My oldest niece, Jessica, turned 9 this month, and of course Aunt Michelle had to send her a special birthday package! I wish my brother and his family lived closer so I could see them in person, but at least I can send awesome gifts. Jessica has always been very creative (I see a lot of myself in her), and I've always nurtured and encouraged that creativity. Now she's finally old enough to move from Play Doh to oven bake polymer clay, which probably excites me more than it does her- LOL. So for her birthday I got her a set of polymer clay in all the basic colors, a set of sculpting tools for kids (I use some of the same tools myself), and a beginner's sculpting book full of great projects that are easy for kids, but also really cute. I also made her this cute Birthday Bear sculpture.
She loved everything in the package, and started sculpting right away (that's my girl!). My brother said she's making a bear for me that looks a lot the the one I made her. This was exactly how I started out when I was young, only I tried ceramic clay in art class before I discovered polymer clay. The great thing about polymer clay is that artists of all ages and skill levels can use it, and it bakes right in your home oven. I can't wait to see all the wonderful things Jessica is going to create. Creativity is so very important, and nurturing a child's natural creativity is incredibly rewarding.
Jessica's little sister, Andrea, has a birthday coming up in March, and I've already got her gift request. She wants a LaLa Loopsy doll, but my brother hasn't been able to find one, so I'll make her a cuddly rag doll that looks the the same. I checked out pictures on Google (I wasn't sure what they looked like before), and I can certainly make something very similar, with a cute little pet too. I love being the artistic aunt! And when the kids get something I made by hand, it inspires them to make things themselves. My grandmother sewed, did needlework, and made beaded ornaments, and passed that creativity down to me. My mother is very creative as well. She's an excellent writer, has worked in wood (making everything from shelves to really cool trains), has made awesome pewter miniatures, and probably even more I'm forgetting at the moment. Creativity is in my genes, and my mother and grandparents have always supported my creative endeavors. I plan to do the same for my nieces.
-Michelle of CreativeCritters