Creating Opportunities for Creativity in Children
In children’s everyday life, we are offered countless opportunities to help our children grow and become more creative. How exactly do we consciously provide and create these chances? Let’s delve into three ways:
1. Provide opportunities for creative arts and craft
2. Enhance imagination by encouraging imaginative play
3. Allow children to experience music, dance and movement
Everyday Offers Countless Opportunities for Creative Development
Provide opportunities for creative arts and craft
This is a classic. We all have been through some sort of art and craft activities even before we were schooled. We have given such activities to our children too. Usually, we had this in the form of crayons and coloring books. But, there are more ways; weaving, pottery, shirt-making and even digital layouts to name a few.
Creative work through arts and crafts provides children the opportunity to express their feelings and ideas. It also builds their imagination. Although, immersing ourselves and our children in arts and crafts often entails patience, skills, attention and sometimes speed; it is highly doable even for younger children. Some common categories of arts and crafts activities are:
- Paper or Canvas Art: drawing, painting, card-making, collage, marbling, etching, origami, patterns and print-making, paper-mache
- Woodwork or Metal-craft: carpentry, small—scale woodwork like mail holders, woodturning, metal or wire jewelry
- Textile: sewing, stitching, embroidering, crochet, knitting, macramé, patchwork, quilting, rug making, tapestry, tatting, weaving and shirt designing
- Plant craft: basket-making, native mat – in the Philippines, we call it ‘banig’, staw hat, decorative items
- Pottery, Ceramics and Resins
Enhance imagination by encouraging imaginative play
Studies suggest that, as children, our brain initially forms images similar to photographs. the images are still and flat. As years go by, studies suggest that these still images become mobile and children are able to appreciate the images much like a film strip or a movie.
Once our brain perceives images as mobile; imagination begins to emerge. Imagination is an important neurological process which allows children to put together and rearrange past stimuli and experiences; thus, creating newer ideas. Therefore, imagination supports creativity.
We, as parents, provide many meaningful precursors to our children’s imagination. Whenever we play alongside our children and pretend for some objects to be something else; like, a block becomes a glass of water which we pretend to drink. This simple pretend play serves as a block by which our children imagine.
Putting pillows together and announcing the child is in cottage can also scaffold their imagination. Likewise, a small blanket turning into a magic carpet and a towel making them superheroes can do the same.
Allow children to experience music, dance and movement
It is believed that 90% of what we all retain in our mind was gained through what we say, hear, see and do. Involving our children in acting, dramatizing, dancing and movement creates links across stimuli and allows alteration and expansion of those ideas, stimuli and experiences. These processes are all creative by nature.
Music, dance and movement help children express their feelings in pre-verbal and non-verbal ways. They learn ways of responding to their perceptions. They eventually, gain deep appreciation and understanding of their perceptions by translating these into different representation. Children get an experience of something beautiful. They are immersed in cultural heritage and diversity too.
Through it all, children who experience music, dance and movement gain deeper understanding of themselves and others. They gain confidence and esteem. They appreciate diversity and are able to personalization their view of the world around them.
Altogether, when we allow children to explore and experiment with a variety of materials, they begin to be creative. They realize how different materials are used; and they realize other possible uses for those materials too. The children begin to learn about the properties of different materials. They learn about its texture, shape, size and color. Through manipulation and use of these materials, children develop their fine motor; as well as their eye-hand coordination skills.
When children are encouraged to be creative, their imagination is enhanced. They are able to create linkages amongst their experiences. They are able to transfer knowledge and understanding gained from one context into another . Their problem-solving skills are also enhanced. Eventually, they see the relationship of themselves in their environment. They are keen on possible contributions they may give and pitch-in. Creating opportunities for our children to be creative consequently creates opportunities for them to be collaborators in this world too.
© 2017 Christine Garay