Stop Limiting Your Kid's Creativity, Mie Rasmussen Shows You How

By Nikki M

We all know the importance of a closed learning system. Having parameters and being able to follow directions are a must. And since my kids were little, our home has been filled with puzzles, workbooks, flashcards, toys with manuals, board games with guide books, LEGOs with building instructions, video games with tutorials…

We’ve had our share of activities that involve puzzle-solving, memorization, and lots of rules. Now that the kids are in school, I know that those bases are covered and I find myself looking for activities that are more easygoing and FUN!

At home, why not let loose and use your imagination – and gain a lot of critical thinking skills, while you’re at it? We came across Danish mama Mie (@mielaerkerasmussen) on Instagram and instantly fell in love with her projects. Her philosophy: “Creativity, curiosity, and simplicity.” Looking at her videos, her activities are effortless and you’ll often see a variety of materials and tools strewn about, but rarely any “how to’s”.

She is a believer in open-ended, interest-led learning, where there is no right or wrong way of doing things. Hand different kids the same materials and they’ll each come up with something unique, using their own skills and imagination. Her projects are prompts and because there are no instructions, kids really get to draw on critical thinking, creativity, trial and error, and asking lots of questions.

Curious yet? Here are some of our favorite open-ended activities featured on her feed:

Process Art

Process art is an artistic movement where the focus isn’t on the final product, rather it’s about the creative process. They say that life is a journey, not a destination. Well, same goes for art. If you’re too busy perfecting your shadows to stop and explore your materials… then you are missing the point!

Mie’s process art involves an old sheet out on the lawn, and recycled plastic bottles with sprayers filled with water and acrylic paint. The only rule is… There are no rules!

Card Sculpture

Grab some old playing cards and a pair of scissors. Cut slits and on the cards to fit pieces together. Will you make a house? A lochness monster? Maybe you don’t even want to build anything and just want to cut out the drawings on the card… Either way, you’re seriously working on those fine-motor skills and exploring materials along the way.

Making by Breaking

Gather old/broken mechanical objects – TV sets, vacuums, radios, landline telephones – and a simple set of tools. Have the kids take them apart: What will they find? What do gears, springs, and screws do? Why are the pieces arranged a certain way? What’s behind a screen? What happens when you smash things with a hammer? Can you put everything back together? (Not if you smashed it with a hammer.) How come my landline worked fine for 20 years, but my 2 year old phone’s operating system is no longer supported?

LEGO Architecture with White and Clear Bricks

I’ve only recently discovered the joy of LEGO sets. When I opened our first box, I was overwhelmed by the 500 bricks… and the 3 (!!!) separate instruction manuals. Then I realized the pieces were in numbered bags to match the manuals. And that the manuals were colorful and detailed and accurate (IKEA, please take note) …. So it was a breeze to build. Almost therapeutic, because I didn’t have to think… Everything was laid out for me.

For a completely different experience, try using only white and clear LEGOs. LEGO Architecture Studio is a set created for adults, composed of a thousand monochromatic bricks and an inspirational book, which you’ll be throwing out. Encourage your kids to simply explore with form and light, and see what masterpieces they come up with!

Pendulum Painting

For an abstract art project and physics experiment rolled into one, try painting with a pendulum. Spread out a giant roll of craft paper on the ground. Tie a string to a bucket, and hang it from the ceiling. Pour some watered down acrylic paint in the bucket. Then swing!

Try pushing the bucket in different angles – straight across, in a spiral, maybe lift it all the way up and let go… Try swirling different colors in the bucket. Hang 2 or 3 more buckets. Sell your painting for millions!

Miniature Garden

Nature crafts are my favorite – nothing’s more beautiful than something made out of petals, leaves, wood, and pretty rocks; the materials change throughout the different seasons; and everything is FREE!

Head to the garden and create a miniature one for squirrels, birds, gnomes, fairies, and other imaginary friends. Use natural materials – maybe some recycled. Start with a tiny wooden house. Use corks from wine bottles as stepping stones, and make a fence out of twigs. Use twine to string up some pinecones, and popsicle sticks to build a little playground… If you can imagine it, build it… and tell stories as you go.

Can’t get enough open-ended play? Follow @mielaerkerasmussen on Instagram for more creative ideas!

Tags : arts and crafts,   

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