Thursday 9 August 2018

Introducing daily creative time - and the wonderful results

In the run up to the  summer holidays there were lots of posts floating about on social media with suggestions for things that children were required to do before they could have any screen time. As I've shared before, I am quite lax when it comes to screen time, but I also don't want them to spend the holidays glued to the screen. So we sat down together and had a chat. I showed them a version of the list (you can see the one I used here), and asked them how they felt about something similar. We decided to come up with a more flexible approach - we would make a list of things that I'd like to to be completed during the day, and if they did then they would generally be allowed their screens.

We divided our list into two. The first half was non-negotiable tasks - getting dressed, brushing teeth, five minutes tidying their bedrooms, half an hour of reading, piano practice for Harry and some kind of worksheet or activity book for Mia. We then wrote a second list of things which were an alternative to screen time - things like help Mum with a job, do a jigsaw or play a board game. I also added 'do something creative'.

I stressed that the list was always going to be a work in progress, and could be changed and updated as we saw fit. This happened very early on, when I noticed how popular the 'do something creative option' was, and so I moved it to the first column as an alternative to reading (which to be fair they both generally do at some point during the day anyway).

My reason was that I found after just a few days choosing a creative activity, the children really ran with it and they amazed me with what they came up with in just a short space of time. Harry chose to work on writing a Viking themed story, and he eagerly sat down at his desk to write a chapter each day. Here's his prologue, and when it's finished he intends to publish the whole story on his own blog!

Night was falling. A fine mist hung over Humber River. Edward walked up to his Master. "Where is he?" the Master asked? "I...I...I...well, we've been searching, but we've been unable to find h...h...h...ech" he fell dead. The Master lowered his hand.

"Find that boy!" he ordered his army...The Destroyers.

Small boy writing at his desk

Mia has also been working on a story, but her preferred creative activity is junk modelling - she loves to go through the recycling box and accessorise her creations with stickers, pipe cleaners, feathers and so on from the craft box. She has produced some wonderful pieces of work - I love seeing what she comes up with!

Adding creative time to the day has been a big success, and although it will be harder to fit these things in once they are back at school I'm definitely going to continue - I may make it part of the after dinner routine, and maybe I can fit in a bit of time for crafting for myself too!

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