Growing Kids and Creativity With Forts
Posted June 7, 2016 by Fort Magic
Creativity grasps the concept of what is and imagines the possibilities of all that could be. "We all have creative potential," says Mark Runco, Ph.D., director of the University of Georgia's Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development. "Our job as parents and teachers is to help kids fulfill it." For parents, growing kids’ creativity with forts is easy. Fort building promotes innovation through the mere act of imagining. Will what arises from the Fort Magic sticks and connectors? A castle? A plane? An obstacle course? Also, when the picture in a child’s mind does not match the end result or problems emerge from the building, creative problem-solving skills develop. What will your child do when the castle threatens to topple or more pieces are required for the obstacle course? The answers to these questions are less important than the process your child engages in to uncover them. And, they are capable! Coming to a solution in fort building further prepares children to think through other real-life scenarios - outside the box (or the fort)! Without opportunities for free play, the creative side of kids fails to find the opportunity to develop. The leisurely meandering of the mind when data gathering and stimulation cease encourages creative thought - a necessary component of healthy growth. The perfect scenario for this development is to play. Fort building engages all muscles and all senses as well as the whole body in play, which promotes learning and exploration of the world. The mind engages in new and unexpected ways and your children flourish. Encouraging kids to build forts is the simplest of tasks. Just break out the Fort Magic kit and they kids are sure to do the rest! While you may be tempted to jump in and give ideas, or even construct the fort base yourself (after all, who can withstand the draw of creating a fort?), have the self-control to refrain! Watch and enjoy as your kids’ imaginations explode with ideas and solve problems as they create the fort. If creator’s block rears its ugly head, provide inspiration and questions rather than answers. Maybe a picture book or a painting from the art gallery you visited last week will provide ideas. Consider the activities your child have been interested in lately. Questions such as, “What do you remember from our vacation last week?” or, “Where did the character of our story last night live?” can help encourage ideas rather than lead to you dictating the project. Young ones may need a helping hand now and then. Step in briefly to provide assistance, and then step back out to allow your child to finish the project. For children literally too young to complete the building, provide a basic structure. Then, let them decorate and play. Be aware of providing opportunities that your child can succeed at and those that might require more problem-solving. If you do join in on the fun of fort building, let go of all content. Instead, have your children direct the activity while you take a backseat role. Entering your child’s world and not ordering it into an adult space allows for greater creative expression. Plus, you demonstrate to your children that their interests and ideas are valuable to you. There is no higher form of praise to a child. Solving problems and completing a fort with little adult input develops a sense of mastery and self-confidence in kids. Celebrate their accomplishments with them. Once the creation is finalized, bring a batch of homemade cookies or a favorite story to be shared together inside the fort. Creative games provide additional stimulation. Try laying out costume items such as scarves, sunglasses, vests, hats and more. Entering the world of make-believe blossoms creativity. Art supplies such as paint, sidewalk chalk, water guns filled with paint, bubbles to blow into wet paint and a paper-sided fort as the canvas engage kids. Sand or dirt encourages more building and exploring the world. Place a kiddie pool inside the fort to transform it into a cabana for good times! Organized games provide opportunities to learn about rules, competition, and real life responsibilities. However, creative and imaginative play enhances healthy development and is also essential for a child to grown and learn. Did you ever shake your head at the rule-changing arguments in the backyard during group games? Children often shift the rule focus to the creative. This can be a good thing to encourage! Provide a few foam balls and bats, bowling sets, rings, hula hoops or Velcro darts. Encourage kids to make up rules and their own games. Creativity and flexibility are what these games are about. Let the kids change the rules and negotiate the terms with one another as the game goes on. Putting a silly spin on the traditional also makes for giggles. Kids are guaranteed to grow and so is their creativity with fort building and free play. So grab that Fort Magic kit and let the creativity flow!