Are children today so structured that they don’t have time to daydream? If so, what a pity.
And why is it when you get older you think there’s something wrong with daydreaming? I think daydreaming is a marvelous mini-vacation that we can take. It’s refreshing. It’s rejuvenating. What’s wrong with escaping from reality for a few minutes and letting our mind soar? It’s great for boosting creativity.
Writing prompts are often used by school teachers in language arts classes. They can give a student a jump start in deciding what to write about. But sometimes the prompts don’t help much.
I was substituting in a third grade class and on the lesson plan that teacher had left instructions for the class to write about a special day they’d had.
Most students jumped right in and began writing away. A few gazed blankly, pencils limp.
One boy seemed especially perplexed. I stooped down and asked him to tell me about a special day that he’d had. He said he’d never had a special day. How about Christmas? I asked. Do you do anything special on Christmas? The boy shook his head. How about your birthday? What special things do you do on your birthday? Special food? Special…the boy again shook his head. He had the saddest look on his face. Haven’t you done something fun with your dad or mom or gone on a vacation? No.
I don’t think he ever got anything written down for that assignment.
I am often amazed to drive or walk through a neighborhood, even on a wonder-weather day, and not see a single child outside playing. It’s almost a lost art, it seems. Let’s encourage our children to spend time out in the fresh air. And if you really want to do them a favor, don’t provide a mountain of toys and pre-made playhouses and stuff. It might take them a while to figure it out, but you’ll be amazed–and they will too–at the things they come up with to amuse themselves.
Childhood 101 has a cool free printable poster that shows 101 ways to play outdoors. Check it out:
I occasionally accept substitute teaching assignments. Last week I subbed for a resource teacher in a junior high. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a classroom that was decorated more creatively. Mobiles hung down from the high arched ceiling. The walls were covered with interesting and fun posters and decor. There were shelves of board games and things to do. And there were books–shelves and shelves of books of all kinds.
The students had earned a free day. After the opening happenings, they were left to their own devices. They just sat there. Nobody went over to check out the board games. Nobody went over to the bookshelves. They didn’t even seem to be confident conversing with one another–other than the normal banter of young teens.
It wasn’t until the computers were unlocked and the students had access to technology, their hands and eyes and minds occupied with surfing the Internet or playing a game. were they comfortable.
This happened in each of the class periods. I was amazed. And saddened.
I understand that technology is here to stay. We live in a world where our children need to use technology to learn and function. But surely books haven’t become a white elephant!
I hope that never happens.
The other day I substituted in a third grade class. We read together a delightful story called “A Fine, Fine School,” by Sharon Creech. In this story the school principal is so pleased with his “fine, fine school” and its students and its teachers that he announces that school will not be held on Saturdays…and then Sundays…and then during the summer.
The students and teachers don’t voice their opposition to the principal’s new policies because they like him and don’t want to hurt his feelings.
In the end, a little girl named Tillie visits the principal and points out to him that there are some things that can, and should, be learned outside the classroom–like how to skip and how to climb a tree and how to sit in a tree for an hour.
It’s a wonderful story but more importantly it reminds us all that we need to allow kids to be kids sometimes. Let’s not schedule them so heavily with sports and other activities that they never have a chance to be bored. Some marvelous realizations can come to a bored child.
Here’s a great post on helping children to develop creativity through artwork.
Let’s allow children to use their imagination when it comes to art. Who says that a cow can’t be purple or that the sky can’t be orange?
Think about how too often we approach art projects with children. We hold up a sample of what the end result is “supposed” to be like. Maybe in some cases this is necessary, for example in origami or where specific steps need to be followed. But let’s encourage freedom of expression. Let’s celebrate creativity.
Let’s not take one look at a child’s masterpiece and say, “What it is?” Maybe it’s not supposed to be anything in particular. A better question might be: “Tell me about your creation.”
Read on Facebook:
“Never happier than right after a trip to the library. “I got a lot of reading to do,” he says with a smile!”
Don’t you just love it!
Check out www.amazon.com; most days there is at least one of the Grandma Bubbles Books offered free in e-book format. Thanks for helping spread the work about this fun series of books for beginning readers, ages 3 to 6.
Yesteday I was babysitting three of my grandchildren. At one point I was reading a stack of books to them. The just-turned-3-year-old was sitting at my side. Throughout every book, he was constantly asking question after question. It was a little hard focusing on my reading, but I remembered that this was very typical of this age of child.
We learn by asking questions. It isn’t always the most beneficial to answer children’s question. Maybe a better way sometimes is to help them work out the answer themselves.