You might be wondering – what is a yoga studio doing talking about crafts and children? But trust us, the connections between yoga and children engaging in creative play exist.
Most of us come to yoga for some sort of wellness benefit – whether it be the physical aspect through asana, the relaxation aspect through breathing (pranayama), or the more spiritual aspect that one can experience. The unifying factor is we are working towards cleaning up our external and internal worlds, in order to increase feelings of health and happiness.
Fostering creativity is a key component of wellness and happiness. As children get older (and turn into adults, like us!), their use of their imaginations and creativity dwindles. This happens most rapidly between ages 5-8, as skills like rationality and logic are valued more and more as they move up in their education, leaving divergent thinking and creativity in the dust. Like all skills, when they are left to disuse, they wither and fade away. This leaves us with adults who are very good at multiplication and remembering traffic laws, but who are stumped when left with a blank piece of paper and a box of crayons.
Research shows that children who are actively encouraged to use and develop their creativity throughout childhood and adolescence exhibit higher levels of self-esteem and motivation. It fosters an interest in exploring unfamiliar concepts, rather than fearing what they don’t know out of concern that they might look foolish when trying to figure it out. Creative kids learn that failure is not a bad thing – rather, it’s a step in the learning process. How many of us are fixated on this fear of failure? Fear of looking silly? This fear is exactly what holds us back in not just our yoga practice (how many of us refuse to move into Bird of Paradise posture from side angle for fear we’ll fall over??) but also in life.
The question is – is that the life we want for our children? Many of us are now working very hard to unlearn the concept of fear of failure. We’re learning to dance with discomfort and engage in activities that don’t come to us innately. We can save the future generations from this struggle simply by encouraging their creative play. Children can both be creative and learn their multiplication tables – we are capable of learning and valuing multiple things, all at once!
This is why days like National Children’s Craft Day are so important. A national reminder that creative play comes with so many benefits is necessary and needed, so we can raise children into resilient adults. At CFYC, we offer multiple avenues to our community’s children to explore their creativity. We offer Kids Art Play for children ages 4-9 every Sunday through Thursday from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. This gives parents a chance to engage in their practice while ensuring their children are in a warm, nurturing environment. In Kids Art Play, we hold space for children to be as wildly creative as possible, with everything from chalk on our huge chalkboard, markers and crayons to use on vibrant colored paper and coloring pages, play-doh for those who like to create with their hands, and of course, crafts for the children to create pieces of artwork.
We also incorporate creativity and crafts into our other children’s programs, like our kids yoga camps and our Yoga Clubs. We’ve made mandalas, vision boards, paper pets, and so much more in these programs. This is because yoga is about more than just asana. It’s also about being comfortable with exploration into yourself and your capabilities. Stretching that creative muscle is just as important to teaching kids yoga as teaching them postures!
Tonight, we invite you to bring your children to Kids Art Play from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. while you practice. We’ll have fun crafts and activities for your little ones to expand their minds. Be curious about what they do in there, ask your children and our Kids Art Play staff about what your child created! Be invested in their creativity, help them learn that creativity is awesome, and you’ll be well on your way to raising the next big innovator – move over, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg!