Wednesday, March 12, 2014

5 Ways to Encourage Child Creativity

Schools don’t have to kill the creativity Sir Ken Robinson laments in his popular video. To follow are a few ideas that can teachers can share with parents, or use in their classrooms, to provide young people with the inspiration to be creative.  

1) Create safe havens
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way tells the guardian that by “Creating safe havens where our children are allowed to dream, play, make a mess and, yes, clean it up, we teach them respect for themselves and others.”

2) Interact with your child
Spend time interacting with your child while she is learning. For example when learning about historical events you can discuss questions like, “what do you think happens next?” Then you can compare what they thought would happen with the reality and talk about what outcomes might have been had events occurred in another way.  These “inbetween” lesson times are ideal for creative thinking. You can find materials for these types of activities at places like the Library of Congress Primary Source Sets or Pencil Street kids history resources.

3) Don’t Meddle
Sometimes it makes sense to ensure children have resources then step back and let them go. If this seems to contradict the advice to interact with your child, you are right. The key is to be in touch and know when your child may benefit from interactive dialogue and when doing so might get in the way.

4) Use video for inspiration
We’ve all heard of YouTube, but there are other places to find inspirational videos that spur creativity. TED Talks provide a platform for some of the world’s greatest minds to give the talk of their life. TED-Ed let’s you connect it to a lesson.  If your child likes to make things, visit “Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show.” Sylvia serves as a Super Awesome guide to make all sorts of things.

5) Provide various opportunities to shine
Children like to express themselves in different ways. Provide with the resources to do so and let them decide how they want to create. For some this may be going to 5 MIN and making a five minute instructional video. others may want to create a game using Scratch, or perhaps you know a child who would like to use Comic Life to create a story. Help children get to know their learning style and various tools that enable them to express themselves in the ways they choose.

So, what do you think? Could some of these ideas help inspire creativity with the children you know? Which ideas seem like ones you’d like to try? Are there any you have tried? What happened? Are their challenges or concerns that might get in the way of implementing these ideas?

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