Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guest Post; Harnessing Childrens Creativity

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Hi everyone, it’s Naomi here from Look See. While Natalie is spending some quality time with the new bub (congratulations Nat!), she asked if I’d do a guest post about developing creativity in kids. I’m a full-time high school teacher and do photography and graphic design in my spare time. I’ve always been a creative kid myself and love that I get to see children being creative in my day job.

I thought I’d talk about a couple of areas that I believe personally are important in developing children’s creativity. And this has come from my own experience – either as a kid myself or as a teacher.

First of all is the need to model creativity. Kids need to see adults being creative in order to learn how to be creative themselves. My mum loved to take photos of us when we were growing up. We were encouraged to take photos as well and we each had access to a simple, inexpensive camera (and this was in the age before digital cameras).  I recall taking photos together and getting them developed, then spending time together looking at the results.

At school, I have seen so many students become inspired when they have viewed the adults around them attempting creativity. Whether it’s in art, music, woodwork, cooking, writing – whatever the creative mode, show kids that it’s ok to muck in, have a go, make mistakes and learn from them – and that in fact, is pretty much the creative process anyway.

Secondly, I mentioned above about making mistakes. Creativity is a process. It’s very rare that you create something you are immediately satisfied with. And that’s ok. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it doesn’t have to always be a polished piece. Sometimes it’s great to create, just for the sake of creating. It’s a cliché because it’s true – mistakes are how we learn. So, providing support through mistakes definitely assists in developing children’s creativity.
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Finally, an environment that is conducive to creativity is so important. I remember growing up that mum had major plans to paint the interior of the house. I remember her talking about it forever – and it didn’t actually happen until I was about twelve. In the meantime, we were allowed to draw and paint and write on our bedroom walls – I guess her thinking was that it was all going to be covered up at some point anyway! Looking back on this, I can’t help but think that mum was a bit mad (in the best way) but I think how lucky we were to be encouraged to be creative as kids.

As a teacher, I recall a particular student who hated the journal writing we did each week in English. He’d try every trick in the book and eventually ask if he could go to the toilet (the first time he did this, he spent 20 minutes in there hoping that he’d miss the journal writing session). He promised me that he would tell the whole class a story when he came back if he didn’t have to write it down. I agreed. He came back and would tell the funniest, most entertaining tales we’d heard – jungles, crocodiles, heroes, you name it. Technically I was supposed to make him write it down, but the way I saw it, I could let him tell the story and encourage his creativity or I could make him write it and stifle it.

And just because I can, here are a couple of links for you with cool creative projects that are probably just as much fun for the grownups as they are for the kids:
~ Paper dots garland by Oh Happy Day {Lots of other great do-it-yourself projects}
~ T-shirt painting by Artsy Ants {Also plenty of other goodies here}

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Thanks for reading – here’s to getting paint all over your hands!
Look See
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  1. Great post, awesome links. Love that your mum let you go crazy with the walls :)