Category Archives: creative thinking skills

Popsicle Stick, Pipe Cleaner & Pom-Pom Ornaments

Make holiday decorations and gifts with your children and friends. We like these projects because materials are easy to find, affordable  and low-mess. So gather around the table, sip some cocoa and celebrate the season. Experiment,  be creative and have fun!

Popsicle stuck tress and reindeer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use magic markers and glue to make popsicle stick trees, stars and animals and decorate them with pom-poms, googley eyes bling and  hang in a window or in a tree with a ribbon.

Memory wire and pom-pom bracelet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a festive garland bracelet by threading favorite color pom-poms onto the memory wire. Vary the sizes and colors.

Photo prop wearable art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create your own photo prop by decorating the headband with colorful pipe cleaners.

Sparkling pom poms

Color the outside or inside of globe ornament with a design then fill with pom-poms, snow or sparkles. Add a ribbon.

What are your favorite holiday crafts?

 

Engaged and Educated: Affordable Hobby Ideas for Children

Engaged and Educated: Affordable Hobby Ideas for Children by guest blogger  Emily Graham  of  Mighty Moms. 

It can be hard to find fun, affordable, and beneficial ways to keep your child engaged. Video games, chat rooms, and cartoons are fun, but they don’t promise much in the way of learning or developing wholesome interests. Consider getting your child started in a hobby that could lead to an abiding interest, an activity that can provide an engaging cognitive challenge and produce a strong sense of accomplishment and self-pride. Sometimes, a hobby can be a heaven-sent means of keeping a young person out of trouble. Whatever the reason for starting one, a hobby can even change a young person’s life for the better. Here are some suggestions.

Starter Kits

If you’re unsure of where to start in your search for a hobby, check online retailers for starter kits and hobby essentials. When you’re operating on a budget, you can save money by doing extensive online research and watching for sales and discounts from retailers like Walmart.

Knitting/Crocheting

This is one of the most affordable and enjoyable hobbies for any child, and it can be a great way for young and old to spend time and learn together. All you need is a crochet hook and some yarn to get started. Look for savings and promo codes from Target as you gather materials. No need to spend money on patterns, many of which can be found for free on the internet. Your child will enjoy making items that can be given as birthday or Christmas gifts to friends and family.

Solve a Puzzle

Puzzles are just the thing to keep a young person occupied and learn problem-solving strategies, particularly through crossword puzzles or Sudoku, collections of which can be purchased for no more than $3. Jigsaw puzzles (which usually run around $20) provide tangible evidence of a child’s skill and determination. Once it’s put together, simply apply a little puzzle glue, mount your child’s handiwork and have it framed as a trophy that will elicit proud memories.

Painting and Drawing

Children love to express themselves creatively by drawing and painting, both of which are excellent ways for youngsters to pass their time. It can be a therapeutic means of self-expression, a medium for working out frustrations and anxieties, and an enjoyable way for a child to develop hand-eye and fine motor skills. And it’s an inexpensive hobby — pencils, brushes, paints, and paper are generally inexpensive materials. Check for daily offers and coupons for stores like Amazon on paint supplies and other items that can help a child get started with a hobby.

Music

Musical ability can open up a new world of creative endeavor for a child. Learning to play an instrument is an excellent hobby that boosts cognitive functioning, improves mathematical abilities, and sharpens motor skills. Finding an instrument at affordable prices can be difficult, so watch for online savings options through websites like Honey.

Experimentation

Most children enjoy hobbies that show them how to create things like “edible glass.” What’s more, all your child requires is vegetable oil, food coloring, salt, and water to create globs of lava that move up and down in a glass beaker. Beginner science is an educational and inexpensive hobby, especially if you can use items that you already have lying around the house.

Hobbies are healthy ways for children to use their time and discover fascinating new worlds of discovery. The best part: They don’t need to be expensive endeavors; indeed, many can be enjoyed for under $20. You never know — you might set your child on a life-changing path.

Thanks to Emily for sharing her ideas!

3 Ways to Increase Your Creativity Levels Now

Community painting party in Manchester, CT

The creative process plays an intricate role in most people’s lives. Every day, in some shape or form, the basis of it is used. Creativity lives is everyone, therefore everyone is creative. However there are some moments where it seems that the creative space can not be found even in the deepest crevice of your brain. When faced with those times, you may feel stuck, unmotivated or just plain uninspired. Creativity can indeed be fleeting but here are a few tips to perhaps make it stick around a little longer.

Read a Book

Yes, read. When you feel like you are stuck in a moment where you can’t produce a thought or an idea to save your life, reading will provide a great escape. When you are reading your imagination takes over and someone else’s words fill your mind, taking the pressure off of you for a moment. Allow yourself to get lost in the tale of a fictional character’s life and take a well needed mental break. If you find yourself pressed for time, even reading a short chapter or a few pages will give your brain adequate time to reboot. Reading exercises your brain by flexing your “mind muscles” and as with any muscle, it needs to be exercised daily in order to grow.

Listen to a Guided Meditation

Meditation is one of the most ancient practices of the world, and there are reasons why it is still relevant today. Having a still moment to relax and just be present with your body is something that very few people make time for, yet the benefits are astounding. Listening to a guided meditation will allow you to clear your mind of clutter, de-stress and think more clearly. There are several ways you can practice meditation, however if you find yourself having a hard time being able to silence your thoughts, a guided meditation is the best route. Be sure to create a clean and organized space to clear your mind. You can download guided meditations online or directly from your app store. Meditating does not have to be an extensive or long process in order to reap the benefits. You can find short, yet effective 5-10 minute meditations and enjoy them on a short break.

Do a Brain Dump

Listen, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but incorporating this exercise in your day will definitely help boost your creativity levels. Brain dumping is just a mental exercise that helps you get all of your thoughts out of your mind, and onto paper. Sometimes being stuck creatively just means you have a ton of ideas but you don’t know which direction will lead you to where you want to be.

Grab a pen and paper (no technology, please) and write down any and every thought that comes to your attention. Once you’ve reached a halt, review what you have written on your paper thoroughly. After you go over your list, organize what you’ve written into a list in order of importance. Now that you have everything in front of you, you can use it as a compass to navigate you to your next task or project!

Work with Kids

It’s true that you never quite know what a child will say or do. They are generally free of the inhibitions and self-criticism we experience as adults, and that’s why they can be a great help in unlocking our creativity. Ask a child to think up a story and they’re likely to take you on a journey that zigs and zags in ways you could never have imagined. But these zigs and zags can be quite inspiring. If you have children, spend some time with them creating stories, plays, or art. If you don’t have children, consider becoming a tutor — you can help them with their academics and then offer up a creative exercise you both participate in each session. Or look for opportunities to volunteer with children through arts or literacy programs or your local library.

People tend to think that the creative process has to be a painful, drawn out experience. Finding effective ways to boost your creativity just involves you taking the time to step back and give your mind the time to catch up with your body. When you push yourself to the limit, you block the creative process and compound stress into your body. It’s always good to make nurturing your mind a part of your daily routine to ensure that creativity will always be able to find you.

Thanks to contributor Sarah Lockwood at thepreventioncoalition.org for this wonderful article. We invite guest bloggers to share ideas on creativity, arts and crafts, celebrating special occasions and family life. Please contact us if you’d like to contribute to The Art Truck blog.