Nate and I have been having discussions recently about childhood lessons and fostering creativity. When I was a child, I was blessed that my grandparents gave me the gift of monthly lessons or classes in any subject I chose. It was something they did for each of their grandchildren, allowing us to pick a talent we wanted to focus on. I was notoriously fickle, dabbling over the years in subjects ranging from dance to piano, soccer, swim lessons and singing. I even tried volleyball, which was a poor choice on my part. I am quite possibly the least coordinated person on the planet. Having someone chuck a ball in the general direction of my head was a recipe for disaster.
The urge to start fostering creativity young has now turned into something of a frenzy for parents. We're not sure where our kids will shine, so we feel the need to get them immersed in everything all at once. Heaven forbid we have the next trombone aficionado on our hands and we miss out on that college scholarship opp because we didn't enroll them in Little Tots Orchestra as a toddler!
But is this rush to start fostering creativity actually stifling freedom? Our children's days are so scheduled and structured now from school to activities, cultural enrichment, study programs and extracurriculars. And the cost! We're trying so hard to make them an expert in every subject that we're going broke and they're missing out on all the little things that life has to offer.
Fostering Creativity without a Major Commitment
I've made a very conscious decision not to over-schedule my children, but to instead use options such as remote learning, camp experiences and technology to let them dabble a bit. Discover which topics are most engaging to your child before investing in expensive equipment! I also think it's key to involve the whole family in everything the kids do, from video games to app play. Some Boy is showing a strong musical tendency (he sings up a storm in the shower and belts out right along with Glee), so we started playing around together with this new app called Zya.
Zya lets you remix and play along to the latest hits, selecting components such as the musician and tempo and then adding your own vocals and even tapping beats over the top with your fingers on the “iPhone drums.” You can then upload your song to Zya's YouTube channel to share it with your friends to “level up” and get more options for song creation. I made my own track in honor of my trip to the GRAMMYs last week:
Okay, so I'm not going to be gracing any stages anytime soon. But this gal might:
What an adorable way to start fostering creativity and show kids the behind-the-scenes of how music REALLY comes together, right down to custom voice-enhancing microphone options (aww yeah, autotune for the win). I'm really stoked about the possibility to memorialize our own family songs and give the kids a taste of the recording industry…without the costs associated with renting studio time.
How do you expose your kids to different interests? If you've played around with Zya, leave a link to your song in the comments!