An Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

The Creative Table Project | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Today we’re sharing another quick activity for hands-on making that encourages independent thinking without a lot of fuss. If you’re new to the Creative Table Project, read this post for more information on how it works.

We’ll use today’s materials of tape and paper for this simple invitation to create. 

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Before you begin

  1. Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation.
  2. Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas.

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Creative Table with Tape and Paper

Ages 2 and up

Supplies

  1. Colorful tape
  2. Piece/s of paper
  3. Object to attach pre-cut tape to
  4. Scissors (optional)
  5. Crayons or markers (optional)

Creative Invitation: Pre-cut tape and attach it to a block, other sturdy object, or the edge of your table. Invite your child to attach the tape to the paper. Encourage experimentation. Have more sheets of paper and tape ready for experiments.

Work side-by-side: Set up a station for yourself and experiment with the materials. Your child will notice how you use the materials, which could serve as creative inspiration.

Questions to ask: 

  • What would happen if I piled pieces of tape on top of each other?
  • I wonder what it would look like if I attach the pieces of tape together end-to-end?
  • Can you tell me about how you made this?

Variations: 

  • Have extra rolls of tape available for additional color and pattern combinations. See this post for inspiration.
  • Add office stickers or other favorite stickers to the table for additional textures.
  • Add a small bowl of pre-cut paper and invite your child to attach them to the larger paper with the tape. See this post for inspiration.
  • Offer older children a pair of scissors with the invitation to cut their own tape.
  • Offer a container or markers or crayons and invite your child to add marks to the paper.

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

More Creative Table Inspiration

If you’re on Instagram, search the hashtag #creativetable and you’ll find over 3000 ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. If you’d like to share your own creative invitations, we invite you to add #creativetable to your pictures too.

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

Creative Table: Glue and Sand

Creative Table | An Art Invitation with Glue + Sand

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | TinkerLab

Let’s talk kids and creativity! Are you interested in raising a creative learner who can think outside the box?  Could you use some quick and easy ideas for hands-on making that also encourage creativity and independent thinking?

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | TinkerLab

As a parents or educators, most of us care about raising children who can think for themselves. Will it benefit our kids if they can only master following directions? Probably not.

Pablo Picasso is often quoted for saying, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Isn’t that true? Children are naturally creative and it’s our job to nurture their novel ways of thinking by encouraging them to harness this powerful energy to think for themselves.

Almost two years ago, we started a series of posts on TinkerLab that introduce children to a limited number of inspiring materials as an invitation to create. We call this series Creative Table.

What is an Invitation to Create?

An invitation to create is a carefully designed prompt or provocation to make something. One person sets up an inviting selection of materials, and another person makes something from the materials. There’s no right or wrong way about it. While we may have an idea about how the other person will use the materials, it’s ultimately up to them to determine the outcome.

You can think of this as a sort of game with just a few rules. Adults can step in to offer suggestions or ideas, but the child should mostly be encouraged to find her own way.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation.
  2. Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas.
  3. Limit the choice of materials to just a few items.
  4. Provide clues about how to use the materials, but keep the project open-ended so that original ideas can flourish.

Here is an easy art invitation to get you started. Stay tuned for more in the days to come!

Creative Table with Glue and Sand

Ages 2 and up

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | From the Creative Table Series  |  TinkerLab

Supplies

  1. Bowl of sand, dirt, or glitter
  2. Glue Bottle
  3. Paper
  4. Small spoon

Creative Invitation: Set up a bowl of sand and a glue bottle next to a piece of paper. Invite your child to squeeze the glue onto the paper, and then pour sand onto the glue. Pour the sand back into the bowl when you’re done coating the glue. Encourage experimentation. Have more sheets of paper ready for experiments.

Questions to ask: What happens when we pour sand on top of the glue? What shapes can you draw with the glue? What other material could we sprinkle on the glue?

Variations: Younger children may have trouble squeezing the glue bottle. If that’s the case with your child, offer a small bowl of glue and a paintbrush as an alternative to the glue bottle. Baby food containers are perfect for this job. See this post for visual inspiration.

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking |  From the Creative Table Series | TinkerLabAn easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | From the Creative Table Series |  TinkerLab

More Creative Table Ideas

If you’re on Instagram, search the hashtag #creativetable and you’ll find over 3000 ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. If you’d like to share your own creative invitations, we invite you to add #creativetable to your pictures too.

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

Face Painting Station from Mama Papa Bubba

Contact Paper, Tissue, and Sequins from Mama Papa Bubba

Sewing Station from Mama Papa Bubba

 

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table with Leaves and Glue

This post is sponsored by New York Life. One way to pass along good is through Life Lessons: Simple but important truths that guide our everyday actions.


In an effort to help you minimize holiday stress, through the end of the year, we’ll share some of our favorite, simple Creative Table invitations. Today’s set-up was inspired by a parent-led project at my daughter’s preschool.

Two of the things that I adore about today’s creative table are that it’s low-cost and seasonal for Autumn, when fallen leaves are abundant.

The Benefits of “Leaves and Glue”

This activity will help children…

  • develop fine-motor skills
  • learn to work independently
  • build creative confidence through experimentation
  • Encourage creative thinking
  • build an eye for aesthetics by developing a composition
  • develop a broader understanding of upcycling materials (i.e. leaves) as art supplies

Creative Table with Leaves and Glue

Creative Table Supplies: Leaves and Glue

  1. Leaves
  2. Chip board or card board
  3. A sturdy paintbrush
  4. Shallow bowl or plate filled with glue

leaves and glue on paper

Step One: Clear Your Table

Remove any distractions that will take your child’s focus away from the creative invitation. Create a set-up that looks something like our photo (above).

Arrange the leaves artfully to make this appeal to your child’s aesthetic sensibility.

Once the table is “set,” ask your child if he or she would like to use/explore/experiment with these supplies.

leaves and glue painting

Challenges and Critical Thinking

One of the exciting challenges in this prompt relates to gluing down bumpy, twisted, and generally non-compliant leaves. If your child is frustrated by the non-flat quality of your leaves, or has difficulty gluing them down, this is an opportunity to tease out solutions. You could say something like, “Hmmm, I see you’re having trouble attaching the leaf to the paper. What could we do to help it stick better?” From that, ideas such as “add more glue” or “turn the leaf over” might emerge.

Variations:

  • Replace leaves with paper cut into leaf shapes, circles, rectangles, etc.
  • Tint the glue with a little bit of food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • Before you set up the invitation, go on a leaf hunt together to collect your materials

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This post is sponsored by New York Life. One way we pass along good is through Life Lessons: Simple but important truths that guide our everyday actions. You can see all the Life Lessons here and even share one of your own. This short video celebrates the spirit of passing down hobbies through generations.

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Doilies and Clear tape set up

Easy set-up Creative Table Invitaiton with Doilies and tape

With the stressful holidays coming upon us, I thought it would be a great time to introduce a few of our favorite easy and simple Creative Table Invitations. If you’re not familiar, Creative Table Invitations are essentially open-ended set-ups or provocations that invite children to explore materials, test ideas, and experiment with techniques…in their own way and on their own schedule.

In addition to the aforementioned outcomes, there are two guiding goals that contribute to the design of these invitations:

  1. They should not take a lot of time to set up
  2. The materials should be readily accessible or easy-to-find

If you’re a busy parent or a caregiver with a full day of meal-prep, cleaning, and activity planning, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of these invitations.

The Benefits of “Doilies and Scissors”

This activity will:

  • Help children develop fine-motor skills
  • Offer an opportunity to work independently and build creative confidence
  • Teach scissor-skills through practice
  • Encourage creative thinking

Creative Table Supplies: Doilies and Scissors

  1. Doilies
  2. Scissors
  3. Tape
  4. Construction Paper

Doilies and Clear tape set up

Step One: Clear Your Table

Remove any distractions that will take your child’s focus away from the creative invitation. In this case, you should just have your supplies on the table.

Set them up in an inviting way and ask your child if he or she would like to use/explore/experiment with these supplies.

Cutting Doilies and Clear tape

Step Two: Sit Back

Once your child has picked up on the offer, sit back and watch…or even make your own version of the project. You could also make objective comments such as, “I see that you’re cutting the doily into tiny pieces,” or “I hear you counting as you cut.”

If your child needs help with the scissors, by all means step in and offer assistance, but the overall objective is to foster independence and creative thinking so try to keep your involvement to a minimum.

Creative Table with Doilies and Clear tape

Do you have a heavy-bottom tape dispenser like this? These are great, and enable children to independently remove pieces of tape on their own. For some reason, my three-year old wanted to cut the tape too, and removed it from the dispenser.

Doilies and Clear tape 1

My daughter spent about twenty minutes on this before starting a new one. These were promptly taped to our gallery door, so my big takeaway was that there was a lot of pride in the execution of this activity.

Doilies and Clear tape 2

Variations:

  • Replace doilies with magazine pages, junk mail, construction paper, newspaper, etc.
  • Replace clear tape with washi tape or painter’s tape.
  • Tape a large piece of butcher paper to a wall and invite your child to tape their pieces to this vertical surface.

More Creative Table Ideas

Check back soon for more Creative Table ideas. If you liked today’s post, you might also enjoy:

A Sticker Composition with Frames

Paint Pens and Craft Sticks

Creative Table on Instagram

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Be sure to subscribe to our useful and fun newsletter if you’d like the inside scoop on more ideas like this, giveaways, exclusive contests, and more.

Creative Table Inspiration from Instagram

Creative Table | Tinkerlab

How was your weekend? We had some great quality time with family and melted in the sun at the UCLA v. Stanford football gameCreative Table | Tinkerlab

Now that the weekend is over, I thought it would be fun to begin our week with some Creative Table inspiration. If you’re new to this series, this is a great place to start.

If you head over to Instagram and search the hashtag #creativetable, you’ll find all sorts of inspiring creative invitations and projects brewing. It’s sort of like Pinterest, but with real people, making real things. If you’re looking for some hands-on ideas, spend some time lurking through the Creative Table images and you’ll be hooked. If you’re not on Instagram, you can click here to see the most recent photos tagged with #creativetable.

Today we’re sharing four of our favorite Creative Tables from this week.

First up, The Chocolate Muffin Tree shares this Halloween prompt is for high school students, but children of all ages would have fun with this (and adults too!). All you need are some mini pumpkins, acrylic paint, glue, and treasures.

Inviation to decorate pumpkins Chocolate Muffin Tree :: #creativetable on Instagram

 

Debs from Learn with Play at Home is a former school teacher, now mom to two kids. She shares a simple creative invitation to draw with chalk on wet black paper.

Creative Table Invitation from Learn with Play at Home

 

Katey from Playing and Learning Begins at Home shares this fun (and potentially messy — notice the outdoor setting) provocation to paint with balloons.

 

Painting on Balloons because we can #creativetable via Playing and Learning Begins at Home

 

Meri Cherry of the blog, MeriChery, is a mom and an art teacher, and shares these hand-mixed paints — that are both mixed and NAMED by 3 and 4 year olds.

Making paint with 3 and 4 year olds :: CreativeTable

 

How to play

If you’d like to be included in our next Creative Table post, jump in on the action on Instagram and tag your image with both #creativetable and @tinkerlab.

A question for you

We’re just beginning to put together a series of FREE creative table prompts. Is this something that you would be interested in?

This Creative Week: Interactive Sidewalk Art + The Creative Table Project

pleasedraw

Please Draw Prompt with sidewalk chalk

Interactive Sidewalk Art: Send us your Ideas!

In our last post, The Tree Tag Project, we talked about how you can set up an interactive art project that will surprise and inspire your neighbors. Related to that, a few weeks earlier, we set up this very simple prompt with a bowl of sidewalk chalk (above). Within hours our sidewalk was covered with flowers, faces, names, messages to friends, a hopscotch, and quite a few drawings by adults (that was the big surprise).

If you were inspired by this post, we would love to hear about any interactive projects you’ve set up and how it went for you. If you’re game, please send us your high resolution photos and we’ll feature your project right here on Tinkerlab. You can write to us at Rachelle at Tinkerlab.com.

 A question from a friend

One of our friends, Jill, has a question for everyone about The Tree Tag Project: How to Surprise Your Neighbors.

This is such an inspiring idea! Do you (or your readers) have any ideas about how to make it work in an urban setting….where art supplies are more likely to “walk” if left unattended?

Here’s how I responded to her question. What more would you add?

I wouldn’t be afraid of materials walking away (at first) — maybe test this out with something inexpensive and see how it goes. Our first interactive project was with sidewalk chalk: We wrote a prompt directly onto the sidewalk and left a bowl of chalk nearby. You could write a little blurb about returning the art materials to where they were found, along with an appeal to help other people enjoy the project. Or how about projects that only use inexpensive and easily replaced materials. I hope this helps!

Creative Table Highlights

We have a fun project brewing over on Instagram called Creative Table. You can read more about it over here or see all the Instagram pictures tagged with #creativetable here when you type creativetable into the search bar. This project is always open if you’d like to participate. Just read the instructions and take a look at some of these inspiring photos to get a sense of what it’s all about.

It’s always fun to share a few highlights from this project, so here are a few from this past week…

Craft Stick People from Molly Moo

Craft Stick Dolls from Michelle McInerney who blogs at Molly Moo.

Creativetable from An Everyday Story

Drawing birds from a book: Kate of An Everyday Story.

Paper Bag Painting from ArtBarBlog

Painting on a paper bag from Bar Rucci or Art Bar . Bar’s blog is a gorgeous, happy place (her words and mine), and one of my new favorite spots to spend some time online.

 A question for you…

Do you have any advice for Jill about setting up an interactive art experience in her urban neighborhood?

The Creative Table Project

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 11.08.34 PM

Endless ideas for crafts, art-making, science experiments, and creative explorations on the creative table project from Tinkerlab, via Instagram.

Highlights from The Creative Table Project

If you’re not familiar with the Creative Table Project, it’s an Instagram treasure trove of real world inspiration for any parent, caregiver, or teacher who’s looking for ideas that boost kids’ creativity or who wants to share snippets of their life experiences as inspiration to others. This week’s post is a great example of how I like to set up creative invitations that encourage creative and independent thinking for preschoolers.

There are currently over 1500 Creative Table tags on Instagram so of course it was hard to choose which ones to share with you. This small collection from the past couple weeks is lovely for the breadth of ideas. Following each image is the name of the the person who shared it and their description of the image. Enjoy!

Note: If I’ve shared a photo of yours against your liking, just shoot me a line and I’ll take it down promptly!

Creative Table Inspiration…

It only seems to fitting to begin a Creative Table roundup with a young maker who’s invented her own drawing table. My heart is melting. From Jackie at My Little Bookcase. For a related twist on this, set up an invitation to draw under the table and see what happens.

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I offer my children something similar to this hand-drawn coloring page set up all the time, and it’s always a hit. While it may seem close-ended, the parameters set forth by the black and white design give children a starting place to come up with unique ideas. From Jen at Mama Papa Bubba

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 11.11.22 PM

Creative Table Project on Tinkerlab

This set-up is so inviting. I want to dive right in to drink homemade lemonade and make paintings with the leftover tissue paper alongside Stephanie from Spanglish Spoon. For ideas on how to set up a tissue paper collage activity with a toddler, you might also enjoy this simple set up.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 11.10.37 PM

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If you’ve ever spent a lot of time and thought setting up an activity, only to have a child take it in a totally different direction…this one from Cassidy at Freshly Planted is for you. Know that you’re not alone, and that moments like this are signs of your child’s ability to think for him or herself.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 11.08.34 PM

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We got a sneak peak at the next Kiwi Crate, and the paper making project was an instant favorite.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 11.06.47 PM

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I have received countless comments from parents with younger children who get into art materials, pull everything off tables, and generally make it difficult for older siblings to put on their maker-cap. This image from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife is here to remind you that it’s a phase that will quickly pass. And that you might actually miss these early days.

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If you ever thought about introducing your child to the work of well-known artists, setting up a sensory table to help them dive into the physical world of the artist is brilliant for little hands.

More ideas on exploring modern art with kids over here.

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This lovely open-ended invitation to make Mother’s Day gifts is full of so many possibilities. Don’t you want to jump right in? We once made soap for mother’s day and it was a huge success.

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Since today is officially Earth Day, I thought we could end with an easy and workable nature-based mosaic from our friends at the Children’s Creativity Museum.

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Creative Table Project on Instagram

See all Creative Table posts here.

If you’d like to play along, read these guidelines and then tag your Instagram photos with #creativetable. And here’s a look at our last roundup for another view of what’s possible.

Are you on Instagram? Instagram is one of my very favorite tools and you can find me at @tinkerlab. I hope to see you over there!

A question for you…

What’s on your creative table this week?

 

Creative Table: A Sticker Composition with Frames

Sticker composition 4

Sticker composition

Setting up Creative Invitations like this is one of my very favorite ways to encourage children to explore new ideas and develop a visual language. Here’s the basic premise:

  • Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation
  • Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas
  • Limit the choice of materials to just a few items
  • Provide clues about how to use the materials, but keep the project open-ended so that original ideas can flourish.

Sticker composition 4

Sticker Composition with Frames

Before I went to bed, I set up two sheets of paper that were simply marked with a hand-drawn frame. Next to to the frames were a few sheets of rectangular color coding labels. You can find these at Amazon or any office supply aisle. Alternatively, you could set this with circle stickers, some other favorite sticker, pieces of colorful tape, or squares of construction paper and a bottle of glue.

I also placed a stack of plain paper and rolls of colorful tape in the middle of the table, just in case my kids wanted to use other materials. They didn’t.

Sticker composition with Frames, on Tinkerlab.com

Here’s how my two-year old used the materials.

Sticker composition 2

And here’s how my four-year old put her composition together. The beauty of creative invitations is that children will meet them where they’re most capable.

If you’d like more ideas like this one, you might enjoy reading about the Creative Table project, checking out these highlights from the Creative Table Project, or browsing the hundreds of brilliant set-ups on Instagram by searching #creativetable,

graphic for sticker composition

A Question for you…

How old is your child, or how old are the children in your class, and what creative project have you been working on?

Note: There are affiliate links in this post, but I only share links to products I love or that I think you’ll find useful. 

Evolution of the Art Table

Drawing on the Art Table

Over the course of a week, our art table gets worked pretty hard.

My kids begin almost every morning with some kind of making that may involve markers, colored pencils, tape, glue, or paint. And then there’s the occasional snack or meal that go along with art-making when my girls are too busy to stop the magic for food.

I thought it might be fun to take a look at how the table evolves throughout the week.

Here we go…

Evolution of the Art Table: See how a child's craft table changes over the course of a week.

I’m attracted to the fresh start of clean, brown craft paper. Even though the surface of our art table is covered with paint stains, I find that the paper covering gives my children (and me) more freedom to drip paint, and along with that comes peace of mind.

I’m often asked about our craft paper — I pick it up at our oversized hardware store for about $14/roll. If you’d like to order some online, this craft paper on Amazon looks like it’s the same product.

Ah, isn’t that clean table-top lovely?!

A few days later, the table is covered with dry paint drips, watercolor splits, and pencil marks. My kids sometimes take this as an opportunity to use the craft paper itself as inspiration for new pieces of art.

Evolution of the Art Table: See how a child's craft table changes over the course of a week.

At some point we deem that the soaked/torn/dirty craft paper has served us well and we roll it up to recycle. We then spend a day or two with dry media like markers, stickers, and crayons.

And breakfast. That’s important too.

Evolution of the Art Table: See how a child's craft table changes over the course of a week.

Finally, we’re ready to get back to painting and otherwise mucky art, so I recover the table and make it an inviting scene once again.

Evolution of the Art Table: See how a child's craft table changes over the course of a week.
Evolution of a Child's Art Table: How the art table changes over the course of a week.

A question for you…

How does your art table transform across a week? And do you cover your art table with paper?

 

If you liked this post, you might enjoy checking out the Creative Table Series and How to Organize a Self-Serve Art Space.

 

*this post contains affiliate links

Highlights from the Creative Table Project

creative table instragram image big

It’s been a super busy and creative month over in the Instagram Creative Table Challenge.

creative table instragram image big

A few weeks ago I shared that we had 750 inspiring creative table entries on Instagram. Today there are over 1100 creative table invitations, set-ups, ideas, and playful explorations to browse and get ideas from!

Amazing, right?!

Just as I did last month, I thought it would be fun to spotlight a few highlights that represent the range of creative experiences that are happening all over the world.

If you’d like to see all of the Creative Table ideas that are popping up, you can  search #creativetable on Instagram or type “creativetable” into the search bar on Followgram.

 

share your creativetable on instagram

Join the Challenge

If you’re on Instagram and would like to play, we would LOVE to have you. Please read these guidelines first, and then be sure to add the hashtag #creativetable to your image. And who knows…maybe I’ll spotlight your image in my next Creative Table Post!

A note about the images: Beneath each photo is the name and Instagram handle of the person the image belongs to, and any descriptive text that they added to their photo. I hope that these images inspire you as much as they inspire me!

Jen Kossowan MamaPapaBubba

Jen Kossowan @mamapapabubba

Sharpies and blown up balloons… Perhaps the simplest creative table ever. #creativetable #invitationtocreate

Light Table with Natural Objects

#playinvitation #creativetable nature treasures on the light table #yesIvebeenplaying #creixercreant

Discovery table with magnifying glasses

Something for after quiet time :) #creativetable

Make your own Easter Egg Craft

Happy Tuesday everyone. The pretty colours in our Easter garland are making me smile. What’s making you smile today? #playmatters #creativetable

Scratch Art inspired by Miro Drawing in an art book

These kid art books are a wealth of inspiration. #creativetable #philadelphiamuseumofart

Paint pinecones with glittery paint

Painting our nature finds together. #connectwithplay #pinecones #creativetable

Make your own solar system memory game

the boys illustrated their own solar system themed memory game #creativetable

Painting Leaves Outdoors with Kids

painting leaves, teaching them observation. #creativetable #vscocam

Making your own wrapping Paper with stamps

Getting wrapping paper ready for a birthday party tomorrow! #creativetable #blog

MORE ABOUT THE CREATIVE TABLE PROJECT

Highlights from last month’s Creative Table: Creative Table Project on Instagram

Follow me on Instagram

Creative Table Project: Keep your table clear and your mind open

Creative table project on Tinkerlab

The other day I shared the Creative Table Project that’s happening over on Instagram. And do you know what? I’m floored because after that post went up, over 100 new Creative Tables were added to the visual database of ideas and inspiration. It got me thinking that maybe I should make the Creative Table Project a more regular feature of this site. What do you think?

In that vein, a couple days ago my 2-year old set up a really simple creative table.

Let’s take a peak…

Keep your table clear and your mind open: The Creative Table Project from Tinkerlab

It was time to re-paper the kids’ table so I walked into my supply closet to grab a roll of paper (we use brown craft paper from the hardware store, similar to this, in case you’re wondering). When I opened the door, my 2-year old, who happens to be glued to my side, spotted a container of paint pens on a high shelf and put in a request for them. The pens happened to be next to a big jar of craft sticks and she asked for those too.

I had a few other ideas in mind, but I happily obliged because I know that if she’s motivated to make something, her self-direction will carry the project to somewhere important.

How often do you let your child take the lead when he or she creates things?

Keep your table clear and your mind open: The Creative Table Project

While I rolled out the paper and taped it down to the table, she got right to work by adding color to the sticks. She invested her energy into covering the entire side of one stick with purple paint and another with green polka dots.

Why is this all so important? In moments like these, children have choices, they exercise their independence, and they have seemingly endless time to tinker and experiment.

If you want to encourage creative thinking in a child, it’s important to make room for open-ended exploration and self-directed learning.

There are plenty of moments in our days when we formally teach our children, scaffold their learning with information, or introduce them to new ideas that can help them grow. I bet you can think of at least one example.

But it’s equally important to encourage learning by making room for a child’s own ideas, inquiry, and moments of innovation to flourish.

So there it is. Not the most complicated post. In fact, the beauty in it lies in its simplicity.

This seems to go hand-in-hand with our Art Tips series, so here’s a quick takeaway for you:

Creative Table Tip #1

Keep your table clear and your mind open.

Inspiring articles on Creativity

Creativity in Young Children, by Sara Gable. If you have little kids, you’ll love this article.

Is Creativity the Number 1 Skill for the 21st Century?

The Decline of Creativity in the United States

The Creativity Crisis, a must-read article by journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

More about the Creative Table Project

Creative Table Project on Instagram

Follow me on Instagram

 

Creative Table on Instagram

creative table on instragram

Do you know about the Creative Table Project on Instagram?

creative table on instragram

If you would like to see more creativity in your child’s life and if you’re interested in joining an inspiring community of creative parents who swap ideas, Creative Table can help!

Last summer I invited my readers to share images of the creative things that are happening on their tables (or patios, backyards, sidewalks, etc.) as eye candy that we can all get inspired by, and then tag the image on Instagram with the hashtag #creativetable.

The project began small, but it’s since grown into a thriving visual database of 750+ creative tables that continues to grow each day! The range of ideas is great, which makes this especially fun and full of surprises: There are projects for babies and kids, science experiments, open-ended art making, seasonal crafts, sensory experiences, and cooking activities…just to name a few.

What makes this so awesome?

Not only is this a rewarding way to document the creative happenings in your home, but having the project in the back of your mind can also help you look for opportunities to build more creativity into your daily rhythm. Plus, the scale of the project now makes it a cool tool for gathering inspiration. I know of one reader who checks in every morning to scroll through images tagged with #creativetable as a way of finding ideas that she can use that day.

You can join!

If this is new to you, or in case you’re not on Instagram, here are some recent highlights from the Creative Table project. If you’re on Instagram and would like to play, we would LOVE to have you. Please read these guidelines first, and then be sure to add the hashtag #creativetable to your image.

A note about the images: Beneath each photo is the name and Instagram handle of the person the image belongs to, and any descriptive text that they added to their photo. I hope that these images inspire you as much as they inspire me!

Creative Table Inspiration from Tinkerlab.com

angaleta @angaleta

#kidsinitiative #busykids #creativetable more #concoctions and #magicpotion

Creative table drawing inspiration from a book

Maya Bisineer @thinkmaya

Scroll art. With the whole family. We are creating an “imaginary garden” inspired by a book by the same name #readeveryday #memetales365

Note: Planting a Rainbow is the book in the image.

Creative Table Project: Paint on paper plates

Ali Wright @athomewithali

You can’t beat a paper plate for craft…….

Painting with string from the Creative Table Project

brittanyclaireandco @brittanyclaireandco

:: string painting fun ::

Playing with Cloud Dough from the Creative Table Project on Tinkerlab

Luiza Holub @luizaholub

Cloud dough! Kept my 17 month old busy(and quiet)for at least an hour! Super sensory great fun #creativetable

Here’s the cloud dough recipe that inspired this activity.

Making homemade Valentines on the Creative Table Project on Tinkerlab

Jen Kossowan @mamapapabubba

Crafty girl.

Cardboard creative table from the Tinkerlab Creative Table Project

Emilie Brehm @emiliebrehm

cardboard + aluminum foil + duct tape = parts for an under-table submarine

Paint your own pottery shop from the Tinkerlab Creative Table Project

Rachelle Doorley @tinkerlab

Paint your own pottery shop. Who knew that my kids would love this so much? #creativetable

Stamping on a cardboard box from the Tinkerlab Creative Table Project

Shana Draugelis @shanachristine

The best thing about Amazon’s subscribe and save program are the huge boxes everything gets delivered in. Instant #creativetable (we added dot markers for now, but this may turn into a week-long project….)

Creative Table Project on InstagramSo, what do you think? Will you join us?

If you’re a participant, you’re welcome to grab this button and add it to your posts or sidebar.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links to products that I adore or that I think you’ll find useful.