Top 10 Ways to Nurture Creativity In Young Children
Nurturing creativity involves providing opportunities for children to problem solve, think “outside the box”, brainstorm, discover through trial and error.
See the picture above as an example of creativity at its best: Play dough creation by my five year old girl. You could place pipe cleaners, buttons, beads, candles, feathers and sequins in a “mystery box” (see number 3 on the list below) and use those items to inspire a play dough creation.
1. Ask questions. What will happen if….? What changes would you make to improve….(for example, it might be a toy, a piece of equipment at the park). How can we find out….?
2. Use a “resource” for example paddle pop sticks, or pipe cleaners and see how many creations your child can come up with this one resource.
3. Provide a “mystery box” when using play dough, blocks or painting. A mystery box is a box containing all sorts of bits and pieces to inspire creations. You might include natural items such as shells, flowers, leaves or choose man made materials. Small figurines, parts of toy collections, ribbon, small pieces of fabric and miniature items are perfect for this. Children can use these items as a source of inspiration to create with their play dough, blocks or paint.
4. Challenge your child to think of as many different uses as they can for an everyday household item (for example a bowl, a wooden spoon, a paper plate) – considering non-traditional uses is the aim of the game.
5. Spend time cloud gazing. What sorts of images can you see in the clouds?
6. When drawing or painting, provide different types of canvases to inspire new ideas. For example, cut out some coloured door shapes, secure them (one edge only so they can be opened) to the paper. Invite your child to draw what they think could be behind the door.
7. Another idea to encourage children to think “outside the box” is to draw a shape, or line, thengive your child the challenge of incorporating the shape or line into their drawing.
8. Tinker. Give children household items that can be taken apart and put back together.
9. Set up problem solving challenges for your child. Have your child brainstorm all possiblities (realistic and not so realistic). Organise your ideas onto a mind map. Creative challenges might include transforming a box into a car that has working wheels, or create boats that float.
10. Embrace mess, mistakes and provide plenty of time for children to explore, experiment and discover with a diverse range of resources and materials.
(Children need to be closely supervised by adults during these activities and not left unattended)
Elise Ellerman is a mum to three young children and the founder and owner of a brand new Brisbane based business, Creative Play Central, where nurturing children’s creativity through open ended play is valued. At Creative Play Central Elise, a former teacher, designs and personalises innovative activities for children (aged eight months to six years) that require lateral thinking, problem solving and “thinking outside the box”.At Creative Play Central we liaise with parents and carers so that we can create playful experiences that suit the needs and interests of the children who will be enjoying them. We offer several different services which can be viewed on our website at www.creativeplaycentral.com.au. We also run seminars throughout the year and our next seminar is on May 9 at Club Pacific, Carindale at 9:45am. The topic for this seminar is Creatingwith Recycled Materials. More details regarding this seminar can be seen on our Events page on our website.