- no gifts necessary,or no gifts please. The kids get so many gifts from family and super close friends that they really don't nee any more. Since I have done that from the beginning, my kids have never fussed or complained about it. They don't think they are "missing out" on anything.

Allison Connor said...

I totally agree...maybe that is why most small kids like to play with the box that the "cool" toy came in!! Great post!