Inspiration and learning can come from anywhere. Learning doesn’t have to be boring or even very structured. And inspiration can come from anything at all. Helping to inspire kids to think creatively and explore the world around them is the main goal at Fort Magic. Creative thinking is a way of looking at things from a fresh perspective that may result in unusual solutions. Spend some time with a Fort Magic Fort Kit and you’ll find, that sometimes, thinking inside the box, can be even more inspiring than thinking outside the box. Here are some ways to help inspire creative thinking in your child with Fort Magic.
A castle isn’t always a castle .Even if you just got the kit to build a castle and you want to put it together to look exactly like the picture, that doesn’t mean you should. In fact, let your kids go a little bit crazy with it. Insisting that there is only one way to do something is a quick way to squash creativity in a child. Allow your child to figure it out for herself exactly how the pieces go together. Or even let her make up something completely new. The possibilities are endless. Always encourage your children and celebrate their final creations.
Ask open-ended questions as you build. Rather than just telling your child how to build exactly as the instructions say, ask them questions. Try asking, “where do you think this piece could fit?” Or maybe, “how can we make this taller? Or shorter? Or can we expand this?” Help your child learn to think as she builds her fort. Many children’s toys are designed “to do” something; instead, encourage your child to come up with new ways to use materials.
Have your children work together. The purpose of group projects is to teach young people how to work in teams, as training for jobs later in life. Help to facilitate the exchange of ideas between your children (and their friends!) as they find new ways to build their fort. One child may think of a new way to do something that will inspire another to make something entirely different than what they originally set out to build.
Encourage brainstorming. If your child decides he doesn’t want to build the fort how it is pictured, get out some paper and writing materials. Get together and work out how to design something new. Keep asking open ended questions. Ask all the kids what they think can be done differently. Help them to work to build a new idea and agree on a new path together. This brainstorming process also encourages the group work dynamic mentioned in the last point.
Similar to the first point, always support your child’s creative endeavors. Could you imagine if Dr. Seuss had given up on drawing after his first art teacher told him he wasn’t drawing correctly? Or if Walt Disney had given up his dreams of feature-length animation films after he was fired from a newspaper for “not being creative enough”? If your child creates an imaginary world where the sky is green and the grass is blue, encourage that. That encouragement will sustain them and help them to continue to think beyond the strictures that society may otherwise impose.
Designate one space for their creativity. The main idea behind this is to help your child feel as if she has control over a space. This space is all her own to do what she wishes and to build whatever she likes. It doesn’t need to be a big fancy space, just a small part of the living will work just fine. But let your child know that she has space to completely create how she wants and what she wants. And of course, with Fort Magic Forts, that space can even be her own private pirate ship, or rocket ship, or even a magic castle. Whatever she wants to create, you should never attempt limit to her imagination.
Let them know that mistakes are okay. Everyone has failed at something at one point in their life, “unless you have lived so carefully that you might as well not have lived at all”-J.K. Rowling. If your child decides he wants to put the pieces together a certain way on his new rowboat kit from Fort Magic, but you can clearly see that there’s no way the pieces will fit, that’s okay. He will learn from that error and will be so much the better for having learned from a mistake. Guide your child on how to learn from those mistakes. It’s also much more satisfying to children (and adults!) to figure something out on their own, rather than just having everything spoon fed to them.
Above everything else you do, encourage your child to think for himself or herself. If you hold their hand the whole way through and tell them exactly how something should be, then they will never learn to think for themselves. Always embrace the opportunity to change the design of a fort, ask your child questions of how they think something should be built, and encourage your child to work with others.
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TinkerLab Blog: One of our favorite engineering blogs for children is TinkerLab. Have you ever visited the site? If not, you’ll definitely want to browse sometime soon. You will find loads of fun and inventive ideas for encouraging all things hands-on and engineering for kids. TinkerLab has fantastic Tinker Lab YouTube videos too!
Rave & Review Blog: The fun Rave & Review blog is where you’ll find loads of sharing on your favorite products for parents and grandparents all the way to newborns.
Twodaloo Blog: At the awesome Twodaloo blog you will find activities and information about early childhood development that you can use at home, in the classroom, or in the therapy setting.
The Artful Parent Blog: One of our absolute favorite creative blogs for children and families. The Artful Parent blog is filled with simple ideas to fill your family’s life with art and creativity. A must see blog for sure.
Fort Magic Customer Photos via Facebook: Visit our Fort Magic Facebook page to see our customer creativity shine with fun pics and videos of families enjoying their Fort Magic kit during playtime.
Fort Magic Customer Photos via Instagram: Visit our Fort Magic Instagram page to see our customer creativity shine with fun pics and videos of families enjoying their Fort Magic kit during playtime.