Creative Projects

April 18, 2008

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“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”  Albert Einstein said. I agree and perhaps that is why I adore my child’s endless, self-initiated, creative projects and think it is so important to allow her time for such things. We enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson’s take on this:
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-4964296663335083307&q=educational+videos

It is not that she is doing anything terribly profound in this free play, but I enjoy and value it as much as
any of her advanced academic achievements. I enjoyed when she log rolled a bunch of times to get a toy
at three months (before she learned to crawl at four months). Partly it was and is the surprise element
of just observing the creative process in a brand new human being and how they uniquely see and solve
a problem.

I think children are fascinating to just observe, so I am glad to just “take in” what my busy little girl comes up with. I enjoy the made up dances, made up songs, made up piano or violin improvisations or more formal compositions, written and oral stories, books of all kinds made and every kind of visual art from collages, to clay, to coloring, to scissors and sculptures. I enjoy the endless “pretend play” and its endless variations and details.

Yesterday she spent hours building a whole and complex town that filled an entire room after doing piano.
I sat on the bed for a few moments as I collected her for dinner and was honored as she shared her latest creation with me. She looked like Gulliver in Lilliput as she carefully stepped about and explained in detail what everything was in her town and what was going on. She included  how and why she had made certain things like combining the bottom of a small sarcophagus with some other small pieces to make one families’ car. I don’t really understand her world like she does, but it gives me pleasure to see her pleasure.

I thought I would post a few of her latest projects just to keep a record. I am often talking about her endless “projects”, so I thought it might be nice to try and explain  and share a few. She is constantly making things as she is a “doer” and the bigger the project, the more she likes it. I am most fascinated
by the things that she comes up with completely on her own.

The lead, top  picture is from a large old cardboard box from Christmas that is filled with these endless coloring projects that she has been into lately. She usually cuts something out of one of her “The Story of the World - history for the classical child” activity books and we discuss it. I often look up and read more information about it online as she colors it. Then she likes to crumple them before flattening them out again and adding them to her collection. The bright colors and patterns she chooses reminds me of my husband’s abstract art, something that always attracted her even as a young baby.

I get a real kick out of the “Nintendo” that she made for herself when she did not get one for Christmas.
I like this one so much better than the real thing for a six year old. I was not paying much attention, just working nearby and she was humming away to herself as she cut some cardboard and used a balloon she
broke to cover one part of the cardboard.

Then she got some tape and made it like a hinge and drew in her own keyboard including a “go” button and she was ready to play!  Oh, she also wrote out “Nintendo” on a separate piece of paper, cut that out and glued it on to the top balloon surface to ensure, I guess, that it was clear to all what exactly her creation was.

She likes to play librarian often with this “nintendo” when we are in bed reading.  She asks me in a perfect proper English accent, “What book are you interested in? “and proceeds to use her little toy like a laptop computer to locate the precise book I am looking for. After an appropriate pause as she looks diligently at her screen hunting for the book , she replies, “Yes, we do have that one in on our third floor and I will get that for  you right now” and she does. We do have fun !

One of her favorite things is the Klutz “The Incredible Clay Book” and making permanent clay creations.
We ran out of this special clay and are not sure where to get it in Europe, so luckily Grandma came to
the rescue and sent us some here in Spain. Mozart never runs out of energy or ideas when it comes to
making things.

Another great love is an award winning science toy called “Snap Circuits” that is usually thought of as a “boy toy”, but my little inventor can make things for hours with it. Parents tend to love it too because it is such a great example of a wonderful open ended toy that combines learning and great fun for all. She just loves all the neat things that she can make that actually work which seems magical like lights, fans, doorbells, and alarms etc. What a feeling of empowerment.

In the clapping picture Mozart was experimenting on how to make a sound activated switch. There are
101 experiments with our kit (and more kits available with over a thousand experiments) so plenty of entertainment available. Luckily,  it does not take up much space (because you reuse the basic pieces)
so we are very happy with this gift we got before we took off and so glad we brought it along.

Mozart is a little “restaurant obsessed” as well and thinks long and hard about what makes them work and has always wanted to have one. If it was up to her we would go to restaurants for every meal, although she does love honing her waitress skills as she performs her daily task of setting and clearing the table at home. She loves to play different versions of restaurant and is often “cooking” something out on the terrace in the sunshine.

One morning on a whim, she quickly made a menu for her restaurant that she called “La Tortuga” complete with pictures of the ocean waves, sun and girl flying a kite by a turtle (tortuga in Spanish). She came up with a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of some of her favorite things. (Sorry, I kind of ruined it a bit
by getting it wet later by setting it on some water when I took the picture too quickly). It is the kind of thing she makes a lot of, not as impressive as some of her formal work and books, but I just like them and thought I should document at least one.

She tends to be fast and prolific in her making and has always been like that. I remember the shock of her teachers at one lovely art based preschool she went to. They had never seen a child who could produce so much and were delighted at her creativity and pace. (I salute them for not worrying about their supply costs and being experts on recycling!). While most of the children worked on one picture, she very assuredly would go through dozens or more.

I sometimes worried about this tendency in her, and we have had to work on slowing down and mindfulness in some areas, but as she gets older, I see more and more how it is her way and how well it serves her in other ways. She has a “knowing” that seems to be extremely quick and bountiful and as she ages and her developmental skills catch up, it makes more and more sense.

She produces way too much to keep every piece, but I do try to keep as much as I can via the computer and online. I have quite a collection despite all those that have been missed. I get as much pleasure out of this little messy, crude “nintendo” as I do her long hand written books on China and such that are carefully printed and researched.

Her father has mastery in production and creativity in ways that I have always admired as I find that combination rare. I wonder what he was like as a child and I think back to my own love of making things out of nothing and list making as a child. It is interesting to ponder where her particular brand of creativity will take her in the future. In the meantime, I just enjoy these little things she pops out in her speedy little way.

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