I love the creativity of children. Although my son has PLENTY of toys, lately he has been creating his own Ben 10 characters. Are you familiar with Ben 10? Ben is a boy who uses of his trusty Omnitrix to turn into different alien forms. Along with his cousin, Gwen, and another young man, Kevin, they use their special powers to fight the bad aliens who come to take over the Earth. Anyway, James has been drawing his own characters on cardboard and playing with them. Pictured are Jet Ray (the blue one) and Ultimate Jet Ray (the red one). I'll tell ya...this kid knows his Ben 10.
But, back to children's creativity. It is important for adults to understand that creativity is about the creative process the finished product. If you go to a childcare center or school where young children are and you see that all the displayed projects look the same...there is not much creativity going on. Children create using their feelings and personal experiences. They need to be allowed to create freely and without fear of being judged. Children often work out and try to understand their feelings using creative outlets. Adults can learn a lot about what is going on in a child's head by paying attention to what they are working on and how they are doing it. Cognitive abilities also occur as children experiment with their theories, new ways of thinking and practice problem-solving skills. We also get to celebrate each child's uniqueness and observe their growing knowledge through their activities.
So, what can adults do to stimulate children's creativity? Provide plenty of opportunities for creative thinking and play. Really listen to your children as they play. Talk to your children about what they are doing and why. You will learn so much about who they are. Learning more about this part of your child will help you provide experiences and materials that are targeted to their specific interests and talents. Make sure you children have plenty of materials with which to create. Paper, pencils, crayons, markers, stickers, glue (yes, I said glue), scissors, etc. are important staples. Dress-up clothes, kitchen items, dolls, etc., will make it possible for children to engage in spontaneous, self-directed dramatic play. Also, provide a wide range of experiences which give them access to creativity and diversity. The more experiences children have outside of their "normal" lives, the more they have to draw from in their play (Your child can also use this knowledge they've gained when they are reading!). Let them know that you support their efforts.
For more about children's creativity, check out this article:
So, my assignment to you is to get creative with your child's creativity!