Supporting Children’s Creativity: Say YES

Last week we made Mother’s Day flowers using coffee filters. It was great, lots of fun. BUT. The real fun started after the flower making.

The table had little pools of water colour paint all over it, there were splashes of paint all over the kitchen cupboards and the floor. Pebble looked at the table then ran off to get something. She came back holding a sticky tape dispenser.

“Let’s put some tape on it!?”, she said. An invitation. A question.

I nearly said no. Nearly. There was mess everywhere, we’d done what we came here to do, the dishes were calling, the mess was calling. Then I stopped myself. I know deep in my gut that this is where it’s at – a child’s inquisitiveness, curiosity, exploration. THIS is the good stuff. I should know it: I studied it for five years. It’s just that sometimes practicality gets in the way. Too often it gets in the way, if I’m honest. I’m so much better at embracing the moment when I’m in the classroom. It’s my job. And I love it. But at home I’m too often in mum mode. Do-the-washing-cook-the-dinner-clean-the-house mum mode.

“Sure”. I accepted her invitation.

I helped Pebble to get the sticky tape that she wanted and watched her fascination and concentration as she placed it just so. Right over a big pool of water. It trapped some of the water, it squeezed some of the water away. Little bubbles formed under the tape.

Pebble let out a squeal of delight as she pushed her fingers across the tape again and again.



So we did more. And more. And more and more.

Then I had an idea. We needed big sticky tape. I couldn’t lay my hands on any clear contact in the moment, but I did have a sheet protector nearby. I snipped it open with scissors and gave it to Pebble. She placed it over the pools of coloured water.

More squeals!


We used tape to secure the sheet protector and she pushed the water and bubbles and colour around and around. We talked about colours and bubbles and water and used lots of fun words like squishy and squelchy and oozy.

Then the sticky tape started to give away. The sheet protector slid off. Pebble had an even better idea. She grabbed another coffee filter. She placed it on top of the water and watched as it was soaked up into the filter.

She grabbed another one and another one and another one.

She pushed the filters around, squeezed them out, soaked up some more water and squeezed it out again.


Then she pushed the coffee filters aside and started swirling patterns in the remaining paint. Swirling and swirling and swirling.


THIS is where it’s at.

Have you ever heard of Sir Ken Robinson? He is an inspiration. If you’re passionate about embracing children’s individuality and creativity, watch this. Actually – if you’re not passionate about embracing children’s individuality and creativity, then please watch this.

Next time a child invites you to play, to be creative, to open your mind and forget about the damn dishes: SAY YES.

Got something to say?  Go on, you know you want to…

13 Replies to “Supporting Children’s Creativity: Say YES”

    1. We played cubbies today too – a huge one made with the clothes horse, play tent and some blankets. All day fun!
      Hmmm, Basil, Parmesan and Pine Nut Biscotti? *click*

    1. Any time, I need the reminder myself :)

      Oh, hello there Spaghetti Omelette, let me go and check out out….

  1. I don’t do this enough! I need to get over my worry about the mess. Great photos, it looks like she had a fabulous time.
    Nat – Muddy Farmwife recently posted..Sowing LoveMy Profile

    1. It can be hard to push through that mess barrier in our brain, but when you do you’ll be so glad for it, I promise!

  2. Thank you so very much for the outstanding video clip, Kylie! I
    am going to find places where I may hear more of his thoughts.
    So many things to mull over and apply to my teaching . Because I am past the age most people would consider a teacher to be, my view of things is not what it was at 25. I also have seen, through the years, how children have changed resulting from having creative opportunities removed from their environments.
    Thank you for introducing Ted!

  3. Thanks for this Kylie …. yes, I’m reading it long after you originally posted it, however as my little baby is now almost two, she is more and more wanting to have some messy fun. Too often have I tried to avoid it, and for that I really do feel bad. I have the next few days at home with her after today, so I know we are going to make lots of mess, and have lots of fun doing it. The dishes can wait.

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