Looking for Signs of Creativity in Kids

I talk a lot about my son, Michael James (nearly 6), and his creativity. This is expressed daily through his inventions and recipes, his cardboard creations, his duct-tape clothing line, his entrepreneurial adventures in the driveway (from lemonade stands to carnivals). Sometimes I feel a little guilty for talking him up, but not mentioning little sister Ellie (nearly 4) as much. I was feeling this way after writing that first post on Creativity in Kids, “Got Ideas? Got Kids with Ideas?”, but then I had an “aha” moment. On Sunday evening we had family dinner at Jason’s Deli, where Ellie and I lingered for quite a while in the booth while waiting for the boys to come out of the bathroom. (Don’t know what it is about that place, but MJ always has to poop there!) Ellie and I played a fun game with the big black and white photos on the wall. We took turns singing a song as a clue for the other person to guess which picture we were thinking of – I sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” for the gondola in Venice, and “As I Was Walking Down the Street” for the pedestrians in the city square.  When it was Ellie’s turn, she began just making up her own songs, singing away about buildings and bridges and pigeons. This is something she does A LOT, often impressing me with her rhyming skills. (Perhaps inspired by the fun and musical show “Wonder Pets” on Nick Jr.  with the great “teamwork” song, perhaps by her music-teacher momma, perhaps it’s just her thing). But that’s when I realized that THIS was her creative outlet.

Wonder Pets!

I had been thinking in terms of some visible  thing produced like MJ’s hard-to-miss messes and projects as a sign of creativity- something with glue and sequins. But it comes out of Ellie through made-up music, and also through pretend play. She LOVES to play “babies” and “school” in her room and around the house, and she is very creative at making up interesting story-lines, and even imagining characters. “Mommy, I have to take purple baby to school, but “Dolly” can’t come because she has a fever. Mr. Nobody will babysit.” (See her dancing with said “purple baby” in video below). Looking through the videos reminded me that Ellie also expresses herself through her hilarious facial expressions, and just general silliness. My “aha” mommy moment taught me an important parenting lesson: Creativity is expressed in a variety of ways through our unique children and it is important for us to NOTICE what they are! Maybe it’s movement, dress-up, humor, play, story-telling, coloring, block-building, puppetry….In noticing (not judging) our children and their gifts, we are affirming the very essence of our children and their place in the world. “I see you. I get you. I like you.What will you notice today?

Watch video of Ellie dancing!

Watch video of Ellie’s silly expressions