The challenge has been accepted

There have been a number of 100 day challenges being accepted around the country. Our Penistone District franchise owner, Sara, has decided to accept the gauntlet and complete a ‘100 days of creativity’ challenge with her two children.

 sara le roux by Sara le Roux,  Owner and Inspirer at The Creation Station Penistone and District

Over the next few weeks Sara will be appearing on our blog as she attempts this challenge. Pop over to see her updates on all things paint-filled and glittery during the countdown.

sara and family

Sara with her fellow challengers Elliot and Izzy

About Me

Hi – This is me and my two ‘Little Explorers’ – Isobel (Izzy) and Elliott (Boo).  We hope that you’ll join us for some fun as we embark on our journey of creative discovery and exploration!  We’re attempting to complete a ‘100 Days of Creativity’ Challenge – glittery fingers crossed we make it!  We’re going to take 30 minutes out of each hectic day and paint, cut, stick and craft our way to New Year’s Eve.  It’s not going to be easy and I’m sure that some days I’m just going to want to switch on some ‘toons’ (as Boo calls his cartoons), but stick with us, grab your glitter and off we go…….!

More About Where It All Began……

Ever had one of ‘those’ moments where you just know that you could keep walking the same path and probably still be in exactly the same spot in another 5 years?  That was me in January this year.  As my second stint of maternity leave was creeping by I had that sinking feeling that I’m sure many of you had at some point or other.  Don’t get me wrong – I worked for a fantastic employer, with great benefits but after 9 years I had done every job in the department and had well and truly hit the ceiling when it came to promotion.  I needed more but had no idea what that ‘more’ was.  In the space of three years I had gotten married, moved house and had two beautiful children.  With so many lovely changes in my life I had no idea that after the dust settled I would be left feeling this way.

If you could have looked into a crystal ball back then and seen me now I’d understand how you’d think that I’d totally lost the plot! I’ve left my job in HR, bought a ‘Creation Station’ franchise and now provide Art & Craft activities for children…. I LOVE IT!!!

Its hard work, my muscles ache and my days are now a lovely (if not sometimes odd) mix of random things – everything from testing out new session plans and learning how to achieve the ideal ‘gloop’ consistency (critical!) to balancing the accounts and researching how to effectively target my advertising on Facebook – no two days are ever the same and I would not change that for anything.

Those people who first thought I must be having some sort of early mid-life crisis now agree my glittery adventure has brought back my sparkle again.  I have been incredibly fortunate.  I have an awesome husband who has supported me unwaveringly and enable me to take that leap and ‘just see what happens’ and so far things are looking…..SHINY!

I hope that you pop by from time to time and see how my family are getting on with our creative adventure….

Sara x

Cutting Station

liz cairns 2

by Liz Cairns, Owner and Inspirer at The Creation Station South Ayrshire

All young children love to cut with scissors, but as parents we get stressed and hate the mess – This will help your little one develop their skills and you wont have the mess to clean up!

cutting station

For more fantastic ideas follow our blog or visit www.thecreationstation.co.uk

It’s not just messy play

nicki smith

by Nicki Smith, Owner and Inspirer at The Creation Station Bath

These days, as parents, we are constantly bombarded with terms like messy play, creative play, heuristic play or sensory play but what’s wrong with plain old play?

As a daily provider of creative play, I actually get a bit narked about others belittling the job I do. I have been doing it for over 3 years (which is a long time in kid years!) and I reckon I know the value of creative play in all its forms.

Children play. It’s what they are good at. It’s what comes naturally to them. Most of us parents know and appreciate that. Sometimes it may feel that the government, LEAs, OFSTED or other institutions like to ignore it but even they would admit (I hope) that children learn best through play in Early Years.

Creativity is the ability to challenge, question and explore. It involves taking risks, playing with ideas, keeping an open mind and making connections where none are obvious – Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood

Creative play is just one way that young children learn and develop. My personal definition of creative play involves drawing, painting, glueing, cutting, collage, modelling, making but most of all, using their awesome imaginations as a natural starting point.

Okay, that’s quite an adult definition but creativity in early childhood has been proven to bring benefits to the child and help them to gain skills:

  • Maths Skills – through involvement in arts and crafts, children will gain knowledge and familiarity of shapes, sizes, measuring, sorting and patterns. As they get older, they will begin to include problem-solving skills in their creations: ‘Is this too much paint?'; ‘Will this tool do what I want it to do?'; ‘If I cut this here, will it make the shape I want?’

  • Science skills – in art projects, children learn basic science skills: colour mixing; using different textures for different outcomes

  • Physical skills – Creative play develops fine motor skills through cutting, drawing, painting, threading, colouring within the lines. One minute, they may be scribbling, but the next, that pencil is forming letters and numbers. ‘Mark making’ (the PC term for scribbling!) is a milestone for muscle control and hand-eye coordination.

  • Emotional and social skills – Art provides the child with an incredible opportunity to express themselves. It is accepted that emotionally healthy children are often those who have an outlet for their emotions and thoughts. Art classes and activities also allow little ones the chance to interact with others and experience group dynamics and the different thoughts and interests of others.

And creative play in babies can be even more important. Playing with materials such as sand, water or paint have been shown to develop thought and creativity in little ones. Encouraging curiosity and exploration is so beneficial for our babes.

The important thing to remember is that no end product is necessary for any age group in fact. The act of exploring and playing is where the learning and development are focused. Who cares what they make as long as they have had fun.

We shouldn’t underestimate how shared creative play strengthens the bond between parent and child. Having fun together creates memories. Allowing your child to explore whilst you are present instils a sense of security in the child to have fun, explore new things. A whole lot of thoughts and theory? True, but I have seen the truth in this too.

I have seen the most shy, socially uncomfortable little boy (who used to try to escape during class!) blossom in confidence and stature as his ideas and imagination were noticed and valued. I have seen little ones living with autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities thrive on the chance to join in activities on an equal footing and watched their individual talents soar. I have also noticed with pride as my own children’s imaginations have developed and their skills started to become obvious.

Creative play is accessible to all.

Shush, don’t tell anyone but I really don’t like doing lots of arts and crafts at home with my kids. I struggle enough to keep the house tidy without adding to the chaos. However, creative play doesn’t have to be messy. Creative play is story-telling, music, performance just as much as it is paint, glue, glitter and clay.

Some people are happy to strip their kids off and let them redecorate the bathroom with poster paints. Some people start to convulse at the idea of play-dough. Some people are more creative and inspirational everyday than I have the energy to even think about. Some people need the comfort of arty sessions like Messy Play at Children’s Centres or The Creation Station.

Whatever you choose give your little one’s creativity the wings to soar. It’s not just messy play, you know.

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Thank you to Nicki Smith our lovely Creation Station franchise owner in Bath. For more details about Nicki and her Creation Station sessions visit her webpage.

How do we nurture creativity in children?

You may have seen the incredible self-folding origami robot that was revealed the other week. It truly shows how applying the power of creative thinking to an ancient craft can produce awe inspiring results. We only need to look at the last 10 years to see the power of creative thinking and how it has impacted our whole society.

Children enjoy getting creative at the new Create Club launching in Devon.

Children enjoy getting creative at Create Club.

So how do we nurture creativity in children? – it’s very much about the journey not the ‘end product’.  I was wondering if there was any way we could help you nurture your child’s creativity?  I know we provide creative workshops to enjoy and help inspire your baby and toddler- and we help you with fun and creative parties and clubs, but I just wanted to find out if there was anything else that would be helpful.

It’s tough bringing up children especially in a world where there is so much pressure on us all. If there is anything you feel would be helpful- or if you have any feedback (good or could be better) -I’d love to hear. Contact us and we will get back to you.

Sarah and your Creative Crew

Grab your running shoes

Have you been watching the Athletics at the Commonwealth Games 2014? Aren’t all of the athletes amazing! There are medals flying everywhere.

Why not let your little one design their own set of trainers to make them run super fast and inspire them towards an active future.

Trainer Sheet

Download your Trainer Sheet here.

Become a follower of our blog for more exciting activity ideas to do at home.

 

1,385 medals to be won…where could this be?

Yes, you guessed it the Commonweath Games! Have you managed to watch any of the events so far? Which has been your favourite sport?

Here are some more flags for you to decorate.

Wales Commonwealth sheet

Download your Wales Commonwealth sheet here.

Northern Ireland Commonwealth sheet

Download your Northern Ireland Commonwealth sheet here.

We have also created some worksheets for some of the other countries taking part, try decorating their flags as well.

There is an image to help you or why not reinvent the flags with new colours and patterns.

Bangladesh Commonwealth sheet

Download your Bangladesh Commonwealth sheet here.

Maldives Commonwealth sheet

Download your Maldives Commonwealth sheet here.

Become a follower of our blog for more exciting activity ideas to do at home.

Party with Clyde at the Commonwealth Games

As the Commonwealth Games kick off today with the opening ceremony in Glasgow why not get patriotic and decorate your own flag. Are you lucky enough to have tickets to the Games?

England Commonwealth sheet

Download your England Commonwealth sheet here.

Scotland Commonwealth sheet

Download your Scotland Commonwealth sheet here.

We have also created some worksheets for some of the other countries taking part, try decorating their flags as well.

There is an image to help you or why not reinvent the flags with new colours and patterns.

Ghana Commonwealth sheet

Download the Ghana Commonwealth sheet here.

Canada Commonwealth sheet

Download the Canada Commonwealth sheet here.

South Africa Commonwealth sheet

Download the South Africa Commonwealth sheet here.

Become a follower of our blog for more exciting activity ideas to do at home.