A recent study by IBM stated that among over 1,500 senior executives, creativity was chosen as the number one ingredient for sucess in business. It was agreed that creativity is more influencial in success than vision, discipline or integrity! That may seem like an interesting statement when at first but take a step back and think about the business leaders we see in our world today. Business leaders today have learned the importance of creativity, that means being able to think outside of the box, ask open ended questions and feel comfortable with the fact that there may be more than one way to do something. This vitally important skill, creativity, is something we as parents and caregivers must realize is so important to nurture in our own infant, toddler and preschool age children!
So how do we nurture creativity in a child, even if we don’t feel like it’s a skill we naturally posses in ourselves? Let’s explore some ideas!
How Thinking With Creativity Can Teach Children To Be More Collaborative
When children are a habit of thinking with creativity they can approach situations different than peers than haven’t mastered this skill yet. Creative thinkers can collaborate with their peers and assess the strengths each of them may individually bring to the table. Depending on their age, they may also understand that while they have their own unique strengths and skills, so does each of their peers! In preschool classrooms we see this done in ways that are age appropriate but the collaborative action is still just as apparent, for example –
A group of preschool children are working together to create a building in a block center. The group of students may choose to all work together through each step until it’s finished or they may choose to split up the design and give everyone a chance to build in an area they are best at. This means that when working together to build a castle, one child may volunteer to build the bridge, one to build the moat, one to build the castle structure and another child may volunteer to get people figures from a neighboring play center to live in the castle!
While the same end result was reached, the second approach models something you would see in a high level business meeting where tasks are not given to individuals who do not show strength in the area, instead tasks are assigned based on each individuals strength and efficiency level. The creativity required to properly delegate tasks ensures that the job can be completed as quickly and accurately as possible, the first time.
Expressing Creativity Through Art
Creativity is something that many feel feel is best expressed through art! Because there are countless methods and forms to not only creating but viewing art, it is a great place to launch! If your child enjoys the opportunity to create and experiment with colors, mediums or styles, a trip to the art museum might really spark their creativity!
Paint with alternative mediums and materials – instead of heading straight to the paint aisle for your next project consider using a fun alternative for the experience! Children can experiment painting with items such as feathers, kitchen utensils, their fingers, toes, or running play cars and truck through paints! Items such as baby food, ice cubes, and homemade sensory paints make great alternatives to traditional paint!
Switch up the environment – Switching to a new environment can completely change the experience for preschoolers (and adults!) Spend some time in the backyard, at the park, on a hike or simply visiting a local coffee shop with some crayons and paper!
Remember creativity looks different for everyone – While some children will prefer a project that is neat and tidy, others will prefer to fully explore the experience. As long as it’s enjoyable and new ideas are explored, there’s really no right or wrong way to be creative!
Nurturing Creativity In Preschoolers Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive
While it can be fun to splurge on materials from time to time that you know your child will enjoy, encouraging children to upcycle and create with recycled materials has lasting impact on not only the environment but also their learning.
Let them lead – When re-purposing materials, the sky is truly the limit. Let your child lead the experience by saying something like “Wow, this (empty) laundry detergent container is a really interesting shape, what do you think we could make with it?” Then be ready to follow their lead!
Keep materials on hand – instead of tossing out the empty gallon of milk or peanut butter container, safely clean it up and set it aside for your child to explore!
Some of the most creative experiences children have often come from a time they were exploring on their own. As parents and caregivers, it can be hard to break the habit of constantly feeling like we need to supply our children with activities and play ideas! Breaking this habit will ultimately prove worthwhile as coming up with their own ideas will continue to fuel a child’s self esteem and encourage their belief in themselves and their choices. As always, ensure healthy and safe boundaries are in place at all times!
Creativity Is Vital To STEAM Learning!
The ability to be creative and think outside the box is something that fuels STEAM centered learning. When preschool students feel free to express themselves and try something new, the result has potential to make a lasting impression. At Valley Child Care & Learning Center, you’ll see different aspects of STEAM learning weaved into every area of our lesson plans. Our classrooms provide space for innovation, engineering, designing, experimenting, communication and discovery for preschool children, preparing them not only for success in their school years but also into adulthood! You can encourage creativity with this style of open-ended, STEAM learning at home by –
Being intentional about books and screen time your child is exposed to – these days there is no shortage of information in the world – use it to your advantage! Research and build your family library with titles that discuss inventors and creators, ensure screen time includes content that is stimulating and encourages new ideas.
Research, research, research – the materials children play with and interact with most can be most influential in their learning. Choose toys and materials for your home that are stimulating and have potential to be multi-purposed. As much as possible, refrain from constant direction and allow their creativity to flow naturally!