Divergent creativity (or how to let your kids make a Frisbee)

I´m the kind of person that sees a child´s painting and feels a vibrant emotion similar to the one you get when observing an original Picasso ceramic plate at the Modern Museum of Art.

“I used to draw like Raphael, but it has taken me a whole lifetime to learn to draw like a child”, Picasso said.

Beauty, composition, balance and expressive freedom are infused in children´s art works with a sensibility that is not easy to match.

That´s one of the reasons why I tend to collect their artistic productions and create impromptu art exhibitions on walls, doors and windows. I do this for several other reasons too, including the satisfaction of seeing the results of my creative parenting and educational ideas. It´s also great for them, because they can keep track of their progress. Check this great solution I found at parents.com:


I do have lots of ideas for art projects! I´d like to share one of those ideas and it´s unexpected hidden lesson for me.

We love eating pizzas from Maxipasta, the best Pasta House in the West (… of Buenos Aires). The minute I saw the disposable pizza trays I knew they were a great support for painting, so I collected them until I had 23 pieces  (the sad part is I came to realize we might be eating too much pizza, but that´s another story).

Then I chose the best painting material (I decided it was acrylic painting) and I stealthy waited for a perfect time to chase my kids  creativity, honoring the lioness mother there was in me (now I´m becoming a humane mother).

Today the perfect moment has come, I can feel it in the air.

There is no need for words. I simply take down the acrylic pots, the brushes jar and the white pizza canvas (I also bring some water and wet cloths for my scenario). Kids are attracted to the table and they start painting immediately. I can see how their breath becomes rhythmical. Silence reins.

“Oh! Magic is here”, I whisper to myself, doing my best to not interrupt their concentration. Beauty is manifest in the emerging colors and shapes on the good old pizza trays. My creative idea had converged with their creative impulse and there was only a perfect feeling of total union, as a long-dreamt-of hug with your beloved one under the meeting point at Ezeiza airport: you meet him, you hug each other, you become one. That´s what I am experimenting at this point. I am loving it and I dedicate my self to the art of observation.

I´m deciding on which wall I am  going to hung their paintings  when the most unexpected situation happens.

“I think this is going to be the best one”, says boy nr. 1.

“Wait to see how mine flies”, answers nr. 2.

“Yea! Fly, fly, fly!”, toddler giggles.

“What do you mean by fly, honey?”, I dare to ask.

“To fly is to move in the air without falling, mom”, the older one patienly explains.

“I know that dear. But these art works are not meant for that. I´ll hang them on this wall, what do you think?”

To my utter disappointment my kids do not want to hang their plates anywhere and they are not going to change their minds.

They´ve painted helicopters, ninja stars, spaceships, yellow balls and molecules. Now they want to use them.









They want to use their art as Frisbees, throwing the trays in the air and catching them back. They want to see which ones fly best, wich ones are more “powerful”. So they put the fresh paintings in the sun to get them dried as soon as possible.

I resist.

Quite a bit.

I offer them new trays, plain white, to use for that game.

“These are for hanging on some wall, even on the door if you want”, I insist not wanting to see that my creative will, the same that 20 minutes ago was in perfect unison with my kids, is now clearly becoming a divergent line and every word I say makes it move just a bit further.

“Of course not, mooooom!”, they complain notoriously in disagreement.

“But playing like this you´re gonna crash your art works!?” I mumble trying to convince them of what I still don´t want to recognize for what it is: an impossible task.

“White ones are a real disaster”, they complain.

“Those don´t even fly as good as a helicopter, nor do they attack as a ninja star”, they add.

They start asking themselves why did they took the time to paint if now they cannot use them?… They keep on complaining but I have a cerebral feature that allows me to lower their voices thinking louder than what they speak. It helps me a lot when I feel stuck and in need to reverse difficult situations.

“Ok, Ok, I got it. You mean white trays do not fly the same”, I say to gain time and think how to solve this creative mismatch. Thank God they insist a bit further, and because of that I´m forced to find a better solution.

Finally it´s not me who happens to think of a safe exit from this dilemma. Oh, magic is back!, our creative channels abruptly converge again:

“Listen, mom. You could take photos of the paintings and then let us play with them, ok?”.

I give up. I grab my camera, find good light near the window and press the shutter. After a tray is captured it takes off, literally, to fulfill it´s true mission on earth. All of them fly high, far and with style. But each one has a special power conferred by the colores and shapes with which they were decorated. Never, ever, ever a white disposable pizza tray could have performed as these ones do.

They are the most wonderful Frisbees in the whole world and demonstrate, from the very beginning, why free creative play is an art in itself.

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17 thoughts on “Divergent creativity (or how to let your kids make a Frisbee)

  1. I just had the opportunity to read your last three posts and I must say that I not only love you, your passion and your spirit and the way you parent, I love the way you write. You give me goosebumps! (And I cannot BELIEVE English isn’t your first language.)

    This is wonderful! I’m posting it on FB now…xx


    • fermaria says:

      Dear blogsphere-most-beloved Friend!
      Hi dear!
      Once again, I thank you for your support and for being my reader. And believe me! English is not my second language, is my third one!! Ha, ha! I also speak German! I´m preparing a post about the origin of my Colonial British English mixed with other “spices” so you might find out why I´m such a desperate multilingual writer (and wait to discover how I speak!). I´m sure silence is the best spiritual practice for me but since I suspect to shut my mouth is beyond my possibilities I´ve decided to write and speak about valuable issues instead of just go around gossiping with my friends (something I also enjoy quite a bit!).
      By the way, I don´t know what goosebumps means! It sounds great though!
      Love you,


  2. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring! What a wonderful mother you are! Thank you for sharing this…it has certainly reminded me of the need to allow my children to express themselves creatively as they see fit!


    • fermaria says:

      Thank you so much Pamela for your words… I am flattered. I´ll check your site too. Thoughtful Mamma sounds like the kind of stuff I really like!


    • fermaria says:

      Oh, how sad! But don´t worry! Either we eat huge amounts of pizza and export the trays to the States or you cut a 40cm diameter white cardboard circle and you´re done. Cardboard is heavier and frisbees wont fly as softly as tergopol (expanded polyetylene) ones but they will fly faster and further.
      I hope this helps! Thanks for visiting amararama and for taking the time to post your comment! Love,


      • fermaria says:

        Now I remember we did that cardboard art project for father´s day last year (I was relieved they didn´t use that one as a frisbee, it was our only present:)!). I will post a photo so you can see how it looks.


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