A quick, easy, anytime activity to ignite your child’s imagination, creation and planning skills.

I have an extremely talented friend. OK, if I’m going to be honest I have a few really clever, inspiring friends. Today I am going to focus on one of them. Basically she is resourceful, patient, honest, kind and one of the most incredible and self-sacrificing mommies I have ever seen. She moved to France with her husband and twin two-year-olds (yes can you believe it, two 2yr olds), where she is a stay at home mommy, while she learns French and gets back into freelance editing and journalism (which she does with extreme amounts of talent). She shared this incredible idea of what she calls her “Creation Station” but which my daughter has named her “Building Bin”.

This idea is one I think my friend got from her sister… an extremely wise and skilled Occupational Therapist and another lady I am proud to call a close friend. I love that… the way we as friends and a community of parents share ideas and tips with each other (its kinda the essence of this blog).

Back to the Creation Station. Itis really a collection (bag/box/cupboard) of things you may pop into the recycling bin… you know the sort of thing; cereal boxes, egg cartons, toilet roll inners etc. She then adds some tape, glue and scissors (leaving glue and scissors available to your 2yr olds… that right there is the definition of bravery). Since I am having trouble with leaving scissors and glue unattended in my house, I put those away but give them if my daughter asks and I am around to keep a watchful eye.

Essentially this Building Bin/Creation Station is something to always have in the house. That way if you are swamped and your child is bored, or if you are having a few rainy days and everyone has cabin fever, you can just direct them to the Creation Station and they can build or make anything their hearts desire. Then when the sun comes out again you have something to paint and decorate (glitter is also banned from inside my house… let’s be honest here, that stuff self-multiplies) … so really it is the gift (or activity) that keeps on giving. When they don’t want it anymore they can recycle it or dismantle and put back into the Creation Station stash.

I have chosen to only use paper and cardboard items… easier to cut and stick and recycle afterwards, however, my friend has used other items with great success. Writing this I realise how OCD/controlling I sound… clearly an area I need to work on.

This really has been a lifesaver for me to have in our house, especially with a little baby because at times when I have to breastfeed, rock to sleep or change a nappy then my 4 year old can be creating and getting lost in a lovely world of make-believe. Building and creating like this is hugely beneficial and allows your child to practise so many skills from using their imagination, motor skills, planning skills, matching, measuring, cutting as well as exercising their creativity. There is also room here for getting a feel for what it is like to try and fail and then go back to square one and solve the problem or overcome an obstacle. I honestly cannot recommend this activity enough.

Warning… you have to be prepared for mess and at times, assisting your child with overcoming disappointment if something falls apart or their initial plan doesn’t work out ( lots of “how could we do this differently?” type questions).

Until next time… happy creating.

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