Monday's with Carol Heppner - Learning to Craft

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The Gift of Creativity
On our way to see Santa, my five-year-old niece turned to me and said, “I know what you want Santa to bring to you, Aunt Carol.”  Surprised, I asked what she thought I would like.  Her eyes, filled with wonder, grew even brighter as she whispered, “Art supplies.” We both giggle.

This year, my niece decided to surprise us with ornaments.  She traced and colored her hand onto paper and then cut out her hand.   It’s not the making of the ornament that was important, but the fact that this is the first project that she designed and executed all by herself.   

My niece started kindergarten this September and enjoys using scissors and glue.  To her, a blank piece of paper holds countless possibilities.   So, we always spend time creating.  Like me, she has a passion for paper arts.  I am the recipient of a number of her collages.

At this age, they are learning to color within lines, learning to cut with scissors, and getting glue on everything.  As adults, it is easy to want to give advice so their work looks more professional.  However, this is the time to nurture their creativity rather than technique.  

When my niece is around, I work on a table that is at her level.  She has her own set of art supplies so she can work along side of me.  I will ask for her thoughts on the colors I am using or the designs on which I am working.   Of course, I answer her questions as well.

The more they are allowed to create, the more creative they become.  And, their creativity will go beyond crafting and follow them into their everyday life.  Being creative allows you to find multiple solutions to life’s challenges. 

This weekend, we made gluten-free Christmas cookies.  Some of the stocking-shaped or tree-shaped cookies have smiley faces.  Other cookies are decorated slightly less traditional.  These are not how I would have decorated the cookies, but they are how a creative and happy five year old will decorate cookies.  

To the happy five year old inside of you –

Merry Christmas!

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