We are living in an increasingly electronic world, and while that’s definitely not all “bad,” it does raise an issue that many of us parents are facing, and that is… raising kids who aren’t just sitting behind a screen and being entertained but who know how to MAKE fun.
So today I want to share with you four tips for raising a “maker”!
1. Create a “maker space” and stock it with “maker” materials.
The first thing we can do to enable our kids to be MAKERS is to create a “maker space” and stock it with “maker” materials. Traditional art supplies are great—construction paper, scissors, glue, drawing and coloring supplies—but in addition to that, you can really get creative and gather things from around the house that can be used to create and build. It’s crazy how fast my family of six can fill the recycling bin—but what’s great is that before some of those items get recycled, with a little creativity, they can be reused to create some fun! Everything from empty toilet paper rolls, to string, to empty cereal boxes. Kids always seem to want to keep these things anyway, right?! So get creative and reuse those materials!
And, keep this “maker space” as a permanent space in your home, just as you would keep traditional toys within reach. This is one of the BEST things we’ve done in our family to encourage creativity. The kids have a table in their very own space, stocked with all their maker supplies, and they can get creative any time the inspiration hits.
2. Provide inspiration and encourage creativity.
Once you’ve equipped your kids with the space to be creative and the materials with which to create, the next tip is to provide them with inspiration and encourage creativity! Find magazines with fun pictures and letters, travel books or children’s books with inspiring places or themes, and choose a picture or place to help kick start the brainstorming process. You can even roll a letter dice to help you decide what to create. Then, start building!
3. Be a maker yourself.
This is about getting the family involved—instead of just encouraging your kids to make, doing it with them and enjoying the time together. The point here is for we parents to power down our own electronics and lead by example. Not all of us have a creative bent, but when you do this together with your kids you can feed off one another’s ideas and imagination to create and build as a family. It’s not only fun, but it also gives you a chance to connect with your kids and make a memory, too!
4. Keep creating!
Set up a monthly or weekly activity that keeps the family creating NEW things! You can draw inspiration from an upcoming event or family trip, and create different things by reusing and recycling materials. But don’t just build and forget—keep building!
A great tool for this that I just learned about are these creative construction kits from YOXO.
YOXO toys are manufactured from eco-friendly materials in the company’s wind-powered Minnesota workshop. YOXO is the winner of a 2014 Eureka Award, the 2014 Minnesota Cup General Division Award, and numerous toy design awards including Top Toy of the Year from Creative Child Magazine.
YOXO’s mission is to keep kids creating, and their various kits inspire open-ended play for ages four on up. The YOXO pieces are made from recycled wood pulp, and much like LEGO, the kits come with directions for building a specific figure or object. But they can also be reused and rebuilt into other things using not only the pieces from the kit, but also adding common things you have laying around your house, like paper towel rolls, empty cereal boxes, string, whatever!
We would love for you to check them out and share your family’s creations with us at #YOXOToys.
Connect with YOXO
Share your family’s creations with us on social #YOXOToys.
Thanks to our friends at YOXO, one lucky mama will win this prize pack including two YOXO kits!
Kits best suited for kids ages 6-106! Contest begins Saturday, April 11 and ends Tuesday, April 14 at 11 p.m. CST.