When you are guiding a maker through a project, keep the following five tips in mind!
(1) Give specific praise.
Although young makers sometimes can barely reach their caretaker’s hip, they are perceptive. They can read past a “good job” or “great work”; they know that while you may be looking at their creation, you aren’t really seeing it. When they are making their monthly crates or doodling on a Saturday morning, make sure to give them specific praise. Go beyond the good job or great work and find specific pieces you find unique or interesting!
A few examples:
- I love how you made the connection between kiwi the animal and the fruit in your joke.
- What a creative way to draw the cherry on top. It’s a kiwi cherry!
- Steve will be so happy you drew the cone so big. He will have kiwi ice cream for weeks!
Drawing is by Kiwi Crate maker Avery.
(2) Ask why.
Take ownership of the classic toddler question and ask your little maker why! Develop your little maker’s creativity by asking them to explain a specific choice in a project or drawing. You may also find yourself with a surprising answer that can help you more deeply appreciate and understand their creative thinking, or make you giggle.
- I love the way you colored in the dock. Why did you choose green and pink?
- You have a great orange smiley face in the drawing. Why did you add it in?
- The sun is wonderfully bright and colorful. Why did you add those turquoise squares around the sun?
Drawing is by Kiwi Crate maker Kai.
(3) Color outside the lines.
As little makers experiment with their own creative abilities, it is important to knock your abilities down a few notches. When helping or leading your makers through their projects, you shouldn’t strive for perfection. Instead, strive for work that is closer to their level, like the example below. It can really discourage young makers’ creativity to find themselves comparing their work with yours, so keep it messy and color outside the lines. It’s actually quite fun as well!
(4) Encourage them to problem solve.
In these moments of creation, your little makers get the opportunity to explore their own creativity and voice. It may take them to a few dead ends or wrong turns, but it is incredible when they find a way through it themselves. It is very tempting to jump in and act as a creative GPS, but there is a lot of value in makers learning resilience and problem solving. Choose your moments of guidance wisely, and encourage them to find new solutions or practice strategic quitting!
(5) Make peace with the mess.
Exploration, experimentation and play are worth their weight in gold. That hands-on time with your little makers is precious and must be treated with care. Unfortunately, being a maker usually also means making a mess. It is crucial to gather yourself before and during making, so that little makers don’t become more concerned with your reaction to mess than the act of exploring.
Hope you are excited to go try some of these tips and make something new today! Check out our library of DIYs for more ideas. Get DIYs delivered to your inbox weekly by signing up for our newsletters. Ready, set, make!