The most common misconception about creativity is that it is an inborn talent that only the lucky ones are gifted with and it cannot be learned. In fact, it is more of a skill than a talent and it can be developed with the help of parents and educators.
Creativity is a key skill to have in many aspects of life and it is not limited to only art and music. It can be applicable to social and emotional intelligence, education, problem solving and it could even bring mental health benefits for our children. People who are equipped with creativity skills are more adaptable to changes and knows how to seize new opportunities. Therefore, with the right support and guidance, there are equal opportunities for every child to activate their creativity and build their confidence through self-expression!
Let’s get started with some tips for creative development:
1. Allow room for disagreement
Disagreement does not equates to argument. As opposed to that, disagreement here is to allow children to voice out their opinions even if it’s different or unrealistic. The idea is if they don’t agree to a certain approach or conform to someone’s views, do not be quick to judge or cut them off just because it’s an opposing voice. Instead, encourage them to express their divergent thoughts and allow them to find more than one means to a problem. This gives them more opportunities to make their own choices.
2. Expose children to divergent thinking through books
Books are a staple in the classroom and reading time can be turning in a creative discussion time. Introduce books with topics on creativity, inventiveness and creative problem solving. Titles like, The Dot by Peter Reynolds, Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal , Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, Beautiful Opps by Barnie Saltzberg, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson are all well-loved books that can help children to think more flexibly and creatively. You can also find other popular books which can be found in our marketplace such as, 下雨的味道, I Will Find a Way: I Believe in Myself, Orange Pear Apple Bear.
After reading, teachers can encourage children to come up with their own versions of the stories! Wordless books allow children to exercise their imagination and come up with their own stories. Popular titles include, The Red Book By Barbara Lehman, Inside Outside By: Lizi Boyd, The Game of Let's Go! by Herve Tullet.
3. Plan an open-ended art jamming
It’s common to have art and craft as part of the curriculum, but how about an open-ended art jamming? No themes, no instructions, a blank piece of canvas, a set of tools and materials, and infinite imagination. You can also propose an inexpensive construction project, whereby children are given fresh materials which they have never worked before, such as recyclable items, stones, leaves, seeds, clay, shells, etc.
This all-new experience not only allows the children to fire up their creativity freely, it also provides them an opportunity to exercise the power of deciding what they want to design or build, and the techniques to apply.
It is important to emphasise that the objectives of this activity is not to finish the product or make sure it looks good, but the immeasurable value of the children’s enjoyment during the process of experimenting and discovering which ultimately helps to promote creativity. At the end of the session, ask open-ended questions like, “Tell me about your drawing,” or “Why did you draw this?”. This enables children to evaluate their creativity and build their confidence through the communication. Don’t be surprised by their extraordinary interpretation of their art piece!
Here are some items you might find it useful for art jamming at Preschool Marketplace:
4. Encourage and allow room for mistakes
Fostering creativity in classrooms includes allowing room for mistakes too! Creative thinking has no right or wrong and has no boundaries. Kids have endless ideas and incredible imagination, and what’s crucial here is not to be judgemental or critical about it but to guide them in thinking through their ideas. Pre-mature judgement will cause them to be afraid of making mistakes and as a result curb their creativity juice from flowing.
In contrast, respecting their ideas and allowing room for mistakes helps them to learn and find solutions themselves. Encourage the children to explore, take risks, and ignite their critical thinking skills to finding and learning new approaches to doing things.
5. Take it out of the classroom
Source: Jurong Frog Farm (https://www.facebook.com/jurongfrogfarm)
Inspiration is not restricted within the four walls. Most of the time, the best and most interesting work that the children present involves an intense sensory experience from an outdoor trip or adventure. It can be enjoyable even if it’s a simple activity like bringing them out for a walk to interact with the environment, observing and discussing the weather, nature and objects along the way.They can then abstract many creativity inspirations from their experiences during the field trip which can be translated into drawings or other art forms.It is a great way for them to do reflection, learning to be detailed, as well as enhancing their memory.
6. Stimulate imaginative thoughts by posing questions
Instead of giving the children exact instructions on a certain project, pose open-ended questions to activate their curiosity, motivate them to think out of the box, and cultivate the ability to find solutions or answers themselves. It promotes divergent thinking which encourages children to think deeper and employ creative thinking skills.
You can start by asking questions in sequels of the difficulty levels, For example, you can begin with an easier question like, “How many rabbits do you see?”, and then increase difficulty level to, “What kind of playground should we build for them?”.
7. Encourage imaginative play
Image source: The Simple Parent
Children can have the freedom to express themselves through role-playing and pretend play activities which enable them to experiment and understand the different social roles, values, and perspectives. Again, this should not be under a controlled settings with intrusive directions from an adult, but rather a stimulated free form play where they can exercise decision making that is not carried out to meet the adult’s expectations. Imaginative play also helps to build social development as they interact with other kids, not forgetting the opportunity to experiment with the different reactions to the different scenarios.
Other than what we have listed in this article, there are many other activities to instill creativity development in classes for educators to combine it with their teaching goals. Most importantly, you have to test and experiment which activities are more effective and suitable for your children.
Do you have any other great creativity development techniques which you’ve employed successfully? Share with us in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you!
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