Creativity in Children

Nimet Yusuf

Creativity is an important concept as it can help children in many ways. The reason for creativity’s importance is that it develops problem solving skills, different ways of looking at things and being able to reflect on news ways of developing ideas.

As adults in a workplace we are often asked to develop different plans or “think outside the box” and only if we have worked to develop these skills are we able to perform these functions.  Young children need to be given opportunities for these skills to grow and develop and it’s unfortunate that many pre-schools and schools nowadays focus on children’s academic skills rather than provide an enriched creative structure.  Some schools work entirely from a creative curriculum and other’s work entirely from a curriculum with an emphasis of the traditional goals. Many of these goals for example involve being able to form letters correctly and hours are spent repetitively copying letters or words, or alternatively spending hours on repetitive addition and subtraction skills. From my perspective finding a curriculum that has a successful balance of planned intellectual development as well as multiple opportunities for creativity is far more valuable than either of the previously mentioned models of curriculum.

Young children need many opportunities to develop expressive language. Using songs, poetry, rhymes, chants, as well as effective questioning to develop higher level thinking skills, are excellent ways to develop creativity. Children learn that sounds can be made using their voice, they learn that songs can be created to express many ideas. Many teachers of young children will sing instructions or sayings to capture children’s attention. Children realize they can make their own songs – perhaps even their own words to fit the melody of a song.  A teacher who encourages language creativity will ask students to share their song or rhyme. It becomes a celebration of creativity with expressive language. Creativity with language is something that is highly valued in all cultures. Those who are writers and thinkers are admired or revered for their ability to express ideas in new ways. Creativity with language is a highly valued skill. Encourage your child to talk – ask questions that involve thinking, have fun with new words – repeat them many times in different voices.  This leads us into the topic of drama.

Drama is an area that has always supported creative development. Children who participate in role play at an early age have a distinct advantage for creative thought.  By providing materials for imaginative role play of shopping, cooking, caring for babies, playing “house”, playing doctor, playing a construction worker or policeman or many other roles involves creative thinking. Personally I love to see children put on a mixture of costumes and accessories and create an entirely new character. We can teach children to be creative in this type of play by asking questions that involve thinking and also by using language that demonstrates creative thinking – e.g. I wonder what else I could do with this toy? Or imagine you are a fox and you are out looking for some food. What would you do? Once a creative scenario is developed children are always willing to continue to play the roles they have developed and are often reluctant to put it away. It’s possible to create the same type of play at home. Provide a dress up box – fill it with an assortment of accessories such as bags, feather boas, jackets, ties, hats, exotic looking shoes etc.  If it’s presented as an opportunity for fun and enjoyment children will always make use of it. Costumes that are models of TV or movie characters are very restricting in some ways because children feel they have to act in the role of that character. Very little imagination or creativity is involved, so it is much better not to purchase those costumes and provide different materials for their imaginative play. Sometimes stories are a powerful springboard to imaginative play also. Something as simple as a red t-shirt and a pot could lead to acting out a scene from a Winnie-the-Pooh story. Some children find they love to act out different roles and this can lead to a strong interest or desire to become a performer or actor. Having confidence to stand in front of an audience – whether it’s Mom and Dad at home or a full audience in front of a stage – is an amazing ability and showcases a very creative aptitude.

 

Music is another form of creativity. I don’t need to remind you of the thousands of musical artists and performers who exist today or in the past and the equal number who will showcase their talents in the future. Music is a field of creativity with unlimited opportunities. Encouraging children to sing is one of the best ways to enhance language skills and that’s why we sing a lot at Maple Bear. Children love to hear familiar songs over and over again. Making up their own words to familiar tunes is a higher level of creativity and should also be encouraged. I personally believe that every child deserves some musical training – whether it’s piano lessons, voice lessons, drumming lessons, guitar lessons and so on. Playing music is an activity that encourages your soul to soar. We all have different ideas on what’s suitable for young children to be exposed to and I think there is a life time of opportunities for all of us to hear a wide variety of music and while children are young let them hear music intended for young children and not be exposed to the adult themes and musical videos of many musical artists.

Dance is another form of creativity. Everyone knows how cute little girls look in their pink tutus and going to a dance recital is a special treat. So often their costumes are enchanting and the actual dance routines can be very simple but it’s the confidence to be able to stand on a stage and perform that is really enchanting.  Ballet, Jazz, Tap Dancing, Hip Hop, traditional dances and all other forms of organized dance classes are very stimulating for some children – others find it all rather dull. It’s also stimulating for children to create their own dance moves. Putting on some music that encourages movement in a free form is a great way to develop gross motor skills. Hopping like a bunny, slithering like a snake, flying like a bird or butterfly can have so many different interpretations and can be a creative process for children to learn. Dance can also be a way for showing emotions such as fear, surprise, joy, anger etc. With dance there is no limit to the creativity expressed.

 

Visual Arts are an essential part of any strong school program. All forms of self-expression should be encouraged whether it’s with crayons, paints, glue, clay etc. there is no right or wrong way to express yourself in art. When you think about how you perceive the looks of a person you know and how Picasso might have visualized those looks, we realize they are probably very different perspectives – neither of them right or wrong. In pre-schools the goals of art for children

  • To express their thinking, knowledge and ideas
  • To explore, try out, and create with new types of media.
  • To experiment with colours, lines, forms, shapes, textures and designs
  • To express feelings and emotions
  • To be creative

Besides building creativity, art builds self-confidence, teaches task analysis, and can be used to promote group and individual projects. By doing this we can encourage children to move from being egocentric individuals to ones who can work and play cooperatively.

 

As teachers, parents and care-givers we need to have confidence in the children’s efforts and make positive comments about those efforts. Encouraging children to make choices of how to express themselves is very important.  It is the process and not the end product that is also important. Encouragement and support along the way is crucial.

You can help develop creativity in your child by

  • avoiding colouring book type line drawings or workbooks,
  • having faith in your child’s abilities and discussing their efforts without placing a value judgement on them,
  • making positive comments as to how the child solves a problem in relating to their work,
  • stating the confidence you have in the child to make the product unique
  • encouraging expressive language development, playing with the sounds of words, sharing stories and taking part in interesting discussions,
  • providing materials that encourage every aspect of creativity
  • taking every opportunity possible to expose your child to the many forms of creativity showcased in your neighbourhood, city or home area.

Creativity is essential for all children and the need for development is our responsibility.

Creativity is an important concept as it can help children in many ways. The reason for creativity’s importance is that it develops problem solving skills, different ways of looking at things and being able to reflect on news ways of developing ideas.

As adults in a workplace we are often asked to develop different plans or “think outside the box” and only if we have worked to develop these skills are we able to perform these functions.  Young children need to be given opportunities for these skills to grow and develop and it’s unfortunate that many pre-schools and schools nowadays focus on children’s academic skills rather than provide an enriched creative structure.  Some schools work entirely from a creative curriculum and other’s work entirely from a curriculum with an emphasis of the traditional goals. Many of these goals for example involve being able to form letters correctly and hours are spent repetitively copying letters or words, or alternatively spending hours on repetitive addition and subtraction skills. From my perspective finding a curriculum that has a successful balance of planned intellectual development as well as multiple opportunities for creativity is far more valuable than either of the previously mentioned models of curriculum.

Young children need many opportunities to develop expressive language. Using songs, poetry, rhymes, chants, as well as effective questioning to develop higher level thinking skills, are excellent ways to develop creativity. Children learn that sounds can be made using their voice, they learn that songs can be created to express many ideas. Many teachers of young children will sing instructions or sayings to capture children’s attention. Children realize they can make their own songs – perhaps even their own words to fit the melody of a song.  A teacher who encourages language creativity will ask students to share their song or rhyme. It becomes a celebration of creativity with expressive language. Creativity with language is something that is highly valued in all cultures. Those who are writers and thinkers are admired or revered for their ability to express ideas in new ways. Creativity with language is a highly valued skill. Encourage your child to talk – ask questions that involve thinking, have fun with new words – repeat them many times in different voices.  This leads us into the topic of drama.

Drama is an area that has always supported creative development. Children who participate in role play at an early age have a distinct advantage for creative thought.  By providing materials for imaginative role play of shopping, cooking, caring for babies, playing “house”, playing doctor, playing a construction worker or policeman or many other roles involves creative thinking. Personally I love to see children put on a mixture of costumes and accessories and create an entirely new character. We can teach children to be creative in this type of play by asking questions that involve thinking and also by using language that demonstrates creative thinking – e.g. I wonder what else I could do with this toy? Or imagine you are a fox and you are out looking for some food. What would you do? Once a creative scenario is developed children are always willing to continue to play the roles they have developed and are often reluctant to put it away. It’s possible to create the same type of play at home. Provide a dress up box – fill it with an assortment of accessories such as bags, feather boas, jackets, ties, hats, exotic looking shoes etc.  If it’s presented as an opportunity for fun and enjoyment children will always make use of it. Costumes that are models of TV or movie characters are very restricting in some ways because children feel they have to act in the role of that character. Very little imagination or creativity is involved, so it is much better not to purchase those costumes and provide different materials for their imaginative play. Sometimes stories are a powerful springboard to imaginative play also. Something as simple as a red t-shirt and a pot could lead to acting out a scene from a Winnie-the-Pooh story. Some children find they love to act out different roles and this can lead to a strong interest or desire to become a performer or actor. Having confidence to stand in front of an audience – whether it’s Mom and Dad at home or a full audience in front of a stage – is an amazing ability and showcases a very creative aptitude.

 

Music is another form of creativity. I don’t need to remind you of the thousands of musical artists and performers who exist today or in the past and the equal number who will showcase their talents in the future. Music is a field of creativity with unlimited opportunities. Encouraging children to sing is one of the best ways to enhance language skills and that’s why we sing a lot at Maple Bear. Children love to hear familiar songs over and over again. Making up their own words to familiar tunes is a higher level of creativity and should also be encouraged. I personally believe that every child deserves some musical training – whether it’s piano lessons, voice lessons, drumming lessons, guitar lessons and so on. Playing music is an activity that encourages your soul to soar. We all have different ideas on what’s suitable for young children to be exposed to and I think there is a life time of opportunities for all of us to hear a wide variety of music and while children are young let them hear music intended for young children and not be exposed to the adult themes and musical videos of many musical artists.

Dance is another form of creativity. Everyone knows how cute little girls look in their pink tutus and going to a dance recital is a special treat. So often their costumes are enchanting and the actual dance routines can be very simple but it’s the confidence to be able to stand on a stage and perform that is really enchanting.  Ballet, Jazz, Tap Dancing, Hip Hop, traditional dances and all other forms of organized dance classes are very stimulating for some children – others find it all rather dull. It’s also stimulating for children to create their own dance moves. Putting on some music that encourages movement in a free form is a great way to develop gross motor skills. Hopping like a bunny, slithering like a snake, flying like a bird or butterfly can have so many different interpretations and can be a creative process for children to learn. Dance can also be a way for showing emotions such as fear, surprise, joy, anger etc. With dance there is no limit to the creativity expressed.

 

Visual Arts are an essential part of any strong school program. All forms of self-expression should be encouraged whether it’s with crayons, paints, glue, clay etc. there is no right or wrong way to express yourself in art. When you think about how you perceive the looks of a person you know and how Picasso might have visualized those looks, we realize they are probably very different perspectives – neither of them right or wrong. In pre-schools the goals of art for children

  • To express their thinking, knowledge and ideas
  • To explore, try out, and create with new types of media.
  • To experiment with colours, lines, forms, shapes, textures and designs
  • To express feelings and emotions
  • To be creative

Besides building creativity, art builds self-confidence, teaches task analysis, and can be used to promote group and individual projects. By doing this we can encourage children to move from being egocentric individuals to ones who can work and play cooperatively.

 

As teachers, parents and care-givers we need to have confidence in the children’s efforts and make positive comments about those efforts. Encouraging children to make choices of how to express themselves is very important.  It is the process and not the end product that is also important. Encouragement and support along the way is crucial.

You can help develop creativity in your child by

  • avoiding colouring book type line drawings or workbooks,
  • having faith in your child’s abilities and discussing their efforts without placing a value judgement on them,
  • making positive comments as to how the child solves a problem in relating to their work,
  • stating the confidence you have in the child to make the product unique
  • encouraging expressive language development, playing with the sounds of words, sharing stories and taking part in interesting discussions,
  • providing materials that encourage every aspect of creativity
  • taking every opportunity possible to expose your child to the many forms of creativity showcased in your neighbourhood, city or home area.

Creativity is essential for all children and the need for development is our responsibility.

 

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