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Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative & Naturally Curious Children [Library Binding]

Ginger Carlson

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Nurture children who think, wonder, and love to learn! This is a well-organised, easy-to-read collection of hundreds of inspiring ideas and techniques to help parents and educators guide children in creative development. This is a thoughtful and engaging resource for all parents and educators who want to understand the characteristics of creativity, how to encourage them and discover practical ways to set up an environment that will help children think and create more. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for children of all ages 5 Jun 2008
By Cathe Fein Olson - Published on
In a society where creativity and imagination seem to be undervalued and almost suppressed, Ginger Carlson's book "Child of Wonder" comes as a breath of fresh air and really an essential for the parent or teacher who wants to nurture the natural curiosity of their children. Carlson, an educational consultant, shares her unique way of integrating critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity into children's daily tasks and personal interests.

"Child of Wonder" is designed to help you nurture creative, confident thinkers. Carlson explains the characteristics of creativity and how to encourage them in your home - both with practical ways to set up your environment, as well as providing hundreds of ideas, techniques, recipes, and instructions for creativity building activities. Carlson also shows you how to help your child develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as helps you to determine his/her learning style and unique way of self-expression.

Though the book seems somewhat geared to parents of preschool age children, I found plenty of inspiration and ideas that I can use with my seven- and nine-year-old daughters. For example, I have a lot of craft supplies that I've accumulated from yard sales, stores, recycled objects, etc. but they were all kind of mixed together and piled on top of each other. After reading the chapter "Setting Up and Organizing the Creative Environment," I cleaned out and reorganized our `craft closet.' Since then, my daughters are much more independent and spontaneous about making a painting or doing elaborate craft projects, then they were when I had to locate supplies for them.

I especially loved the chapter "Art Smart" where Ginger talks about "developing creativity through visual arts." I was particularly intrigued by her suggestion of making sculptures from recycled objects so one night when my kids had a friend to sleepover and I thought it would be fun to have them make sculptures the next day. After they were in bed, I gathered toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, strawberry pint baskets, boxes - whatever I could find - and left them on the kitchen table. When I got up the next morning, the girls were already up and working away. Using the supplies I had left out plus others they found on their own, they were crafting elaborate houses for their stuffed animals. I just loved that the idea came from them and not from me, and it really showed me that what Ginger says in her book is true. If you set up an atmosphere conducive to creativity, it will happen naturally.

There are so many more ideas in the book that I want to try. In her section on "Creating a Communication System," Carlson explains a "Letter Notebook" as an on-going activity which will help the child develop writing and spelling skills, as well as place to practice creative expression. When the child writes a letter (using words, scribbles, or pictures), the adult responds on the next page within a few days. She encourages the adult to add picture, stickers, or other treasures (and why shouldn't we nurture our creativity as well!). A similar idea that I also love is setting up mailboxes in the house where your child can receive and send mail from/to other family members.

Homeschoolers and teachers will especially appreciate Carlson's creative ideas to make math, science, storytelling, writing, and music fun and interesting - which of course can be used to reinforce concepts no matter what kind of schooling you do. The "Ways of Play" portion is also full of ideas for games and toys that build creativity, as well as ideas for cooking and messy fun.

I felt so inspired after reading this book - and not just for my kids. My husband and I are talking about some art projects that we want to do too. I highly recommend this book - it will nurture creativity not just in your children - but in the whole family.

Review as seen on [...] by Cathe Olson
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all parents, teachers and anyone who loves children 25 Mar 2008
By Maryanne Raphael - Published on
As an elementary teacher, Author Ginger Carlson's goal was to create an environment that honored her students and developed their thinking and self expression. With the Child of Wonder book and newsletters she helps parents do this for their children. For her, nurturing children to be discovering, creating and wondering is a labor of love, her way of life.

With an M.A. in education, Carlson has taught in public and private schools in the United States and internationally. She is an educational consultant guiding parents and children who have given up on traditional education. The book can be used to design creative curriculum and to provide projects to nurture a child's inherent interests.

Carlson believes children are naturally creative and her book shows how they need freedom to play, experiment, question, take risks and apply their learning to their world. Using a poem, Flowers are Red; Leaves are green, Carlson illustrates how an insensitive teacher can kill creativity in a child who sees multi-colored flowers.

She feels parents have the biggest impact on children's love of learning and their ability to express themselves. She reminds them that children learn what they live (quoting Dorothy Law Nolte) and deserve to be treated with patience, confidence, faith, justice, appreciation and love. Parents provide resources and encourage imagination when their children are not tied down by too many rules. She reminds us that setting an example is the only way to teach.

Carlson shows us how to live a life of wonder with our children, how busy adults with little time can find teachable moments, and how our questions can often teach more than our answers. She tells how to recognize stress in a child and what to do about it She explains how to praise a child, how to find special alone space for a child even in a stressful crowded household and how making a mess can be a creative way to learn.

Feeling children are often our best teachers, Carlson suggests we smile and stay silent at times. "Try to say nothing more often." Listen more.

She warns that too much media can be harmful for the child and illustrates how when properly supervised it can be a learning tool. She shows how to choose a good science experience, how to incorporate story telling in education and how to see learning as enjoyable. She introduces such creative positive ideas as a "Yes Day" when the parent allows the child to do whatever he or she wants all day long.

Child of Wonder explains how parents and teachers can support a child's inherent sense of delight and curiosity and promote an opportunity for personal growth and fulfillment for their future.

I would recommend this book to all teachers, parents, grandparents and anyone who loves a child. Maryanne Raphael, Writers World
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonder-ful! 22 Aug 2008
By Kara M. Spencer - Published on
If you are interested in encouraging your child's artistic expression, imagination, and creative intelligence, than Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative and Naturally Curious Children by Ginger Carlson is the book for you. An experiences educator and mother, Ginger peppers her book with inspirational quotes from creative thinkers, artists, and musicians throughout her book, providing parents with hundreds of practical and creative ideas for projects and exploration, and seeds for thought.

As a mother myself, I'm always trying to provide creative opportunities for my son to explore with art, paint, nature, theater, paper, and more. However, it can be a challenge, especially with work, obligations, and schedules. That's why I'm grateful for Carlson's book, which takes the effort out of planning for those wonderful magical creative moments of childhood.

Child of Wonders offer numerous suggestions for parents to create creative zones around the house, that are kid accessible, so that creativity and exploration can happen on the go, in every room or nook of your house. She offers suggestions for musical play, messy play, cooking experiments, rainy day fun, and outdoor exploration.

This book will be helpful to parents of children both young and school-aged. Whether you have kids at home, are looking for weekend fun ideas, summer vacation activities, or homeschool resource book - Child of Wonder will delight.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved all the ideas 25 Jun 2011
By L. Zucker - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this book from my library, read it and loved it enough to buy it! I will be reading it again soon.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! 22 April 2008
By LauraW - Published on
have to say as a home-schooling Mom, I really enjoyed the creativity this book abounds with. The author gives us parents ideas on how to stimulate our children's senses as well as how to stimulate their creativity.

When I was first contacted to review this book, I was a little leery as I'm not a huge fan of the majority of the "educational help" books because I find that many of those "educational helps" are more clinical than they are personal. That being said, I don't fit the norm that the clinical books seem to focus on. I homeschool. I'm a mother of 7. I'm unashamedly Christian. I can be very outspoken when it comes to my children's education as well as my beliefs.

I was delighted to find that this book is not a "typical educational help book". The author gets up and personal with the readers. She not only gives the reader a "suggestion" of how the child can learn but follows up with ways to actually engage that suggestion with your child.

She also touches on something that I believe as well when it comes to our children learning... playing can be a learning tool. My girls love to play at their toy kitchen center when I am working in the kitchen. When possible, I include them in whatever I am doing. They think they are helping Mom, and they are, but they are also learning. The same goes for when they are playing at their kitchen center, they are mimicking things they learned while working in the kitchen with me.

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed this book. Would I recommend it to others... yes! It's a great jumpstart to get your brain boosted back up for ideas to spark your child's learning and imagination.
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