Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dianne de Las Casas on Kids & Creativity

Dianne de Las Casas traces her roots in the Philippines. Her mother is a Filipino. In 2004, she visited Manila and did a couple of storytelling gigs for Scholastic. I met her in one of her workshops and I gained a friend at the same time. In 2005, Katrina raveged New Orleans. She and her family had to flee her beloved state. A year after, she's back and rolling!

Last May 2006, we met again. She is my inspiration to do a variety of storytelling techniques and methods. Thanks, Dianne! Mabuhay!

By Dianne de Las Casas

When my daughter, Soleil, was seven years old, she fashioned a guitar out of a Kleenex box (the guitar hull), rubber bands (the strings), and cardboard (the neck). When I asked her where she got the pattern, she said, “From my head.” When Soleil was eight, she taught herself how to hand-sew and made a teddy bear “from her head.” Throughout the years, Soleil has created many things that came from her head. Now, it’s my six-year-old’s turn. Eliana surprises me with poetry, drawings, and her own inventions. I showcase her art in a portfolio we keep in the family room for everyone to view.

Raising creative kids makes a difference in school. How so? Creative kids are more likely to show initiative, accept challenges, and apply inventive solutions to problems. Our world’s greatest inspirations in literature, art, music, science, and math have been creative souls. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” So how do we encourage creativity in our children?

Limit Screen Time
Limit time watching television, playing video games, and vegging out in
front of the computer. Too much screen time not only shortens kids’ attention
spans but also limits their time to process information creatively.

Encourage Reading
Reading is the key to knowledge. Without the ability to decipher the alphabet
code, it is difficult for children to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Allow your kids to read material they really like. Though it sounds cliché, reading really does open up new worlds.

Play Games Together
Not only does playing games encourage togetherness, it also allows family members to think outside the box and work as a team. We love lots of family games including one I invented called Fairytale Frenzy. One of our favorite family favorite games are the Cranium series of games. There is something for everyone. All ages can play, even younger ones (with reading assistance). Cranium games are now available in activity book form, which makes them ideal for road trips, family visits, and slumber parties.

Get Your Hands Dirty
Encourage activities such as painting, drawing, sculpting with clay,
cooking, gardening, and simple construction projects. As a child, my father, a mechanic and inventor, always had a project for my brother and I. We built structures with an Erector set and Tinker Toys. We even made “walkie
talkies” out of small blocks of wood with large nails for the antennae. We built oapbox cars and entered them in derbies. I was often in the kitchen with my mom,
helping her cook a meal or decorate a cake. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was enveloped in “hands-on” creativity.

Promote the Performing Arts
Singing, acting, dancing, and playing an instrument are great ways to allow your children to express themselves creatively. Take a look at in-school and after-school activities offered. Many schools offer choir, band, dance team, and theater.

Look into the Literary Arts
Many children discover themselves when they write. So keep paper, pens,
and computers handy for this purpose. Word games are also a great idea to
stretch the brain. We love Mad Libs, Brain Quest, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble,
Balderdash, and Catch Phrase. We also play a host of word games in the

For more ideas, visit the
Parent Connection of my website

Keep our kids creative; creativity leads to innovation. Our children may inspire the greatest inventions yet!

Posted with permission from the author.

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