Want to do some art and craft work with your toddler but not sure how to go about it?
Roz Streeten, the creator of Rosie Flo drawing and colouring books, offers her top five tips to encourage your child's creativity, through cheap creative games, body language and praise.
1. Sit down and devote your full attention to a joint creative activity. You being there with your child gives them greater pleasure than going it alone. In time they will see it as something that is fun to do by themselves.
2. Dont necessarily work on the same piece as your child. Let them do their own while you work alongside them too. In this way, you both end up with a finished version of whatever you're creating, eg a painted egg. Children love seeing what their parents come up with. If you want an activity to work on together, try something like papier mache which takes a long time to do singlehanded.
3. Genuinely praise your children for their creative efforts and gratefully accept their compliments back about your own creation. Dont say your own picture is rubbish (even if you think it is its a learnt reaction that your child will copy and start to believe). Dont tell them that their colouring/drawing or whatever is good because its neat (neatness is not necessarily good).
4. Children respond well to extending their own existing worlds of play. Shoe boxes and dishwasher tab boxes (because they are strong) are great to use to make little houses or castles for their existing toys like Sylvaneans or Playmobil people. Building a bed usually goes dwon well, for a soft toy or Barbie. A Tamagotchi bed, house or even village is a good project as they dont exist in the shops . This means your child won't look at their own efforts and think they're not as good as ones you can buy. Painting stones as characters is also great fun.
5. The mess factor seems to be the biggest dread for many parents when their children want to be creative. Change your way of thinking about art and craft time being a chance for you to get on with chores, and get stuck in yourself. Modelling clay like Daz needn't be a recipe for mess if you you hand out small blobs at a time and out down a platsic mat or tablecloth first. Good things to make are little flat ginger bread characters or dinosaurs using cookie cutters (or just shapes you can draw a face on) and beads which you can dry and paint. Tiny little 3D modelled animals like cats or dogs lying down curled up are good and a little bed for them to go in, or a bird in a nest with eggs, are all fun for your children to paint once they have dried.
Browse the Rosie Flo collection at www.rosieflo.co.uk