Children are naturally creative. Picasso said “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Too often, activities for children ask too little of them. “Follow these directions and you’ll get a glass jar filled with layers of colored sand.” Pretty? maybe, creative? no. Widely used crafts like these miss an important opportunity to support children in the creative process: nourishing both right and left brain abilities to dream, brainstorm, plan, problem-solve, synthesize, interpret, express and execute an original vision.
The word ‘creative’ has become a ubiquitous buzzword, plastered on children’s products from craft kits to math games, but the essence of the word; the power and ability to invent, is missing from the outcome. In order for an activity to support the development of real creativity, it must allow children the space, materials, support and respect to engage in the creative process; a process that involves the invention of something new.
What makes an activity creative? Children's work is creative when it:
- Is open-ended: Children are in charge of the outcome, regardless of what the outcome looks like.
- Engages imagination and feelings: Children have an opportunity to discover what it is they want to say, and how they want to say it.
- Emphasizes the process: The act of creating supports organizational, problem-solving, social, motor, science skills, literacy, and much more.