Creativity can be described as thinking freely, looking at and making sense of things from different angles, and seeing a variety of perspectives; or in a way, remaining a child. Nobody is uncreative, there are only those who are more or less hindered, or in need of a long or short term education.
The foundation of a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development is laid in the early childhood period. Creativity is an inherent trait of a child. Children begin to explore their surroundings as soon as they gain control of their body. Unlimited curiosity and imagination push a child first into knowing his surroundings, and then changing it. In time. the control would increase, and these changes will carry the distinction of being different from that of others. A child needs conscious support of adults in order to put forward such a trait. For the emergence of such trait, which actually everyone carries, a healthy emotional and social environment for the child is a must. A few examples that first come to mind are; having self-confidence and a sense of independence, boldly confronting situations when needed, taking risks, being able to fail and not give up, being curious and inquisitive, and tolerance to diversity.
Some of the important factors of creativity are enrichment of the stimuli around children, and preparation of a rich learning environment that is at the appropriate level of the children. Therefore, these rich stimuli must be presented in an environment where the children are given the opportunity to play comfortably.
Children should be educated in a way that allows them to understand their environment and their world. The preschool period is the starting point of this education. Children show their imagination and creativity everywhere. The ambiguity between reality and imagination in their games is what distinguishes them from adults.
Children must have freedom for real creativity. Einstein always wondered about the universe and was constantly asking questions. Whereas we always keep our thoughts within limits while we educate ourselves. However, creativity requires thinking outside of the box. In a survey in Tony Buzan’s book “The Power of Creative Intelligence”, people from different age groups are tested, and following results emerged in terms of creativity:
Children in kindergarten have 95-98%, Children in middle school have 50-70%, University students have 30-50%, Adults have less than 20% creativity.
In the preschool period, where creative potential and the use of imagination are at their highest, it is possible to enhance children’s creativity through a variety of activities such as games, music, drama, and stories.
Materials that are appropriate to the child’s development stages should be selected for activities that will reinforce creativity. The common feature of these materials is that there is no correct way to use them; so the child can use them in any way he pleases and create whatever he wants, and there is no right or wrong.
Play Games with Your Child: Instead of playing adult games that can be played with children, you play the children games with him. Share your favorite childhood game with your child.
Cook Together: Children enjoy touching their food the most, playing with them in their plates. Food is a three dimensional material for children. Also by squeezing or doing whatever he wants to a dough, a child can process his aggression without damaging anything. This activity also increases the child’s ability to cope with dirt and clutter.
Make Collages: Collage is bringing different materials together in order to create a shape and composition. It allows the child to choose whatever interest him from various materials like sponges, wrapping papers, seashells, ribbons, newspapers and magazine pages, and create different themes by cutting and pasting said materials on a cardboard. Collage is an activity that requires patience, therefore little children spend less time on it, whereas those in the preschool period can spend 15–20 minutes or more on it.
Read Aloud: Read fairy tales, poetry and stories to your child. Words have no limits. Listening to stories will enrich your child’s fantasy world. Stories, words build connotation. Thus, you would be feeding his creativity.
Paint With Watercolors and Finger Paints: Paint is another important material that reduces stress and enhances creative experience. It is preferred due to its bright colors and its ability to feed the direct sensory experience of the children.
Learn New Things: Children spend every moment of their life by learning new things. Join them also. Support your child‘s keeping a diary or taking photographs. Thus, he will develop self-confidence and learn different ways to communicate.
Turn Off The TV: Although some television programs are educational, tv in general is a waste of time. It is the child being passive and watching someone else’s ideas instead of creating his own. It is important to limit the time spent watching television.
Answer His Questions: Questions are the greatest learning tool for children. What? Why? How? Who? When?.. Always answer your child‘s questions. Because they build their knowledge by combining and establishing a connection between the answers they receive. These informations develop their imagination.
Benefit From Nature: Give him the opportunity to study the environment and make discoveries by going on open field trips. The nature is full of toys that will ensure the development of his creativity.
Make Time: Your workload or tiredness can prevent you from spending time with your child. However, even only a few minutes every day may be enough for you and for your child.
Make Creative Thinking a Lifestyle: Creativity is valuable. It shows that your ideas and choices are precious, and what is important is the process not the product.
During activities that enhance creativity, it is best to watch what he would do instead of asking him to do something. The child should be allowed to draw anything as how he sees it, and not how it actually is. It should be noted that creative children investigate, examine, ask questions and make surprising attempts; and today’s world needs free thinking, creative individuals who are inquisitive, curious, excited and undaunted.
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