| |By Kasey EdwardsIt's been a bad week for picking on kids - especially overweight ones.
First came a repulsive fat-shaming video on 'Slate'
called Dear Prudence: A girl with an endless appetite
. In response to a letter from a "concerned" mother about the eating habits of her daughter's friend, agony aunt Prudie thought it would be helpful - funny even - to portray the little girl in question as a pig and her parents as tubs of lard.
Next came news out of the US of children being given homework assignments in which they were to circle the fat people in a picture. Another school weighs its students and has them taking letters home to parents with their BMI score.
The crowning glory of kiddy fat shaming, though, was Australia 'Biggest Loser's' paid advertorial on 'Mamamia
', where Jo Abi advocates putting kids on diets, and where the show promises to focus on children more in this year's show.
And let's not have any guff about 'The Biggest Loser' being "inspirational" or about health. It exists for one thing, and one thing only: to increase network ratings, often at the expense of the contestants' health
The show has been slammed by health professionals and contestants alike, with the 'Sydney Morning Herald' reporting
horror stories of trainers suggesting contestants stop drinking for up to 36 hours before being weighed, and celebrating dangerous and unrealistic weight-loss goals of up to 17 kilograms in one week.
Former contestant John Jeffery quit the show in 2008 because he feared someone would die. He wasn't being over-dramatic either. As it is, several contestants have been hospitalised for dehydration and Dr Jenny O'Dea, Associate Professor of Health and Nutrition Education at the University of Sydney, has warned against some of its practices, such as making morbidly obese people run 10 kilometres in the summer heat.
"Dehydration combined with heat exhaustion will kill you," Dr O'Dea said.
Add to this the psychological damage of being humiliated and bullied in front of an entire nation (why else do contestants have to strip off for weigh-ins, other than for us to be collectively appalled and amused by their bodies?) - and the very real possibility of contestants regaining the weight
, and the associated shame. One contestant even blames 'The Biggest Loser' for triggering an eating disorder
It's bad enough that we fat-shame adults for our entertainment, whilst pretending to be "concerned", but setting our fat-phobic sights on children is indefensible.
'The Biggest Loser's' fat-shaming-kiddies ratings bonanza is being promoted as a way to stop bullying. And hey, I understand that nobody wants their children to suffer. I also get that we live in a society where the parents of fat children are considered to be negligent.
But passing on our own food and body anxieties, and getting in first with the bullying by forcing children into diets and extreme exercise regimes isn't the solution.
Anyone who has ever tried to stick to a diet knows that the deprivation is soul-destroying and the self-restraint is all but impossible to maintain. When adults can't stick to calorie-restriction diets, how on earth do we expect children to?
Actress and comedian Arabella Weir explains in 'Does My Bum Look Big In This?' that denying children food is the fastest way to turn them into compulsive closet eaters with a terrible self-esteem.
"My parents believed they were helping me by pointing out to me that I ought not to waltz through life thinking it was ok to be me. They thought they were warning me of the pitfalls," writes Weir. "As I was, I wasn't good enough. I must learn denial in order to reach a better me, and one more pleasing to my parents. The only trouble was that that's quite a tall, if not unreachable, order for a child."
The idea of a child going hungry is barbaric. It's also totally unnecessary. If we weren't all so caught up on the aesthetics of our children's bodies rather than their health, we would never even consider it, let alone put it on prime-time TV.
Despite what the advertising industry and a whole stream of self-appointed TV "experts" tell us, skinny and healthy are not the same thing. We should not be aspiring to raise "skinny" children; surely our job is to raise "healthy" children.
If we encourage our kids to be active, to play outside and to eat healthy food because it's good for their growing bodies, bones and brains, and not because they need to hit some arbitrary figure on a weight chart, then we have done our job.
More than ever, we need to be teaching our children that the goal should be the process
of living a health life and not the outcome
of meeting a commercially-driven standard of beauty.
Once children internalise that their BMI is a measure of their goodness and self-worth, then we have set them up for a lifetime of failure and self-contempt. We have taught them that they should trust some arbitrary external measure rather than their bodies and their own judgment. And we have taught them that our love is conditional; that we will we be happier, prouder and more loving if they become something other than what they are.
What children need to hear from their parents, more than anything, is that we pick their team, and not team 'Biggest Loser'.- Kasey Edwards is the best-selling author of four books, '30-Something and Over It', '30-Something and The Clock is Ticking', 'OMG! That's Not My Husband', and 'OMG! That's Not My Child'. www.kaseyedwards.com
"Despite what the advertising industry and a whole stream of self-appointed TV "experts" tell us, skinny and healthy are not the same thing. We should not be aspiring to raise "skinny" children; surely our job is to raise "healthy" children"
| |Talk of a “sugar tax” in the US and New York's decision next month to ban sugary drinks in restaurants and theatres to young children has people abuzz about whether it’s an American thing to financially punish people for drinking soda or not. I say go ahead and tax soda, and here are five good reasons why: 1. Soda is one more cause of the climate crisis.
We have exported our carbon dioxide addiction all around the world. Just think of the costs in fuel to ship it—and the emissions produced. Maybe if we stop drinking so much of it, the appeal of American sodas will decline elsewhere. And at least in most other countries, the local soda is still made with real sugar! 2. Yeah, yeah, yeah…high-fructose corn syrup.
HFCS is only cheaper than sugar because our government subsidizes the toxic, poisonous farming of corn in order to keep chemical companies (and maybe big tractor companies, too) in business. Plus, studies have shown that high-fructose corn syrup has mercury in it
. So all those moms who think (incorrectly) that mercury in vaccines causes autism had better not be giving their kids soda! 3. Diet soda causes people to make poor decisions.
According to a recent study, people who drink diet sodas think they are getting some energy, but their bodies still feel starved, so they kick into famine mode. Which basically means that the future doesn’t matter, all that matters is getting a next dose of fuel—hence, impulsive, short-term thinking. Amazing. 4. Soda isn’t really thirst quenching anyway.
Did you ever really, really pay attention to how your mouth feels when you drink a soda? All that sugar kind of sucks out the liquids from your mouth and leaves a taste that is so icky you have to eat something to get rid of it. So not only are you getting empty calories from your drink, but you are urged to snack, too. 5. Fountain soda has fecal matter in it!
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for soda in the news. Another study just this past week found that more than 40 percent of all fountain sodas have traces of fecal matter germs in them. It’s not in the ice, it’s in the soda itself. This was highly disappointing to me personally, since when I do have soda, I really like to have fountain soda with lots of ice in it to water it down and make it somewhat more thirst quenching. Now even that is off limits to me. I look at that cup of Coke with a lid and a straw and think, fecal matter? No thanks.
The only time I really bring soda into my house is when we are sick. There is nothing quite like a real coke or ginger ale to soothe an aching stomach. It’s medicine, really, and frankly, I think it should be treated as such. Think of all the plastic bottles, sugar, and toxic GMO corn we can keep out of the waste stream (and our bodies) if we stop drinking soda routinely.
Thirsty? Buy bottled water instead. YES, bottled water. It’s thirst quenching, has zero calories, and is damn good for you. Of course, you can fill your reusable water bottle with local tap water for free, instead of paying too much for water that’s been shipped and is probably municipal water anyway. And you should. But if you are at a gas station and need something to drink, pass over the soda and don’t feel guilty if a cold bottle of water hits the spot. (Just recycle that bottle.)
A lot of worrying comes with being pregnant, there’s no way around it. Every new symptom brings on so many questions, and even the slightest twinge of pain in any part of your body can send you into a Googling frenzy.
Anytime you feel severe, persistent pain, you should seek medical advice from your doctor to rule out a problem. But many moms find that slight to moderate pains come and go, and most of these are just par for the course. Here are some painful problems that are typically normal and part of a safe, healthy pregnancy, plus some tips from Circle of Moms members on how to relieve the hurt.
1. Round Ligament Pain
One of the first pains you might experience as your belly starts to grow is round ligament pain. These are felt primarily in the lower abdomen and in your sides, sometimes as a sharp, jabbing sensation. According to WebMD
, round ligament pain occurs when the round ligament that connects the front part of your womb to your groin begins to stretch. It is "one of the most common complaints during pregnancy
and is considered a normal part of pregnancy."
In discussions about round ligament pain, Maddie B. describes it as "sharp pains in my belly and my back
, also sometimes in my bladder." Serena L. found the pains to be worse in her second pregnancy: "I thought it would have been the opposite because logically your muscles have to stretch the first time more, right? Yeah, not so much. My doctor explained it to me that the muscles have to work harder with every pregnancy
thereafter because your first baby stretched things out."
Sally P. and Lisa M. both found that the only thing that really helps is to lay down for a while and rest the ligament
: "I went and laid down and took a nap for about a hour and then I was better," shares Lisa.
2. Slight Abdominal Cramping
Obviously, ligaments aren't the only thing stretching and growing in there! Your uterus is going through some 'feats of strength' itself, and that kind of expansion can cause some pain. When "Mommy 2 Be" had cramping at 17 weeks
, moms advised her to see her doctor or go to the hospital if the pain became severe. But several members, as well as her own mother, advised that slight to moderate cramps usually happen when the uterus is "growing and stretching."
Abdominal cramps that happen very early in pregnancy can be caused by bloating and constipation, a very common yet uncomfortable pregnancy side effect. This kind of cramping can be one of the first signs of pregnancy,
but can also continue well into the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Luckily there are some things you can do to help keep your bowels moving. Melanie T. suggests eating "anything with fiber!" and plenty of fluids, especially prune juice and water. Many moms say drinking lots of water works best. Joy B.'s doctor also recommended exercise: "i go for a walk of between 2 and 4 km every day as moving around also helps ease constipation."
If natural remedies don't do the trick, it is safe to try a very gentle over-the-counter stool softener. Amber K. is a nurse and mom of 2, and she suggests Colace brand stool softener: "[Colace] is just a stool softener...not a stimulant and perfectly safe
... They are little red gel-like caps and they are sold over the counter (OTC) at any store."
"Anytime you feel severe, persistent pain, you should seek medical advice from your doctor to rule out a problem"
3. Back Pain
Many moms experience discomfort in their backs during the later stages of pregnancy. Back pain can also be caused by ligaments stretching. Connie R. talked to her nurse practitioner about this type of back ache: "She says that it's ligament pain (we have them in our backs, too)
and she recommends ice pack/compress [since] heat can only make it worse."
Another source of back pain is your baby's movement and pressure on sensitive areas in your body. Lisa B. is frustrated that with her third pregnancy, it's hard to find relief from all the strain: "I am so sore through my back and pelvis
it hurts to lay in bed, it hurts to sit for too long, it hurts to lay in bed for too long and it hurts to walk around too much." She found relief with visits to a chiropractor, where she learned some stretching exercises that help: "One thing that I really like to do is to get down on my hands and knees and just let my belly hang and take all that pressure off my back
, then just arch and roll your back (think yoga poses!)."4. Leg Cramps
Leg cramps and muscle spasms can be common during pregnancy. Several members advise that these pains are almost always caused by dehydration, low potassium, or both
. Ashley B. experienced leg cramps with all three of her pregnancies: "Drink plenty of water and make sure you are getting enough potassium (found in bananas and raisins)... this really worked for me. Also you could try sleeping with a pillow between your legs
."5. Braxton-Hicks Contractions
Your body has it's own way of practicing and preparing for labour, and it's known as Braxton-Hicks. These are "fake" or "practice" contractions that you may experience during the final weeks before your baby is due. Jessica A. describes it beautifully: "That tightening that you feel from time to time in your uterus
may feel like real labor, but it is actually a Braxton Hicks contraction. These contractions happen when your brain sends messages to your body to prepare for labor. In response, your body contracts the muscles in your uterus to help get ready for your baby's eventual arrival."
The good thing about Braxton-Hicks contractions is that they are usually not very painful. Most moms describe them as a "tightening." Donna D. said hers "were very strong but they weren't painful. They took my breath away becausemy stomach went rock hard
... You will know the difference when the time comes." Krista H. agrees that you don't have to worry whether you will recognize the difference between Braxton-Hicks and the real thing: "Braxton Hicks FEEL like contractions, but unlike actual contractions, will go away if you get up and move around. Real contractions don't subside with movement.
This article in no way means to trivialise pain during pregnancy. Uncomfortable, slightly painful aspects of being pregnant come with the territory, but it is always a good idea to contact your doctor if you are worried about any pain you are experiencing. Seek medical treatment right away for any severe pain that does not go away. Persistent pain can be a sign that something is wrong, and only a medical professional can truly rule out a problem. [For more information, see 7 Pregnancy Warning Signs
at WebMD.]This information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
Grass, birds, creeks and abundant shady trees all make for beautiful natural learning and play spaces for children. Exploring neighbourhoods, playing in open spaces, being outside from dawn until dusk, these were the daily experiences of many adults during their childhood. It really wasn’t that long ago.
In today’s society more focus on indoor play, no time to explore, take risks or be a child makes for risk
adverse and less adaptable adults in future years.
That’s why C&K says yes to nature based learning and play which means more risk for children in early childhood. The future C&K Centre for Excellence in Ashgrove, Brisbane includes the natural bush and creek and will be fundamental in teaching children, families and of course all educators about risk.
On Saturday 27 October, C&K will host a special invitation only event on the green at the future C&K Centre for Excellence. Special guest from the United Kingdom, Mr Tim Gill an expert in risk and childhood, will share ideas and discuss the benefit of risk taking with families and educators.
More than 120 families that have applied for a place in the yet to be opened, C&K Centre for Excellence early childhood training centre, are invited to the event. The outdoor play space is set over almost 1 hectare of inner city bush with Ithaca Creek weaving around the site.
This is an exciting opportunity for the future C&K Centre for Excellence families and our educators to hear from Tim and Barrie Elvish, C&K Chief Executive Officer why risk, nature, learning and play are all entwined and necessary for children and society.
Barrie said “this is a great day for interested families, educators and community members to enjoy the wonderful environment that will be the site of Australia’s first nature based early childhood centre and hear Tim explain why children need risky play.”
Tim Gill, a world leader in advocating for more risk in childhood, Tim’s book “No Fear: Growing up in a risk adverse society” published in 2007 continues to be a top seller for early childhood professionals and policy makers.
Tim Gill is one of the UK's leading thinkers on childhood... He is guest speaker at C&K's special event at the future centre for excellence. He will discuss the benefit of risk taking with families and educators.
"The future C&K Centre for Excellence will be fundamental in teaching kids, families and educators about risk"
"Risk, nature, learning and play are all entwined and necessary for children and society"
WITH a possible shortage of disposable nappies looming worldwide, mums and dads are turning to reusable modern cloth nappies to look after their babies’ bottoms.
Following an explosion and fire last Saturday at a chemical plant in Himeji, Japan, production has ground to a halt at Nippon Shokubai, the company responsible for the leading production of super-absorbent polymers used in the manufacturing of disposable nappies for the international market.
If work at the fire-damaged factory remains suspended, it could seriously affect the supply of disposable nappies to Australia and the world.
“One million disposable nappies are used every day in Australia. If the world is on the brink of a disposable nappy crisis, we could see empty supermarket shelves and parents buying disposables on the internet for inflated prices,”
mum and sustainable parenting advocate Janet Wright says “Modern cloth nappies are in ample supply, and once parents start using them, they’ll never have to worry about running out of nappies again. Wash them, hang them to dry overnight, and they’re ready for another round of bottom changes.”
Modern cloth nappies are so advanced in design that they’re just as convenient to use as a disposable, Janet adds. “And unlike disposables, they’re environmentally conscious and will save parents thousands. A One baby will need 6,000 nappy changes in the first two years of life, and at upwards of 50c per nappy, parents are throwing their money away.
“Nappies are something you really can’t do without if you have a baby. Modern cloth nappies can save parents $4,000 when compared to what you spend on disposables.”
KindyNews is now offering a special range of Eco-Friendly Baby products including Bamboo cloth nappy liners and cloth nappies. Check out the latest range at www.KindyNews.com/e-shop
and also on our Facebook Eco-shop too!
The cloth diaper is making a big comeback primarily because of major improvements in the fabric and design. In the above video, this group is among mums and dads in 500 locations across 20 countries who got together and all, at the same time, changed their kids into cloth diapers in hopes of setting a World Record!
| |Time to stock up on modern cloth nappies...The world could face a shortage of disposable nappies after an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Japan that supplies as much as one fifth of the global market.
The blast, which killed a fireman and injured 35 other emergency service workers, occurred after a chemical reaction caused a fire on Saturday afternoon at the plant operated by Nippon Shokubai Co in the city of Himeji, near Osaka in central Japan.
Nippon Shokubai controls the largest share of the world market for the super-absorbent polymers used in nappy production.
According to the company, demand is so high that even before the fire its production facilities were required to operate at full capacity and it had announced plans to set up factories overseas. The Himeji plant produced 320,000 tons of the super-absorbent polymer, according to the Sankei newspaper, about 20 per cent of the global share.
The really bad news? Nippon Shokubai controls about one fifth of the world’s production of super-absorbent polymers - used in the production of nappies
The polymers soak up a baby’s wee through hydrogen bonding with water molecules. It’s what "pulls the wetness away".
A nappy that uses the polymers can absorb 50 times their weight of liquid.
For parents of babies still in nappies – stock up now. Prices are sure to go up.
Pressure will now increase on the company's other production facilities to meet the shortfall.
It is estimated that in Britain alone, more than three billion nappies are thrown away every year.
"For parents of babies still in nappies – stock up now. Prices are sure to go up"
When a child is bitten by a four-legged family member, it can turn the household upside-down. Owners feel puzzled and confused. “They sleep together all the time,” they might say, or, “He’s always been really good. He even lets Timmy sit on him.” In a majority of cases, the bite seems out of the blue. The humans can’t fathom why their once-trusted companion would bite an innocent child. But anyone who reads “dog” or can see life from the pet’s point of view would most likely say, “I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.”
The fact is, a quick perusal of YouTube or a thorough investigation of a bite reveals that often the bite occurs because humans, especially children, are extremely rude. Parents may view their kid’s behaviors as cute and assume that because their dog is tolerating the behavior now, he will have an endless fuse and always put up with it, rather than eventually exploding. In other words, parents expect dogs to behave like saints, even when they are pestered to the point that would try the average human’s patience and cause her to blow up!
For instance, I recall one tragic case where an infant was left at home with the babysitter and the family pitbull. The infant was allowed to incessantly crawl after the dog, tailing the dog as if she was an armed criminal. He followed her from corner to corner as she kept trying to get away from the baby, but the dog had no escape. While the parents were able to take a “vacation” from their child by hiring a babysitter and leaving the house, the dog was left at home to fend for herself. Ordinarily, a person being pestered this way with no way to escape would eventually turn and yell and possibly even resort to violence. A dog might do the same—turn and bark, snarl, or growl. But when all of these early signs are ignored, escalation to a bite can be the next step. Unfortunately, a bite by any large dog at her wits end can cause serious damage to a child, and in this case it resulted in death.
More often than not, cases where the dog bites a young child are tragic—often more so for the dog. The dog may be relinquished to a shelter, where he has a low probability of safe adoption. Or he may be euthanized after a quarantine period. The worst part of the story is that these bites could often have easily been prevented just by understanding the types of actions that drive a dog to feel bullied or pestered so much that he feels he has to bite.
"More often than not, cases where the dog bites a young child are tragic— often more so for the dog"
Understanding What the Actions that Might Cause the Family Dog to Bite are Common Sense
In fact, understanding what can drive a dog to bite the family kids is pretty simple. They are the same things that drive humans to need a break from their kids.
For instance, most people dislike it when others stick their grimy hands in their meal. Similarly, dogs want to eat in peace.
We teach children that it’s clearly wrong to steal toys from each other. It’s also rude to steal toys from the dog. Kids should be taught to leave Fido’s toys alone. To build in a tolerance in case the child makes a mistake when your attention has lapsed, dogs should be trained to give up their toy for a reward or even a sequence of rewards. That way, they will willingly give the child the toy instead of feeling possessive. (See Perfect Pup in 7 Days, chapters 1 and 6 .)
Reason 3: Kids frequently can’t help but get in your face. They often have to be trained to maintain the appropriate social distance. Similarly, putting your face into a dog’s face, even if it’s all in the family, can be irritating to the dog, especially when the dog has no control over the child’s behavior.
Reason 4: Most people dislike being disturbed when they are resting or sleeping. But fortunately for us humans, we can often close or lock our bedroom door. Similarly, dogs need a safe location where they can be away from kids and excitement. Kids should avoid bugging them in their “private” location or any time they are sleeping or resting. If they call the dog from far away and the dog chooses to get up and come over to the child, this type of interaction is okay. But if the dog chooses to be left alone, he should be.
Kids dislike being handled roughly, and so do dogs. Dogs can be trained to tolerate or sometimes even enjoy this handling, so that they are not reactive when an accident occurs (SeePerfect Puppy in 7 Days, chapters 1 and 6), but in general children should be taught to be polite.
It’s rude to climb on, step on, or otherwise invade someone’s personal space. It’s also rude to do the same things with dogs.
Loud screaming can frazzle humans, imagine its effect on the more sound-sensitive dog!
We often forget that even some friendly gestures, such as pinching a child’s cheeks, may be irritating. In general, dogs dislike being hugged, even by family members. You can tell by the expression on their face. (See the Body Language of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs poster and chapter 7 in Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.) You can train dogs, especially as puppies, to enjoy cuddling and hugging (See Perfect Puppy In 7 Days chapters 1 and 6) and other close handling. But even so, it’s important for children to know the types of interactions their pet likes and also to realize that other dogs may not have the same tolerance as their dog does.
Between carting kids around to soccer practice and piano lessons, to managing work, PTA meetings, and running the household, moms can seem like superheroes. We've come up with the top 10 essentials that every mom-on-the-go should have on hand to make that transformation into Supermom just a little easier.
From wiping little noses to a quick solution for mopping up spilled juice, tissues can be a life saver when you're in a tight spot. Throw a pack in your purse to ensure you're never caught off-guard.
Baby wipes aren't just for baby's bottom--they're also perfect for quick clean-ups in the car, wiping off germy shopping cart handles, or for freshening up during a long day. Their many uses make them an essential item to always have on hand.
Hand SanitizerWhen soap and water isn't an option, hand sanitizer is the perfect substitute for cleaning little hands in a pinch. A quick drop can kill most germs, and works great for eating on the go or cleaning up after the playground.
Keeping track of your child's busy schedule, not to mention your own, can be a job in itself. A daily calendar where you can jot appointments, practices, and important memos will help keep you sane and organized. Purchase a pocket-sized one to fit in your purse so your schedule is always at your fingertips.
Running errands all day with your kids in tow can be taxing on everyone. Download a few age-appropriate smartphone apps to keep your little ones entertained in the car, at the grocery store, or in waiting rooms.
Portable Snacks and Juice Boxes
If your child turns into a monster when he is hungry, you know the importance of having some snacks always at the ready. Portable foods like fruit and granola bars, juice boxes, and extra sippy cups are just right for when you're on the run and your child is ravenous.
A picture-perfect moment can crop up at any time, and having a digital camera in your purse will ensure you never miss the opportunity to snap a picture. You'll never regret having too many pictures of your children and the memories that come with them.
Boo-boos and bang-ups are bound to happen, but they're usually nothing a little bandage and a kiss can't fix. Keep a couple packages of different sized bandages in your purse so you can fix-up any scrapes your child manages to get during his day.
Stain Remover Wipes
No matter how careful you try to be, kids always manage to stain their clothes. Keep some stain remover wipes on hand to quickly remove any spills, messes, or marks from your child's clothing.
A Cute Bag for Mom
Just because you have to lug around a bag of mom essentials doesn't mean you can't look good while doing it. Toting a fashionable bag you love will help you feel chic and put together, even when life can feel a little hectic.
"We've come up with the top 10 essentials that every mom-on-the-go should have on hand to make that transformation into Supermom just a little easier"
MIRANDA Kerr gives her laughing son Flynn Christopher — who was sporting some “bear”-y silly pants – a ride on her hip last week in New York City.
| |MIRANDA Kerr gives her laughing son Flynn Christopher — who was sporting some “bear”-y silly pants – a ride on her hip last week in New York City.
“[My perfect day is] to wake up to the sound of my son saying, ‘Mama, mama!’ It’s the best sound ever,” the model, 29, recently told Harper’s Bazaar UK.
“Then I just love to get him out of bed and he can jump into bed with us
, and we have cuddle time!”
The 18-month-old is the first child for Kerr and extremely handsome hubby actor Orlando Bloom.
“My perfect day is to wake up to the sound of my son saying, ‘Mama, mama!’ It’s the best sound ever”
| || |
By Elise Ellerman
THERE is much discussion about creativity and how “creativity is the currency of the future”.
We live in a world where innovation, which requires creative thinking, is increasingly valued.
The ability to generate original ideas; develop new possibilities; solve problems; learn from mistakes and use failures to reinvent processes; put your own “stamp” on a product, or service, to differentiate it from others are all at the heart of what it means to be a creative thinker and traits that are highly sought after. Children are the masters of thinking in creative ways, they are pioneers when it comes to inventing and creating. They are not bound by preconceived ideas, taking a risk is all part of the fun and a failure is not necessarily viewed as a setback, in fact, it is often embraced and opens doors to new ways of achieving a goal. Nurturing children’s creativity is essential and strengthening the ability to think in creative ways will result in gaining many beneficial skills that can be used throughout life.
Nurturing children’s creativity is something that parents, carers and educators can do on a daily basis. One way to nurture children’s creativity is to provide creative prompts to encourage children to think in new ways. For example, shadows can be an excellent source of inspiration for young children when it comes to drawing. At night time, my children enjoy making shadows on the walls. I have been taking photos of their silhouettes as they perform various actions, for example looking up, down, with arms stretched out. I have printed these photos and glued one photo per page onto paper (if the silhouette image is looking up, be sure to glue the photo at the bottom of the page so children have space to draw at the top). Give children a sentence starter, such as the girl/boy looked up and couldn’t believe she/he was looking at………..(children then draw what they imagine could be above their heads). Another way to use shadows for drawing purposes involves drawing outside with chalk. Someone strikes a pose and others use chalk to draw something onto the shadow figure. Hands outstretched could be filled with chalk drawings of flowers, ice creams, all sorts of clothing can be drawn onto the figure as well as outlandish hats.
Creating with recycled materials lends itself to creative thinking as “working” with recyclables requires users to think of alternative ways to use the items and explore new possibilities which can often involve problem solving, lateral thinking and discovering through trial and error. The possibilities for creating with bottle top lids seem to be endless, for example, secure a piece of contact to a window (sticky side facing out) and use bottle top lids (as well as other craft supplies such as coloured paper, pens etc) to create a picture. Another idea is to set a creative challenge, for example plan a party for some favourite toys using recycled materials to create the decorations and cake. Old newspapers and magazines can be turned into party hats, scraps of paper could be used to make bunting and a box could be transformed into a cake (cover a box in white paper and for a mess free option secure some contact, sticky side facing out, to the box and encourage children to decorate the box with craft supplies (ribbon, pom poms, feathers or natural resources like flowers). Alternatively, children could use play dough to transform a box into a birthday cake.
used to make bunting and a box could be transformed into a cake (cover a box in white paper and for a mess free option secure some contact, sticky side facing out, to the box and encourage children to decorate the box with craft supplies (ribbon, pom poms, feathers or natural resources like flowers). Alternatively, children could use play dough to transform a box into a birthday cake.
Investing in children’s creativity is vital given the dialogue about creativity and how it is considered to be the currency of the future. This investment involves providing children with a diverse range of experiences that inspire them to problem solve, brainstorm, “think outside the box”, tinker, explore, discover, take risks and learn from mistakes. Children who have developed creative thinking skills at a young age will have a wealth of experiences to draw upon and valuable transferable skills that they can employ throughout their life.
"Nurturing children’s creativity is something that parents, carers and educators can do on a daily basis"
Elise Ellerman is the founder and owner of Creative Play Central
and provides several different services to assist parents and educators to provide innovative play ideas and highly creative experiences for young children. The newest service that Creative Play Central is offering (as of August 6) is Imagination Creations which are classes for children aged 3 -10. In these unique classes that have been carefully designed to encourage creative thinking, children use creative prompts to inspire them to think and create in new and original ways. For more details about Creative Play Central’s services as well as details regarding days, times and location for classes please visit the website: www.creativeplaycentral.com.au
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