Ok, so there’s a bit of a back-story to this one. The edited highlights: Like most kids, my daughter is fabulously creative. She draws for hours every day. Even if I had a barn at my disposal, I wouldn’t have enough wall space for everything she produces. And, cos she’s eight, EVERY ONE is a masterpiece in her eyes, the surreptitious binning of which will lead to the ‘you are a bad mummy who cares not one whit for my innermost feelings’ look.
So, I devised the most expensive method in history for cleaning my desk. It’s a free app for iPhone and Android called Galactic Fridge. It taps into your phone’s camera and saves all those masterpieces for years to come (and also assuages your guilt for binning the originals). Nifty, no? It’s also an amazing way of boosting your child’s confidence – there is nothing quite like the validation of seeing your stuff online. It’s the Tony Hart Gallery for the iPad generation. I was looking back over Tara’s stuff with her, and she can see how much she’s improved too – it’s a lovely timeline of her interests and development. And, it’s got the added bonus of being shareable. I don’t live close to grannies and grandads, so I can easily share the art-love with them using this little app.
Then last night, it won not one, but TWO awards! A gold and a silver at the Appy awards in Dublin! I mean, one would have been great, but two is pinch me time! So I’m in a little bit of a daze this morning. Possibly because I really wanted Galactic Fridge for my own nefarious ends. The long term ambition is for it to be integral to an online community, which I’ve been building slowly since the app first version came out. The goal is to encourage parents to see creativity as an aspect of education that is as important as math or language or science, and indeed, one that is central to success in any of the others; and to encourage children to aspire to great things using their creativity. They love Lego? Let them set out to design it! Can’t get enough gaming or fashion or comics? Equip them to make up their own!
Encouraging children to explore their creativity from an early age, but more importantly, to grow it as their skills develop is vital. I think that’s the stumbling block for so many people – their skills don’t develop at the same rate as their imaginations and they get discouraged and stop thinking of themselves as creative. It doesn’t have to be like that. I’ve been overwhelmed by the offers of support I’ve had from creative professionals who are willing to contribute to this community (built, it’s worth noting, on a fabulous WordPress base) – it’s clearly a subject close to a lot of hearts. They all see the value of persisting with creativity. But I still need parents and kids trying out the app and coming back to me with feedback. It’s free and fun, and your input will be instrumental in building something that will help create a new generation of creative geniuses. Search Galactic Fridge on iTunes or Android Market Place, and get YOUR Galactic Fridge started! (And if you don’t have kids or grandkids, please pass this on to someone who does!)
* Snowie the Space Kitty is Galactic Fridge’s mascot. Snowie is an inter-galactic traveller who goes from star to star helping various aliens with their ideas and generally having a fab old time of it. He’s a cat….They’re like that!