The ability to generate original ideas; develop new possibilities; solve problems; learn from mistakes and use failures to reinvent processes; put your own “stamp” on a product, or service, to differentiate it from others are all at the heart of what it means to be a creative thinker and traits that are highly sought after. Children are the masters of thinking in creative ways, they are pioneers when it comes to inventing and creating. They are not bound by preconceived ideas, taking a risk is all part of the fun and a failure is not necessarily viewed as a setback, in fact, it is often embraced and opens doors to new ways of achieving a goal. Nurturing children’s creativity is essential and strengthening the ability to think in creative ways will result in gaining many beneficial skills that can be used throughout life.
Nurturing children’s creativity is something that parents, carers and educators can do on a daily basis. One way to nurture children’s creativity is to provide creative prompts to encourage children to think in new ways. For example, shadows can be an excellent source of inspiration for young children when it comes to drawing. At night time, my children enjoy making shadows on the walls. I have been taking photos of their silhouettes as they perform various actions, for example looking up, down, with arms stretched out. I have printed these photos and glued one photo per page onto paper (if the silhouette image is looking up, be sure to glue the photo at the bottom of the page so children have space to draw at the top). Give children a sentence starter, such as the girl/boy looked up and couldn’t believe she/he was looking at………..(children then draw what they imagine could be above their heads). Another way to use shadows for drawing purposes involves drawing outside with chalk. Someone strikes a pose and others use chalk to draw something onto the shadow figure. Hands outstretched could be filled with chalk drawings of flowers, ice creams, all sorts of clothing can be drawn onto the figure as well as outlandish hats.
Creating with recycled materials lends itself to creative thinking as “working” with recyclables requires users to think of alternative ways to use the items and explore new possibilities which can often involve problem solving, lateral thinking and discovering through trial and error. The possibilities for creating with bottle top lids seem to be endless, for example, secure a piece of contact to a window (sticky side facing out) and use bottle top lids (as well as other craft supplies such as coloured paper, pens etc) to create a picture. Another idea is to set a creative challenge, for example plan a party for some favourite toys using recycled materials to create the decorations and cake. Old newspapers and magazines can be turned into party hats, scraps of paper could be used to make bunting and a box could be transformed into a cake (cover a box in white paper and for a mess free option secure some contact, sticky side facing out, to the box and encourage children to decorate the box with craft supplies (ribbon, pom poms, feathers or natural resources like flowers). Alternatively, children could use play dough to transform a box into a birthday cake.
used to make bunting and a box could be transformed into a cake (cover a box in white paper and for a mess free option secure some contact, sticky side facing out, to the box and encourage children to decorate the box with craft supplies (ribbon, pom poms, feathers or natural resources like flowers). Alternatively, children could use play dough to transform a box into a birthday cake.
Investing in children’s creativity is vital given the dialogue about creativity and how it is considered to be the currency of the future. This investment involves providing children with a diverse range of experiences that inspire them to problem solve, brainstorm, “think outside the box”, tinker, explore, discover, take risks and learn from mistakes. Children who have developed creative thinking skills at a young age will have a wealth of experiences to draw upon and valuable transferable skills that they can employ throughout their life.
"Nurturing children’s creativity is something that parents, carers and educators can do on a daily basis"
Elise Ellerman is the founder and owner of Creative Play Central and provides several different services to assist parents and educators to provide innovative play ideas and highly creative experiences for young children. The newest service that Creative Play Central is offering (as of August 6) is Imagination Creations which are classes for children aged 3 -10. In these unique classes that have been carefully designed to encourage creative thinking, children use creative prompts to inspire them to think and create in new and original ways. For more details about Creative Play Central’s services as well as details regarding days, times and location for classes please visit the website: www.creativeplaycentral.com.au. Follow us on Facebook for more ideas to nurture creative thinkers.
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