In the last week, I’ve watched my nephew switch between molding clay figures, designing minecraft worlds and developing a new puppet. Creativity, or “making”, is a part of who he is. He just loves “doing” and we are fortunate enough to experience the worlds that he creates. I’ve watched him as he uses his ipad to search for ideas, save parts of each idea and develop his own piece. Even when the idea seems “unimaginable”, it’s never out of his reach. He finds a way.
Earlier this week, Braeden decided that he was going to make a “pirate goblin”. With clay, styrofoam, paint and a little research, the “pirate goblin” became a reality. You can view the process in the Haiku Deck Below. You can also click here for the pdf version with his notes.
Engineering and Clay Pieces
Through research, Braeden has seen that not all clay figures are stationary. He has created a technique to make his objects movable. Using toothpicks and wiring, the heads move. The arms move and sometimes the legs are bendable as well. He created a vine video to illustrate. The kid is learning design and engineering and has no idea.
Engineering and Puppet Parts
Friday, Braeden had a day off from school and in lieu of doing nothing all day, he decided to learn. While researching “puppet mechanics”, he came across a video which led to another video which led to yet another video teaching him how to make movable eyelids on his puppet. So, using two ping pong balls and parts from a coat hanger, he created a mechanism that will allow him to attach fabric pieces to form eyelids that open and close for his puppet. By the way, the new puppet character, a fuzzy monster, will be done soon and will join the likes of Lenny the Lizard in front of the camera soon.
Fostering Creativity: What I Learned
A while back ago, Braeden talked about his principal’s opinion that kids could not learn through art. I’ve watched this child transition from the “physical and mental disruption” that school is to being a disruptor of such an antiquated idea through his passion for creating. He didn’t need to be in a specific “engineering or design” course to become an engineer but those are the skills that he is developing.
Many of my Facebook friends, mostly classmates, that have seen Braeden’s journey often ask me how to help their kids enjoy learning like Braeden does. I have to say that it’s not that Braeden enjoys all “learning”. He enjoys the learning that he owns. He enjoys the learning that stems from his own curiosities. He enjoys the learning that is authentic to him.
I won’t say that Braeden does not learn in school. He most certainly does and it shows in what he comes home to create. He doesn’t enjoy it though. He complies.
However, when the “required work” is done, the curiosity begins. The ipad comes out and we get to witness excitement for learning through the eyes of a 9 year old.
The world is his genius hour. We’re just participants.