Milwaukee Edition

Nurturing Creative Kids

Hobbies Engage and Grow Healthy Kids

wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

Unplugging with creative and fun activities fosters skills that can last a lifetime. Studies published by the National Endowment for the Arts Office of Research & Analysis show that participating in performing and visual arts enhances children’s social skills and emotional processing, builds confidence and improves academic aptitude.

“Not every child needs to play a team sport. Team experiences such as working with peers toward a goal, learning to win and lose gracefully and to get along with others can also be learned through the arts,” explains Antonella D’Aloia, a developmental and expressive art teacher with The Whole Child, in Upton, Massachusetts. “Both crafts and expressive artistic creation have huge benefits because they’re usually seen as nonthreatening activities, especially for kids with anxiety or on the autism spectrum. Art offers a safe place in which they can hone new responses to difficult feelings.”

Earth-Based Self-Expression

Weaving, scrapbooking, making friendship bracelets and other art projects involving organic or re-usable materials can demonstrate sustainability while teaching children how to follow directions, cultivate patience and strategize. Healthy cooking classes are a creatively engaging avenue for youths to learn about connections between a healthy Earth and maintaining personal health. Expressing themselves through the visual arts, drama and dance promotes problem-solving and innovation, as does joining a science or Lego club.

“It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to try new things,” stresses D’Aloia. “Go to local school concerts, plays and art exhibits. Look for public art in your area. Local libraries often offer great activities for kids.”

Mindful Investments

Instilling mindfulness in children can be both fruitful and far-reaching. “Origami—the Japanese art of paper folding without cuts or glue—is a quintessential hobby for centeredness. The act of folding paper is so engrossing that one is very present and in the moment,” says Kathleen Sheridan, origami master and founder of Origami and You, in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Origami stimulates both sides of the brain and helps to build self-esteem. Most of all, it’s fun, portable and inexpensive.”

Fostering imagination and using the written word through journaling or storytelling nourishes a child’s inner world. “Creating a short story requires divergent thinking; young writers use their imaginations to generate unique ideas for characters, settings, plots and conflicts. We help them think deeply, write authentically and respect the perspectives of others, while learning to create and share their own stories and experiences,” explains Kimberly O’Connor, young writers program director at Lighthouse Writers Workshops, in Denver, Colorado.

Kletr/Shutterstock.com“Expressing the exact shape of an iris or the sound of a cricket, for example, requires intense curiosity and attention, two qualities that can serve children and teens indefinitely,” she explains.  Such skills can help students anywhere—in the classroom, on the sports field and later, when they begin to search for and find jobs.

According to Stanford University research published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, learning an instrument helps to improve children’s reading skills, especially those struggling with dyslexia and other learning challenges. Researchers at the German Institute for Economic Research revealed that learning music amplifies cognitive and non-cognitive skills twice as much as engaging in sports, dance or theater arts.

The Wellbeing Project, in Great Britain, has inspired activities such as sewing to benefit well-being. According to research published in the Journal of Public Health, quilting boosts cognitive ability, emotional equilibrium and creativity.

Introducing life skills and hobbies that nourish selfhood can be one of our greatest gifts to the next generation. D’Aloia remarks, “Helping our children to express who they are, rather than who we expect them to be, is the most powerful thing we can do.”


Marlaina Donato is a multimedia artist and freelance writer who authors books related to the fields of alternative health and spirituality. Connect at MarlainaDonato.com.

 

Links to More Discoveries

Crafting a Green World: The Home for Green Crafts and Materials

YouTube all-level instructional videos from OrigamiSpirit.com

YouTube intermediate-level origami videos from Jeremy Shafer

From juggling to calligraphy, broad-spectrum activity ideas

Scrapbooking for kids

Benefits of journaling

Eco-friendly fabric companies for sewing projects

Vintage sewing patterns online database


This article appears in the November 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Explore the Mystery and Lore of Ireland

Amy and David Wilinski of Golden Light Healing Retreat Center are leading a spiritual tour, Mists of Ireland, taking place May 18 through 27.

Journey Into the World of Acupuncture, Yoga and Ayurveda

Santosha Yoga & Ayurveda co-owners Nikki Estes and Scott Fisher are teaming up with David Fife, head acupuncturist at Lake Country Acupuncture, for Acupuncture, Yoga & Ayurveda, a special, two-day event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., January 18, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. January 19.

Meditate Milwaukee Hosts Monthly Meditation Sessions

Meditate Milwaukee, a one-hour free monthly event open to the public, takes place the first Sunday of each month.

The Sherman Phoenix Rises

The Sherman Phoenix, a unique marketplace comprised of 29 small businesses-of-color offering diverse foods, wellness services, art and cultural activities, opened November 30 in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

Thrive Holistic Medicine Expands Colon Hydrotherapy

Thrive holistic medicine now offers coffee enemas as an add-on to colon hydrotherapy services.

2019 Herbal Conference in Wisconsin

The eighth annual Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, to be held from May 31 through June 2 in Almond, Wisconsin, will include transformation and plant medicine as women from all over the world gather to rekindle the wild within or deepen their knowledge of plants.

Detoxify with the Morphogenic Field Technique

Licensed acupuncturist Aubrey Poglajen of Ananda Healing Collective is offering Morphogenic Field Technique (MFT), an individualized test for detoxing the body.

Six-Week iRest Yoga Nidra Program Restores Mind-Body Connection

Susan Trafton, a trained teacher of iRest Yoga Nidra through the Integrative Restoration Institute, will offer classes in this ancient guided meditation technique where the participant is led through the layers of their physical, energetic, mental, emotional and pure being.

Dr. John Whitcomb

John Whitcomb, M.D., director and founder of Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic, has always fostered a passionate curiosity for discovering the “why” behind illness.

Sound Healing and the Gong

Gongs have been used by both Tibetan monks and the Chinese to enhance meditation, and yoga studios and sacred meditation spaces all over the world today still use them for that purpose.

Letter from Publisher

Many of us are conscious about outdoor environmental issues such as clean air and drinking water. Yet many health perils can exist in our own homes.

Head, Heart and Gut

Instead of always falling into a default mode of old behaviors, it’s important to check with our built-in guidance system before undertaking a course of action.

Add your comment: