Today through Saturday is "Keep Kids Creative Week," so encourage the children in your life to dance, sing, draw, paint, cook, craft, write, act and otherwise play. Turn off any screens and have kids act out their own TV show, create their own video game or write their own book.
"The Big Book of Things to Make" by James Mitchem is brimming with quick, creative projects such as pinhole cameras, fingerprint doodles and flipbook animation. "Boredom Busters! The Curious Kids' Activity Book" by Avery Hart is filled with fun activities such as printing a neighborhood newspaper, turning found objects into musical instruments, and whipping up some easy meals.
On Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Central Library will host the fourth annual, award-winning MANA-CON Comics Convention for Teens and Kids. The free event will feature plenty of opportunities for kids to exercise their imaginations and potentially win some awesome prizes, including an iPod, tickets to Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry and tons of comic books.
Many kids doodle characters from their favorite comic books, so encourage them to draw their own story with "Stan Lee's How to Draw Comics," by the beloved creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men and many other comic book heroes. This book explains perspective, action flow, costuming and lettering. They can use their new drawing skills to enter the library's comic strip contest at MANA-CON. If your kid likes manga, (Japanese-style comics), get them "Draw Manga," by Sweatshop Studios.
Art classes help kids tap into their creativity, but they can be expensive. Bring them to the MANA-CON to attend one of our free art classes. Kids and teens 8-18 years old can take workshops on Sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) or Zentangle (creative pattern drawing). To unleash the creativity of techie kids, give them "Create Your Own Graphic Novel Using Digital Techniques," by Mike Chinn. MANA-CON will have a digital motion design workshop for teens 12-18 years old. See our website to register for all of these classes.
Parents know all too well that teens express their creativity through fashion. MANA-CON attendees are encouraged to dress-up as their favorite comic book, anime or video game character. Teens 12 to 18 can enter our Cosplay Runway and strut their stuff on stage. The complete rules for participating are available on the library's website. For children ages 11 and younger, there will also be a kids' costume parade so the younger attendees can show off their costumes. Prizes will be awarded at each event.
Happy creating, and we'll see you at MANA-CON!
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Stephanie Katz is a Reference Librarian at the Manatee County Central Library.