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Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas to All!

Wishing you and your family the very best Christmas! 

The first Christmas was full of Joy and Awe and Rejoicing as God blessed a family and the world with the unique gift of 

His Son, the Savior. 

May you build special memories as you spend time together remembering and celebrating Christ's birth.  

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Creativity in Children by Trisha Roberts

Who doesn’t want to be creative?  Or at least thought of as creative?  How does creativity develop?  How can we inspire a creative spirit in our children?
First, let’s look at what creativity is NOT.

Creativity is not a license for doing anything you want!  To let a child destroy a toy by playing with it in a “creative” way is not building creativity, it is teaching disrespect for property.

For example, if a child has a musical instrument, they can create and play wonderful melodies and harmonies, experimenting with octaves and chords and interludes.  They should not be bound by only playing music composed by others. But to let that child use their trombone for a golf club or their flute as a baseball bat would be destructive, not creative.

A Trombone "Baseball Bat"--A Thousand Times NO!

Or would anyone consider letting their child use their 8-week old puppy like a chair?  Of course not! Is it pretend play?  Yes, but it would be hurtful, possibly maiming to the puppy.

I have seen children destroy toys and parents excuse their behavior with, “Well, it’s their toy, they can do with it what they want.” Or “I don’t want to stifle their creativity.  Let them play the way they want to play.”  

This is not a way to develop maturity and respect for property.  It is not being creative.  It is giving license to do whatever a child wants without repercussions and is actually “sanctioning” such behavior by labeling it ‘creative’.  Think of the thousands of dollars spent on cleaning up graffiti!  Creative art is a wonderful thing, but marking or painting property without the property owner's permission is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime.

Creativity is defined by Webster as, “the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.

Practical ways to help children play and think more creatively include:

  • Using the starter phrase, “What if…….” And letting children think of new and different ways to end a story, imagine a different world, use an item uniquely.
What if dogs could fly?
What if you were president for a day?
What if you had a magic wand?
What if the Three Bears adopted Goldilocks?
  • Role Play
  • Have children close their eyes when you read to a new book and imagine the story for themselves rather than look at the pictures.  Let them describe what they “see”.
  • Place a variety of household items in a box.  Let children pick an item and then think of a new way to use that object.
  • Use a storyboard, action figures, stuffed animals, etc. to create a story.

A quote I found on the internet states, “If there's one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it's the ability to see possibilities where others don't — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.                 Mar 4, 2014

Creative people are adaptive, think “outside the box”, and are resourceful, persistent (think of Thomas Edison and his multiple trials before getting the light bulb to work!).  They generate lots of ideas (brainstorm), blend ideas, explore unorthodox solutions.

Let’s raise a generation of children who are mature and respectful but at the same time able to look at problems and generate solutions in a fresh, innovative way.

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Children's Unrealistic Gift Lists by Trisha Roberts

As the Holidays approach, many parents get anxious.  They want to make Christmas or Hanukkah special for their children but are often faced with the dilemma of what to buy, how to avoid taxing the budget, and satisfying their children's "Wish List", which is often extremely unrealistic. For fear of disappointing their children, they often buy mountains of presents, which may or may not eliminate the temper tantrums.  I am presenting an article I wrote last year that is very appropriate this month and contains information for teaching values throughout the year.  "Things" are not what ultimately satisfy--developing a giving, generous, compassionate spirit in your child is far more valuable.

One of my daughter’s favorite Christmas tunes is, “Oh, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”.  You’ve probably heard it if you listen to the radio in the month of December. The first line is, “Oh I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Only a hippopotamus will do”. You may not have a child asking for a Hippo, but many children have a wish list a mile long or containing toys that are totally inappropriate for their age or their parent’s budget. We’ve probably all known a child (or been that child!) who throws a tantrum because they did not get what they wanted.

We love to give our children special gifts for Christmas, Birthday, Hanukkah or other special occasions.  Our children come to expect gifts and then to request (read, “demand”) gifts, often prompted by adults asking, “What do you want for Christmas?” 

Take the focus off of receiving gifts. I recommend having a discussion several months before a holiday about the reason we give gifts.  Things like:  this is a token of our love, to celebrate or commemorate a special event, to make a person feel special.  We sometimes give a gift to stimulate growth (like a book). We give because God first gave to us—the gift of Life, of Health, of Salvation.  We give to bring joy to others.  We want to encourage a spirit of giving and thankfulness. This discussion can help children develop a better understanding of gift giving. It is not an exhaustive list of demands. It is a demonstration of love and should be appreciated as such whatever the gift might be.

Change the emphasis to giving rather than receiving.  Make a list of people your child would like to give gifts to; discuss what things that person likes and note what type of gift you could give. Try to add someone to the list who will probably not give you a gift in return—maybe your mail carrier or bus driver.

Help Children be Creative

Children can be given extra chores to earn money to purchase gifts, but I think a gift that is created by the child is more meaningful and takes the emphasis off the “commercial”.  A special card, a book of coupons for hugs/kisses/special help around the house, a framed picture, a video montage, homemade cookies or flavored Chex Mix.  Write a creative story, have it typed, illustrate it, and give it as a book.  Read a favorite story to a grandparent.  Perform a puppet show. 

If your children are musical they could play or sing a song for a loved one; if the person lives far away, it could be video-taped and e-mailed or performed on Skype. Whenever possible, the child should wrap the gift and deliver it in person.  Watching a person open their gift and seeing the joy that it brings will help your little ones gain a better understanding of gift-giving and will begin to develop a spirit of generosity. Make sure that your children see and hear your gratefulness when you open a gift. Model thankfulness by your words and actions—a phone call or hand written note to the giver is always appreciated.

Children should not be encouraged to make a long list of “wants”.  An attentive parent usually knows what a child likes and what they have been looking at in stores. If a child comes to you with a list you should take the list but say to the child, “Remember our conversation about gifts.  We love you. Just because you have made a list does not mean that we are obliged to get you the things on that list.”  You will have a great Christmas/Birthday/Hanukkah whether or not you get the things you have listed.

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, December 1, 2017

ImaginOak Play Mats

This week I feature a terrific product that encourages creativity and imagination--the ImaginOak Play Mats

ImaginOak Play Mats are designed to engage children in open-ended adventure and creative story play, using the toys they already have. The large vinyl mats provide three unique environments for kids to make believe their own exciting stories. 
ImaginOak Play Mats Encourage Creative Play

The brightly printed play mats are big enough for excellent solo play, but also large enough that 2 or more kids can play together. The best stories are relational, and when several children are engaged in imaginative self-scripted play, magical things can happen. The play can be different every time depending on the feelings of the day or the toys they bring to the play mat.

What sets ImaginOak Play Mats apart are the three stylized designs featuring more realistic buildings and landscaping, more interesting details, the large scale of the vinyl play area, several different play mats can lay side by side in any configuration, and the mats encourage stimulating group play. The painterly look gives these artisan play mats a style like no other.

ImaginOak Castle Play Mat

Some years ago designer Craig McDowall, had the idea of introducing a new play mat into the children’s market. After visiting many toy shops he saw that there were a number of fabric play mats or rugs aimed at pre-school kids. Preschool play mats have chunky graphics and are intended for larger toys. There seemed to be no play mats aimed at elementary school kids, aged approximately 4-11, and the small figurines they’ve collected. He also saw that parents are becoming more interested in finding ways to keep their school age children away from ‘screens’, including electronic devices such as computer tablets, game consoles and television. Child education experts are also sounding the alarm about the amount of time children spend alone, playing games with pre-written scripts and predictable outcomes.

ImaginOak Horse Farm Play Mat

ImaginOak Play Mats encourage imaginative play which is not predefined by characters; there are no people, animals or vehicles printed on the mats. Children may use action figures or other movie and television characters, but the kids are able to reinvent the story line, and design their own narrative. By allowing the children to be their own story tellers, ImaginOak hopes that children will engage in more meaningful play. Children are capable of working out some of their problems by imaginative experiential play, and these play mats might help them in that process. Home school parents are able to convert the story play into written formats which children can continue to work on. These large play mats allow two or more children to take part in parallel play, and interact with friends and siblings. Several play mats can be laid side by side to increase the possibilities.

ImaginOak Village Play Mat

The original three designs, Caravan Village, Quest Realm, and Horse Haven are available in both LARGE 4x5 and SMALL 3x4 sizes. Large size is 45.5" x 59". Small size is 36" x 47”. The great part is that the play mats can be laid together in any configuration

ImaginOak Play Mats Can "Connect"

ImaginOak Play Mats are practically indestructible and are waterproof. The scrim vinyl is printed with safe water-based latex inks which are the optimum choice for use in hospitals, restaurants and schools. These inks are Greengaurd Gold UL certified, odorless, and meet LEED standards. They roll up for storage, and are easily cleaned with a mild detergent and moist sponge.

ImaginOak Play mats are available in two sizes to fit most families needs:
Small 3' x 4' for the price of $55.00
Large 4' x 5' for the price of $75.00

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.