On Thinking Creatively

posted in: Fine Art | 10

Do you let your little ones help in the kitchen?  I’m a fan of hands on learning (yes, we do have a membership at the Hands on Museum, how did you know?), and as Toby has gotten older, he’s been able to help more and more with some of the basic things.  What does this have to do with photography?  Well — directly, not much.  But indirectly, lots.  I’ve enjoyed observing how toddlers (well, all children, really) are always learning.  They are observant, taking cues from adults and kids around them, eager to experiment with doing things themselves, and often find creative ways to accomplish a task if left to their own devices.  In short, it’s all about creativity, unleashing your inner child.  And that’s what we often forget once adults.  How to think creatively.  Photography, and all art, is really about exploring your world creatively.  A fresh perspective on a “boring” subject can make all the difference in the world.  And sometimes all it takes is to consider things from a different point of view (i.e. a child’s).  Doesn’t this look cool??

Now, back to the kitchen (I’ll get back to that picture above a little later).  One of Toby’s favorite tasks is helping with kefir!  Kefir is a fermented milk drink (non-alcoholic) that has tons of good probiotics in it.  Add milk to the kefir grains, and strain it a day or two later to enjoy.  It’s somewhere between the consistency of milk and yogurt — and has been great for toddler cereal (easier to keep on the spoon for self-feeding).  Textures and foods all have interest to a toddler, don’t they?  Everything is new and exciting to them, things that have become mundane and ordinary to us adults.

Even something as simple as cutting an apple can be thrilling for a toddler.  The newfound independence, the experience of having to crunch through the apple and exert pressure in a precise way.  These things all engage the mind.  By the way, that’s a nylon knife he’s using, which is really awesome for teaching knife skills.  Toby already knows to keep his fingers out of the way when using his knife.  Kids are such quick learners.

Now, back to that abstract picture from earlier.  Here’s another one from the same series.  Know what it is yet?

Lettuce.  Boring old head lettuce.  But when you take the time to look at it close up, wow!  How neat are all those folds in the lettuce, it could be petals on a flower, or winding rivers, or even ripples in the snow.  That’s what I mean about looking at the world through the eyes of a child.  Stop and take a minute to reconsider the ordinary, the every day, the mundane.

Snapshot Tip: Try looking at things from a different perspective than you usually do.  Get down on the ground, or stand on a chair (er… stepstool!).  Back really far up or get really close.  Instead of just settling for the same old snapshots that you always take… think like a kid!  Take a minute to try something new, or even something silly.  Who knows, you may be thrilled with the results.

10 Responses

  1. Rachel

    Thanks for showing how boring lettuce can be something amazing. It’s all about perspective, and I like how kids look at the world a little differently.

  2. Lila

    Great post! My 1 1/2 year old loves to help in the kitchen. Observing little ones for creativity is a great idea. 🙂 She is always trying something new.

  3. Betsy Finn

    That’s so true, Rachel! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. Betsy Finn

    Yes, it’s amazing how they look at things so differently, Lila!

  5. Barb

    Imagine what a red cabbage would look like!! Love your post about creativity. Have you read “The Creative Habit. Learn It and Use it for Life.” by Twyla Tharp? I just finished it and think you might like it too. Visiting via “Small VictoriesSunday” linkup.

  6. Betsy Finn

    Thanks, Barb! I haven’t heard of that book, but I am going to check it out now that you’ve intrigued me.

  7. Rach D

    Awwwww!!! He is too sweet 🙂

  8. Betsy Finn

    🙂 Thanks Rachael!

  9. I am so impressed he can handle a knife! My little guy likes to help me in the kitchen too. He’s always telling me how beautiful things are and I love to hear his innocence and marvel when he discovers nature or the beauty in simple things. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linky. Pinning to our linky board.

  10. Betsy Finn

    Yes, me too! He has been watching me cut things and telling me to mind my fingers! 🙂 That is so great that your son can help you find the beauty in simple things too!