Tuesday, October 9, 2012
For children, the creative process is always more important than the end result or product. The benefits lie within the creative activity itself: the enjoyment, the freedom, the exploration, the hands-on learning.
Much has been said about problem-solving skills, which are certainly important. But expecting children to solve a problem, or to come up with solutions, without having ample opportunities to be creative and inventive, can limit their abilities to solve problems.
Therefore, creative-thinking skills are as important as critical-thinking skills. To help foster creativity in children, we can avoid focusing on perfectionism, or on making comparisons or judgments, which only add pressure, stress, and anxiety.
Respect and support for creative endeavors, experiments, and projects is much more helpful. If a project doesn't turn out the way a child anticipated, we can encourage him to try again or to consider a different approach the next time. We want to refrain from taking over the project and telling him how we would do it.
Here are a few ideas on encouraging creativity in your children:
1. Allow plenty of free time for working on creative projects.
2. Create space for projects, so children can easily revisit them and work on projects between other activities.
3. Provide plenty of craft and creative materials: papers, card stock, colored pencils, markers, crayons, paints, paste, glue, tape, safety scissors, clay, craft sticks, chenille stems, beads, sequins, glitter, felt, yarn, buttons, gears, dials, nuts, bolts, spindles, construction pieces, small motor parts or solar parts, etc.
4. Encourage discussions about projects and activities, including "what-if" questions, alternative ideas, and unique visions.
5. Allow quiet time and solitude for contemplation and creation.
6. Be a creative role model, participate in creative projects, and encourage brainstorming sessions and collaboration on projects.
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