A Japanese Method to Develop Creativity in Kids
How to Develop Creativity in Preschool
Creativity may be defined as the process of creating original ideas and using abstract thinking to find solutions to problems. Creativity in children can be measured by ideational fluency - the number and variety of solutions envisioned in response to a singular prompt. For example, children who are asked to brainstorm as many ways as possible to fill a glass of water are participating in an exercise in ideational fluency. Ideational fluency is the basis for creative problem solving - a skill that is necessary to the educational success of school-aged children - and studies show that preschoolers are especially receptive to creative development. Therefore, it is a good idea to expose preschool-aged children to creative opportunity. Follow these directions for how to develop creativity in preschool.
Create an environment that stimulates creativity.
- Display art and craft projects at children's eye-level.
- Stock the classroom with a wide variety of materials for creative play, including clay, paint, colored pencils, sand, pails, shovels, molds, stamps, stickers, putty, play dough, chalk, crayons, markers, construction paper, pipe cleaners, games, puzzles, books, blocks, string, Styrofoam and more.
- Expose children to diversity in the classroom by using decorative objects, learning materials and preschool curriculum lessons that are representative of cultures and ways of life from all over the world.
- Decorate with a variety of novel, whimsical and unexpected objects to spark children's imaginations.
Exhibit an attitude that promotes creativity in preschool.Studies show that this is a critical factor in regards to fostering a child's creativity. The type of attitude that is most conducive to bringing out creativity in children has the following characteristics:
- Present problems with multiple solutions, as opposed to 1 "right" answer. A preschool curriculum for developing creativity should include open-ended problems with the potential for many creative solutions. For example, rather than ask what color an object is, ask how many objects can be found for a color.
- Allow flexibility in interpreting instructions, as opposed to an enforcing strict methodology. For example, rather than tell preschoolers how to complete a project in step-by-step format, give them all of the project materials and ask them to figure out how to put it together.
- Encourage imaginative play. Preschool curriculum should not be regimented, but instead should allow children to create their own play games and follow their impulses.
- Maintain an attitude of non-judgment. The critical examination of a child's ideas should be encouraged, no matter how far out or unrealistic those ideas may seem. Additionally, original and creative ideas should be acknowledged with positive regard.
- Praise the creativity and methods used during the execution of a task, as opposed to praising only the completed project.
- Ask a lot of questions. Probe preschoolers for explanations as they engage in creative play, and encourage them to elaborate.
- Provide choices. Encourage children to provide input about what they want to do and how they want to do it.
Conduct activities that help children develop creativity.
- Brainstorming games are a great way to bring out creativity in children. Some examples of brainstorming games include: telling children to describe what they would do if they were in a different time/place, asking them to tell a story using only gestures and taking turns building a story - 1 sentence at a time, per student.
- Art projects should be an integral part of the preschool curriculum - not just considered recess or play time. Allow children to choose from the classroom stock of materials, and to have free creative reign when engaging in art time.
Avoid things that are proven to stifle creativity.
- Reward systems. Studies show that, when children expect to earn rewards for "correct" answers or "good" behavior, they actually modify their behavior in a way that restricts their ability to think creatively and uniquely.
- Expectations. Letting children know before they complete a project that they will be judged or graded for their work limits creativity in preschool settings.
- Observation. When children are being watched as they work, they are less likely to express uninhibited creativity.
- Certain toys. Talking dolls and toys that talk or sing to you are good for learning once a week, but that is all. Otherwise children will not play or think of how to use the toy, they just listen and this can teach, but should only be used once a week.
- Only CD players. Yes, use these once a week, but not every day. You should be playing instruments, not just pushing a button.
- To get some perspective on the creative abilities of preschool children, ask them to teach you for 1 day. Not only will it be a great activity for creative stimulation, but it will also provide further insight into your preschoolers' preferences.
- Don't let your own creative influences affect what you provide to your students. Try things outside of your own comfort zone! You may find something new!
- Don't forget that art is not the only way to stimulate creativity in children. Anything that encourages children to think in an abstract way can help increase ideational fluency.
Video: 15 ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS DEVELOPMENT
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