A home that encourages creative thinking and expression would include:
1. At least one adult (preferably more) who engages the child with thoughtful interaction and also models wondering about the world and a desire to learn.
2. An understanding of the child's unique ways of learning. If we are able to understand the individual needs of our children, we can then create opportunities for them to thrive in their absorption of information and creative expression.
3. Easy access to a variety of materials that allow exploration and creation. They might include a wide variety of art supplies, containers for collections, cooking supplies, dress-up materials, music, natural objects, and things to count, classify and organize.
4. An activation of all the senses. Children (and adults) should always have opportunity to see, taste, touch, smell, and listen to the world around them so they can really begin to understand it.
5. Stories. An important aspect of nurturing a love of learning is to provide children with a language rich environment, which includes such things as labels, notes, lists, and a wide variety of books that include stories, poetry, and informational text. Children also very much need our own words and stories and they need to not always focus on the printed word. When we tell stories to kids, we connect with them and use imagination in a different way than when we read to them.
6. Quiet spaces that provide an opportunity for children to absorb all they take in each day and rejuvenate themselves.
7. A regular connection with nature: studies show that children who play outside in natural environments (not just on playground equipment) play more creatively than those who don't. So perhaps the most important creativity tool is simply the great outdoors.
8. Great questions that really make the child think about the world around them, including questions that allow children to ponder without being told an answer.
9. Laughter. Make a point each and every day to find pleasure and delight in the simple things for laughter, joy, and fun lead to easier access to creativity!
10. Less stuff!
Originally published in July 2010.
Strewing is the very fine art of placing items in seemingly random locations. It provides the opportunity for creativity by allowing a child to stumble upon materials in a natural way, thereby encouraging their exploration, without the child feeling... read more