3 Tips on How To Create with Kids

I love working with kids. Did I say that loud enough? I LOVE working with kids in my DIY upcycling workshops.
I love them, chubby cheeks and all. Then again maybe I just happen to meet the “right” kind of kids at the right time.

weave a story

Last weekend, out of all the kids I interacted with at The Big Draw, Playeum only 2 broke down. One because we imposed rules on her (and I must admit that I was to blame) and the other burst into tears because he realised he had to part with his creation and leave it with the Weave a Story installation.

playeum the big draw
Drawing and making music at The Big Draw, Playeum

On reflection, there are some things that could have been improved. Here are my learning points:

1. Make it free flow
Kids didn't really like it when things got too structured. Some liked to cut, others wove, while others enjoyed the whole process. If it's too structured for kids, it's not play, it's not fun, and then they lose interest.  I saw this on a friend's Facebook timeline. Very true, isn't it?


2. Let them take over
What is weaving? We have learnt weaving a standard way; maybe there is a better way to approach it? We ended up with some kids weaving sections of the hoop away from the starting point ( ie not from the centre) while one boy said he wanted to make a spider web, and why not? When he finished, the ball of yarn became the spider!

The Big Draw

3. They are important
One of the main reasons why it was called Weave a Story was because every child contributes to it in some way or other be it cutting, preparing the hoops or weaving. 
Each child had a role to play and their contribution differed from the next through colour,material and even the way they weaved!

It was crucial to get their buy in and we realised about an hour into the activity what better way than to get them to write their names on the hoops. We had hoops with several names on them which spoke out "We did this together".
And towards the end, I got the children to help me hold the hoops while I hung them up. Their faces lit up when they saw how their work contributed to the installation.

The Big Draw

The Big Draw

The Big Draw

What tips do you have when you create with kids?

You might like reading my previous post on creativity in Out of the Box

A big thank you to Playeum for engaging me as one of the artists at The Big Draw!

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  1. I agree Agy - kids need to be allowed to add their own creativity to what they do. Although all kids are different, some like the structure to give them a start and ideas, but ultimately, their creativity has to be allowed to flow - and wow what creativity kids have - this needs to be nourished and not squashed with rules.
    The display of hoop art looks awesome - such a fun thing to do!!

  2. Play IS serious learning for little kids (and big kids, too! :) ). We really underestimate how much learning takes place during playtime. Your tip about relaxing the structure is spot on! We have to remember that even though WE have a vision of the finished project, it is the process that is most important. It is hard to let go of that vision and let them create what they see in their own minds. I remember my daughter playing "pretend" with us and her dolls, and she would get so mad when the my doll didn't say what she wanted it to say. She had the script in her head, but I didn't know what it was, so I wasn't doing it "right." We can be that way with children, too, if we aren't careful. They can't see the vision in our heads, and even though we can guide them, sometimes we just need to let the creativity go where the child wants to take it.

    It looks like you are having such a great time! So FUN!! Keep it up, Agy!

  3. How exciting, Agy! And the kids were really into it. So fabulous.
    I'm glad for the success of the event and by the opportunity given to the little ones to express themselves creatively. It's always a win!
    Thank you so much for sharing it with us!