Thursday, March 22, 2012

Unschooling Tools : For Creativity

Now there's a topic.
'For Creativity' seems a lot like writing a list 'for imagination', doesn't it?  Easier to say what isn't, rather than what is.

Though certainly our home is filled with materials, I find the very best tool to be the act of creating itself.
It seems to me that it's an energy... and comes even more easily the more you practice it.

When you pause and step outside of ordinary way of doing things, it begins.

"Creativity: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations,etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination."         (
Unschooling's very life force is creativity.
As soon as you stop accepting that things should be done 'because it has always been', you start to grow.
You start practicing creativity by coming up with alternatives.  More elevating options.
You begin by opening your mind and heart, and then forever thereafter ask "what are the choices?"

You ask, you seek, you ponder, you get inspired, you play.

And there it goes!

But 'open your heart, and go!' isn't very specific, is it?  :)  Not for this list's purpose, anyway.

We have library books.  And Pinterest.  And websites dedicated to crafts.

But true creativity is more than copying something... it's seeing, hearing, tasting, or feeling something and getting a brilliant idea.  It's that spark of magic that flashes in your head, and makes you grin.
It's saying, "Hey, maybe this?" to your children, and then smiling with pleasure when they come up with something entirely different.  Creative.  Imaginative.

But everything comes from something, so in our home we keep tools around.
  • paper : all sorts.  origami, watercolor, poster, construction, handmade, cardboard, cardstock, scrap, graph, tracing, sun/photo
  • glue : glue sticks, school glue, glue dots, wood glue, tacky glue, decopauge, mod podge, tile, fabric
  • cutters: scissors, decorative scissors, wire cutters, small gardening tools, pocket knife, hole punch
  • chalk pastels
  • oil pastels
  • crayons
  • markers : washable, permanent, paint markers, metallic
  • water color pencils
  • colored pencils
  • sidewalk chalk
  • small chalk
  • clear contact paper
  • paint tools : paintbrushes, spounges, mops, combs for scraping and patterns, stamps
  • pancake watercolors
  • liquid watercolors
  • acrylic paints
  • tempera paints
  • flexible paints (biocolor - good for glass)
  • colored sand
  • natural clay
  • light modeling clay
  • non-hardening clay
  • play dough
  • polymer clay
  • wax sticks (wikki sticks)
  • small ceramic tiles
  • popsicle sticks
  • small wooden shapes
  • buttons
  • ribbon
  • rubber stamps
  • ink pads
  • cross stitch fabric
  • embroidery floss
  • wood scraps
  • sand paper
  • wood fasteners: nails, screws, hooks, pulleys, eyes, bolts, hinges
  • charcoal pencils
  • picture frames: with and without glass
  • yarn
  • string and rope
  • glitter
  • tape
  • sequins and spangles
  • wire: different gauges
  • beads
  • glow in the dark stars
  • ceramic figurines
  • stickers
  • small magnets (for gluing to other bits)
  • pompoms
  • pipe cleaners
  • feathers
  • plastic laces
  • embossing templates
  • embossing powder
  • sealing wax and seals
  • cloth scraps
  • small sheets of metal
  • mandala templates
  • spiral templates
  • mosaic tiles: paper and wood
  • canvases
  • looms
  • wool roving
Most of the time, the creative process only begs laying out a few things on a table.  A big one!  :)
And remember that the value lies in the expression and imagination. And in the Joy of the thing.

Next week will be 'Unschooling Tools : For Reading'

This post is part of the Unschooling Tools series.
Other posts are Unschooling Tools : Games
Unschooling Tools : Math Play
Unschooling Tools : Television

Unschooling Tools : For Reading


  1. What a lovely list! I fear we are not very creative around here - you are right, it does take practice! But maybe our creativity shows itself in other ways - not arty, crafty, but thinky ways.

  2. When I saw this topic, I thought, " is she going to do that?" Because creativity is so much more than a list of stuff. But I think you did it very well, as usual. I don't think I'll do my own post this time, but just off the top of my head, felt sheets are a great thing to add to the list. So much easier for kids to work with than regular fabric. They can sew it or use glue. It's very versatile.

  3. Felt sheets! Totally forgot that one. :)

    I know. List sticks? And every kind of musical instrument? And cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes? And paper towel tubes?
    :) Easier to just list art supplies, and maybe over some of them one or two people will go ah! cool! :)

  4. Ingi--ALL creativity. :) It's all absolutely imperative and related, I think.

  5. I have really been enjoying reading this series, and this post is no exception! We LOVE being creative at our house...I prize creative thinking, creative play, and crafty creativity. My philosophy is to have as much fuel for creativity around as possible, and then see what my girls do with it!

  6. :) yep, sticks should definitely be on the list

  7. I just adore your roundups of ideas. I have so enjoyed your posts on math, games, and TV as well. In fact, I have printed some of the lists for reference. I keep the TV list by the TV...We don't have cable either...but Netflix...Yes! :) My kids are watching Liberty's Kids and Magic Schoolbus right now.

  8. We love power tools, and clown make-up (Sydney, who spent last year only wearing frilly party dresses, is in her third day in a row painting her entire body as some sort of animal. Today: jaguar), and mud and flowers and sticks and rocks and water, and shaving cream, and play dough and salt dough, and Bristol board, and yarn...


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!