Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Joy of Creating

Instead of sending your child to the structured art classes in your neighbourhood, which claim to enhance creativity but in fact restrict it, try keeping a box of material that she can manipulate, mix and match and make something out of, within her reach.

(For classrooms and homes)

The Creativity Box may consist of stationery items such as:
  • child-friendly scissors of different kinds including the zigzag ones
  • liquid glue and sticks
  • scotch tape, colourful tapes
  • blu-tack
  • stampers of different designs
  • stapler
  • paperclips
  • stickers
  • paintbrushes, paints
  • colourful pens, glitter pens, felt pens, crayons, pencils, erasers
  • coloured paper- butter paper, construction paper, tracing paper, cardboard paper

And material such as:
  • old cds
  • old greeting cards and envelopes
  • ribbons
  • yarn- cotton and wool
  • used toilet paper and towel rolls
  • egg cartons
  • popsicle sticks
  • seashells, pistachio shells
  • pencil shavings
  • sequins
  • cotton wool
  • empty soap and paste boxes
  • anything that may be waste material could be included

How to do it:

You can spread a mat and sit down with your child, with the material in front of you. Allow her to do it herself, choose what she wants to do and take little risks. Try not criticizing or telling her that that’s not the way you draw or cut, this is not a triangle, let me show you and other such comments that might be discouraging and demeaning. If it’s not a proper circle, let it go. Focus on process and not the product. Don’t aim for perfection. Let it be fully open-ended. You can suggest ideas but don't make it seem like a task.

Gently encourage her to do it herself. At times she will ask you to do something for her like draw a circle, then just draw it out for her instead of saying I want you to do it.  Plus she might have the inhibition to do it because others may have told her she can’t do it. She will watch you do it and next time she will try it out herself. Remember to balance it out.

Appreciate whatever little or ridiculous thing she creates. Be specific with your praise. For example, say something like ‘I liked the colours you have used’ instead of saying ‘it’s very good’. So the child believes that you are genuine in your praise. Put up her artwork around your house. It could be anything from just a square paper with coloured tape stuck on it to a 3D mobile.

Don’t discard her artwork in front of her. After a few days you can discard them but do it discreetly.

Benefits of it:
  • builds self-confidence
  • enhances fine-motor skills
  • enhances attention span and engagement
  • builds language skills (conversational and descriptive language, sentence structure, vocabulary, etc.)
  • enhances sequencing ability- what did you do first, what did you do next, etc
  • children start seeing waste material in a new light- teaches concepts of recycling, reducing and reusing
  • enhances estimation abilities- for e.g. how long a ribbon will I need to cover the edges of the picture frame I am making, how much liquid glue will I need to stick this piece of paper onto the cardboard
  • children become aware of properties of different material like butter paper, corrugated sheet, bubble paper, popsicle sticks, cotton wool etc.
  • children  understand that some materials can undergo change and some can’t, for example, cotton wool will look different if you soak it in water but a plastic bottle cap will remain the same.

   So you see just a simple tool can cover so many subjects- Language, Math, Science, Environmental Science, Visual Arts and enhance the child's confidence. 

1 comment:

  1. couldn't agree more with you Chhavi, as I feel all kids are born creative but overload of instructions and structured training kills it ....