Scholastic changed their cover photo on Facebook this week to begin their new initiative “Open a World of Possible” So this got me thinking, how do you open a world of possible for your little ones? As a creative family, we are always trying to show our children many possible ways to develop their creativity and pursue their dreams. We use these resources as a way to inspire our children’s creativity by experiencing others’ creativity in a variety of ways.
Take a Look! It’s in a Book
In every room in our house you will find a bookshelf with a collection of books fitting that room. The girls room has a few picture books, but mostly beginner and young reader chapter books. Though, since this is Sammi’s room, there’s also a few nonfiction reads, too. She loves her National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space and often writes reports from what she’s learned in this book. The boys room has lots of board books for Ben and longer picture books for Scott. The front room has library books, Brent’s medical books, more kids books and my collection of parenting, reading, and creative books. The craft room has idea books for crafts and play.
Reading opens the way for discussing new ideas or emotions. It’s often easier for young children to understand complex ideas or emotions when they see it in action in a story. These stories create a framework for helping kids navigate their experiences. One of our favorite reads for dealing with big emotions is Where the Wild Things Are. Books also provide great examples of problem solving, another complex skill for little ones to develop. The Paper Bag Princess and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel are great ones for thinking through a plan of action.
Reading also introduces little ones to ideas, places, creatures and cultures they haven’t experienced yet. We received My Grandma Lives in Florida the same time we went to Florida to visit Universal Studios in Orlando. The kids made such a connection with the book and with the state because we were able to pair the book with the trip. We also use stories to create shared memories. I’ve had fun reading my childhood fairytale books to our kids and Brent has had a ball reading Calvin and Hobbes to the kids.
To Live Would Be an Awfully Big Adventure
There are so many places to experience and things to try. Our aim is to expose our children to a wide variety arts, opportunities and experiences so they know what’s out there and can see what strikes their interest. In order to dream big I believe it’s necessary to see big. Seeing big is experiencing talented people showcasing their talent.
There are a few activities I think are foundational that every child should have the opportunity to experience. Seeing animals at the zoo or birds at an aviary or even visiting a local conservation center that rehabilitates wild animals help children develop compassion for animals and a desire to protect them and their environment.
One of our first trips whenever we move somewhere new is to the local children’s museum. These are usually full of science and real world activities for kids to explore. Children by nature are scientists and museums geared to maximize their inquisitive nature is another example of talented people inspiring kids through those talents.
We also love to visit museums that explore the arts. Our local museum, The Corning Museum of Glass, has amazing glass artworks as well as hands on booths for kids and adults to see the principles of glass making in action. Our favorite part of this museum, though, are the live demonstrations of glass blowing. Talented people sharing their talents!
Historical museums add value to understanding our human story. As we’ve visited local historical sites and listened to guides tell us about life and important events that happened there, we are inspired to carry on their legacy. We have moved a bit and learning the local history has helped us connect and feel at home in each new location.
Another way we connect with the land is through gardening. Our kids have loved watching plants grow and produce food. They have been willing to try new foods. I am not blessed with a green thumb and while we try, we have always gardened on a very small scale. This year we found local berry patches and an orchard where we have been able to see the bounty of hard work and talent. We’ve picked apples, raspberries and blueberries. Our freezer is full of berries! And we have made some cherished memories. We even were able to witness tree grafting first hand as a grandfather taught his grandsons who were learning the trade of apple tree growing.
Let’s Watch a YouTube Video on That!
There are so many cool things to see and learn, but I can’t personally show them all to my kids. So when we see something that sparks their interest, we usually follow up with some YouTube videos so we can really see how something works or what something is.
As we were walking home from school the other day a boy rode by on his bike. It had pegs for doing tricks and the kids asked me about them since his bike looked different from theirs. So we talked about how people do tricks on bikes. This was something that I am in no way capable of demonstrating for them so we turned to YouTube!
Some days we are faced with mounds of clean laundry to sort and fold. To help us tackle the task, we watch YouTube videos on cake decorating. Our favorite channel is Cookies, Cupcakes and Cardio. Watching these videos inspires the kids to want to develop their artistic side and helps the work pass more enjoyably.
One of our all time favorite videos for seeing talented people in all their creative glory is What Does the Fox Say? I’m still so impressed with their creativity in the music, the lyrics, the costuming. Everything about it exudes talent!
Music is what feelings sound like
Music can open a world of possible for our children by helping them feel the emotions that come with life. We use music as a springboard for creative projects, for discussing emotions, and for learning. Some of our go-to choices are kid-specific musicians. But these artists know how to rock! We love Recess Monkey, a trio of teachers who are beyond talented and quite prolific. Their latest album, Wired, is super energetic. This album includes an ode to legos, the entrepreneur spirit, and experiences familiar to children.
When children feel loved, then they are in a safe place from which they can explore a world of possible. Raffi, yes THE Raffi of our childhood, released his first album in 12 years this summer. Love Bug explores the emotion of love, what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like to young children. Our kids sings these songs while going about their play.
Our number one go-to kindie musician is Bari Koral. She most definitely knows how to open a world of possible for young children through music and movement. From her yoga videos to her newest album The Apple Tree and The Honey Bee our kids have discovered their strength, their humor and a way to express their experiences.
The Games People Play
The final way we open a world of possible for our children is through games. Games teach so much more than taking turns and sportsmanship. Kilter from SimplyFun teaches physics and problem solving. Even our 6 year old found this game engaging and fun. We also love playing Monopoly Jr and Catan Jr. Both of these games introduce complex game play in a manageable format while still being fun for the grown ups to play. These games get our kids thinking creatively about strategy, consequences, and keeping positive. Such amazing skills for little ones to take into the world as they explore and discover what they can make possible.
Open a World of Possible With Scholastic
This new initiative is designed to help young children become life long independent readers. And they have Usher hosting a webcast 11/6.
How do you open a world of possible with your little ones?