With Fall finally hitting us here in California, we’re finding and collecting lots of natural objects on our walks around town. In addition to collecting these natural objects to grace our Fall table, we like to put our crafty caps on and make them sparkly…with lots of glitter.
Please don’t hold this against me if you’re in the “I can’t stand glitter” camp. I hope we can still be friends.
But first, a little background on the Creative Table Series
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:
- 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.
Creative Table with Natural Objects and Glitter
Here’s how to get started (and I promise you that this will be easy)…
Step 1: Take a walk and collect natural materials. We found all sorts of surprises, including many magnolia tree seed pods. And do you see those teeny tiny pine cones? Any guess as to which tree they’re from. Here’s your hint.
The Creative Table Set-up
ages 3 and up
If you’re using glitter, as we were, a tray or shallow box is critical for keeping the glitter mostly in one place. As you’ll see in the photos that follow, this is the starting point and then we added and changed this as we went along.
- Tray. I found ours at Michael’s Craft Store, and found a similar one here on Amazon: Winco Fast Food Tray
- Shallow bowl filled with glue, mixed with watercolor or food coloring (optional)
- Paint brush
- Bowl of glitter
- Collection of treasures: sequins, buttons, googley eyes
- Natural materials
The Creative Table Invitation
Once your space is set-up, invite your child (or children) to create. There are no firm rules here, but it often helps if you sit down and make alongside your child (you can see my husband, Scott’s, hands in the next photo). After a bit of tinkering, little R pulled out a few more bottles of glitter and the full bottle glue since she was running low.
In the end, we made one big, happy mess that didn’t travel all over the house. And we also earned ourselves festive objects to decorate our dinner table.
Questions to ask:
- How can you cover this entire leaf/pinecone/seed pod?
- Do you prefer the object in its natural state or covered in glue and glitter? Why?
- What other material could we sprinkle on the glue?
- Where should we put these once they’re dry?
- Cover everything with the same color glitter for a unified look.
- Attach string to the objects and turn these into ornaments.
- Sprinkle colored salt instead of glitter. Recipe here.
More Simple Creative Table Projects
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: Valentine’s Day Cards
Don’t Miss out! Join the TinkerLab Community
If you enjoyed this post, you can get more ideas for raising young inventors and filling your life with creativity by signing up for the weekly TinkerLab newsletter. It’s free and we often send exclusive content and opportunities that are only available to our subscribers.
In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!) – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA
Join our community and you’ll learn:
- How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
- How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
- Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids