Hello my lovelies!

This week I'm starting a new weekly blog full of craft ideas to encourage creativity in children. I will be trying to keep the ideas quite open so that your kids will be able to use their imaginations a lot. Imagination is not taught as a core skill in school learning and it is such a useful skill in life. How often do we need problem solving skills in daily life, at work, at home, counselling a friend with problems? It's the imagination that helps us out there. Not to mention if you are involved in a creative project - scrapbooking, writing short stories, helping out with the school play, cooking - we all do something creative with our lives.

From a parent's perspective I'll be giving tips for how to keep mess to a minimum, but I would advise you to invest in a plastic mat (you can buy a couple of metres from a fabric shop for next to nothing, and they have a fabbytastic range of designs aimed at children) also keep a set of old clothes cos aprons don't cover up everything! Keep wet wipes nearby and even set aside a special place for craft. If your little one is going through that phase (they all do it) of doing the opposite to what you tell them, keep paints and stuff out of reach!

I'll also give tips on how you can help and encourage them, and I'd say it's often best for their imaginations, to let them interpret these craft projects in their own way. There's plenty of other opportunity in the day for them to learn to follow instructions. If you feel you want to stick things for them or take their paintbrush and give them a helping hand, realise it is your own creative spirit struggling to be expressed. Sit down beside your budding artist and make your own work, children learn more by watching and copying behaviour than any other way!

Above all this time to be spent having fun. Pay lots of attention to your child, give them lots of true encouragement (they can tell when you lie!) realise their unique creative spirit and you will be rewarded in so many ways.