A journal of creativity with my daughter Grace

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This is my journal the creative ideas I try with my daughter Grace over this school year. I'm posting them so that kids, teachers and parents might be encouraged to try some of them, or be inspired to make up their own. It's to show you I practice what I preach, and hopefully you'll like some of the ideas and pictures of what we try. Grace is five, but things we do could be done with any young child, and the art and music we listen to are certainly useful for any age. Come, join us on our journey! It should be great fun!

Past months:


• March

Monday, March 7

In the car today, Grace was singing a song she was making up about a happy bunny. After she was done, I sang a song about a grumpy bunny. After that I asked her what other kinds of bunnies we could sing about. She said, "How about one that's irritated!" I laughed to hear that word come from the mouth of a five-year-old!

At bedtime, Alison was reading to her the story where the people make a golden calf to worship. Alison asked, "And do you know what they did with that calf?" Grace put one hand up in the air, palm out in a 'stop' gesture. "Oh no, God! You better not listen to this!"

Tuesday, March 8

I posted this drawing because of how carefully she adds details to drawings. This started with her request for a dinosaur. She's said to me a number of times recently how great it is to have a dad that draws. So I did a quick pencil outline to the dinosaur; Grace added the color and details. The upright object on its back is a pair of wings. The plants on the ground are dead plants because the sun is drying them up.

It's okay to combine your creativity with your child's. In an effort to get kids to draw or think, sometimes we have to start them off running. It doesn't bother me that she started with my drawing. It's what she does with it that interests me.

Thursday, March 10

We played the drawing game today. (That's what she calls it. I call it DaVinci Doodles.) It's been some time and we really enjoyed it. Grace is amazing in her ability to see crazy things in simple shapes. The man with the mustache is the one that really surprised me. Wonderful!

Tuesday, March 15
After reading a number of poems for kids, Grace spontaneously made this one up. The meter isn't quite right, but it's close. She still sees this as a work in progress. I've heard her trying to find just the right rhyming word to the end of line three.

There was a little boy named Jack
Who climbed up a stack
And when he was gone
He couldn't come back.

Friday, March 18

In our travels through books of museums of the world, we've reached Vienna. This painting, The World Upside Down, by the Dutch painter Jan Steen, was a fun one to do "I Spy" with Grace. My favorite detail is the monkey. Can you find it?

Here's the detail to help you find it. Other things that he painted that he considered "upside-down" or as we would say, "crazy": a baby playing with money, a crutch and sword hanging in a basket, a pig in the room, a child stealing from a cupboard, and of course, the duck on the doctor's shoulders. Is the painter saying he's a "quack"?

You know, I think I'll start a collection of pictures of monkeys I find in paintings. Might be fun. I've got a few... check them out!

Wednesday, March 23

This was an experiment. I gave Grace pieces of torn tissue paper and asked her just to put them down and make a pretty design. I was wondering if she could just do something abstract, something with colors and shapes. But Grace decided to stick with her usual: a landscape with trees and flowers. I wonder if abstract art -- just design without representation -- is tough for kids.
We only had bright colors, so I showed her how to overlay colors to get a tree trunk. Still a bit blue, perhaps, but she thought that was cool.

Tuesday, March 29

Split bagels, anyone?

This topping was Grace's idea: half cream cheese and half cinnamon sugar. A great combination, I think. And a fun visual.

The deluge of rain outside the last couple days will, I hope, wash away the rest of winter. We need to take our creativity outside. It's past time.

Thursday, March 31

As I was planning my weekly Sparks email for teachers, Grace came and noticed my igloo. She knew what it was right away. She asked me if she could have a big copy of it show she could draw her own scene inside. Here it is.

She's made a cozy interior with couches and a table with a lamp and flowers. Grace drew herself sitting on the couch. I love the window in the igloo wall. The thing in the lower right corner is a snowball splatting on the ground.

And may this be the LAST we think about winter! Come Spring!

On to April!

all material ©2005 Bruce Van Patter

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