Stimulating Creativity

Parents, educators and other adults need to provide both the resources and the opportunities to interact with children to encourage, support and extend their creativity.

Directing a child’s creativity by asking them to draw a particular object (e.g. a dog, frog), or to make a particular object (e.g. a giraffe out of toilet rolls) is not encouraging the child’s creative development and could lead feelings of failure inadequacy or incompetence.

The environment that surrounds the children should be filled with materials and stimuli such as pictures, photographs, flowers, animals or real objects and natural artefacts from the world around them. Then you can encourage the children to interpret the information around them, create the idea or concept within themselves and to express what they see outwardly for others to view and enjoy.

If a child only wants to paint one line of paint on a large piece of white paper, you should avoid suggesting that they keep painting. That one line of paint may represent something specific the child wanted to express, as part of his or her own creativity. You need to respect the child’s decision and remember it is the child’s work and their way of expressing themselves.
All children’s efforts or creative thoughts and ideas should be respected and encouraged using positive language.

Think back to when you were a child. Did you ever have imaginary friends or make up your own imaginary games, like having a shop, making a cubby house out of sheets or making imaginary mud cakes?

These games and experiences, where you were involved in free time to create your own play are often the most memorable!

Creative experiences can promote the following aspects of children’s learning:

  • imagination and experimentation with possibilities
  • appreciation of various ways of engaging with ideas, materials, processes and a range of media
  • sensory exploration of the world, objects and materials indoors and outdoors
  • the ability to generate ideas and solutions, innovate and invent
  • exploration of, and interest in multiple ways to create and represent with a variety of media materials, tools and processes
  • exploration of, and interest in multiple ways to create and represent visually, using sound, movement and language
  • exploration of, and interest in arts elements and principles and their use when creating and representing ideas, feelings and experiences
  • exploration of, and interest in representing and creating through imaginative, fantasy, symbolic and dramatic play
  • exploration of, and interest in cultural, traditional and contemporary music, visual arts, dance, drama and media

Educators can use a range of methods to nurture creativity through experiences:

  • pose questions that encourage wonder and imagination, e.g. “I wonder what might happen if …?”, “Imagine if …?”, “How amazing would it be if …”
  • support children to select, display and respond to interesting images and objects, both collected and made, and artworks, by drawing attention to their sensory and aesthetic qualities
  • prompt children to try many ways to use materials, media and tools, e.g. “What’s another way to use the sponge with the paint?”, “How could you use the fabric pieces in your dance/pretend play ‘show’?”
  • prompt children to consider possibilities for using objects, sounds, movements and language to symbolise ideas, e.g. fabric to represent a lake, or experiment with their voice to create sounds
  • prompt children to move in different ways as you play different or changing rhythms on a tambourine, e.g. move different body parts, change speed, direction or level of movement
  • use specific language to draw children’s attention to aspects of colour, texture, shape or pattern as they paint, print, construct or sculpt
  • ask challenging questions to prompt children to explore ways to use their voice, language, gestures, costumes and/or props related to roles they take in pretend games, e.g. “What words, type of voice or tools might the ambulance officer use?”
  • support children to play with and share ideas about media in play contexts, e.g. ways to create and use digital images, ways to create a pretend play game based on a familiar children’s TV program
  • plan opportunities to explore different types of musical experiences indoors and outdoors, e.g. sing, chant, use instruments, compose music, respond to diverse types of music, exploring rhythm, beat, volume and pitch
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