At an early age, I could tell that both my daughter and son had creative thinking skills, but I wasn’t sure how to inspire them. Obviously being a stay-at-home-mom of two isn’t the easiest job and definitely doesn’t come with a manual for activities and things to do to bring out the best in your children. I decided to interview a fellow SmartMom that is the daughter of a designer. She believes her mother’s natural creative thinking skills translated to her with a few simple ideas.
“My mother, was accepted to University of Cincinnati’s prestigious design school, DAAP, back in the seventies. She grew up when women were encouraged to be nurses or teachers. Her dad said he’d only pay for college if she chose one of those occupations instead of the unconventional world of design. She obliged, got a fine arts and education degree from The Ohio State University, and had two daughters.
But her eye for design didn’t diminish in spite of her degree. In fact, my mother brought the world of design to four dazzling eyes of two little girls. Because of this, I attribute my eye for beauty solely to my mother, who found beauty in the everyday.
She sought to raise my sister and I to appreciate the world which surrounds us.
Here’s (a small part) of how she inspired us to be creative kids:
1. My bedroom wasn’t themed. Reflective of my mom’s value on design and the arts, my room wasn’t filled with Disney princesses or themed pillow cases. Instead, my mother sewed curtains and duvees from quality fabrics. Thankfully, you don’t have to sew these days to find unique fabrics and textures that add a healthy dose of design to your child’s bedroom. Shops like Etsy can be a great way to support designers and artists while also decorating your child’s bedroom as an environment encouraging inspiration.
2. We traveled. Before I left for college, I’d been to Europe three times and probably seen more of this nation’s historical sites than Obama did growing up (maybe that’s a stretch… but he is from Hawaii!). On each trip, I remember my mother pointing out beauty to me, savoring local colors, foliage and textures. Sometimes we’d have to camp or stay in “authentic Eastern European” hotels to afford the trips, but this never stole from her appreciation of the local culture and surroundings. One of my favorite memories is of my mother befriending some Croatian widows at the village farmer’s market. That market brings back memories of fresh produce, babushkas, wrinkled fingers, and my mother attempting to convey meaning through hand gestures due to the language barrier. Through these trips and the experiences she sought out, I began to see color and textures and understand culture from a very young age. Today, traveling is even easier with the internet and plenty of search sites can help you find the perfect destination for your budget. Even a short trip to the art museum or local farmer’s market can cultivate your little one’s eye for design.
3. I had an inspiration board. and shelf. and book. From the time I was a toddler, I had a shelf shaped like a house, like this one. It was above my headboard, within my reach. Trinkets from trips, postcards from museums, or even small flowers in vases filled this shelf. This was my shelf to place things that inspired me. Yes, as a four year old I may not have comprehended the definition of inspiration, but these opportunities to collect things that I liked, had an impact on my four year old work and ideas. Providing your child some platform to collect things that inspire them can be done in many different ways. A bulletin board above a desk or child-size table, a magnetic chalkboard in the playroom, a journal with pockets, or even a small bookshelf; all of these are easy ways to implement an inspiration platform within your child’s world. Giving your child this opportunity to gather, collect, and arrange things that are interesting to him/her opens up occasions for conversation with your child (developing interpersonal skills and descriptive language) and also use of fine motor skills. Whether you implement this inspiration board as a kickoff to summer break or as a project to enrich your travels abroad, enjoy giving your pre-Pinterest aged child the opportunity to inspire design!”