Friday, June 29, 2012

Everyday Creativty: A List

Engaging children creatively teaches multiple skills. 

The start of a picnic.

Sometimes I think I try to "plan" too much with Ty and Za. In the classroom, I definitely need a plan. At home, I don't always need a plan. It helps to say that we will be at the park by 10:30, home for lunch in about an hour, and down for nap shortly after. Arts and crafts, game playing, and pretending, I've found, need less structure.

The famous singer, on stage.
Sure, I give ideas, or mention other fun ideas to try. I also guard their safety. So often though, if I just let my kids go, they just develop great imaginative play.

Za feeding her two dogs.

I got to thinking, what does all this imaginative play do to help children? Teaching language arts to older students, I often find myself wanting them to think more, to be creative. (I want to be more creative in my life, especially with writing). All of this creativity from young kids, what does it teach them?

Creativity and Imaginative Play Teaches...

1. Problem solving. Having a picnic with plastic food, and you forgot dessert? Turn the hotdog into a licorice stick.

2. Connections to other areas. It thrills me when we are playing outside, and while building a house from wood chips, Ty announces that the park's wood chips are actually already a house for bugs.

3. Freedom to experiment. I do not think my children will have great musical talents, but they are free from any pressure to be rock stars, fire people, or sports heroes when they play pretend. Who knows what that can lead to?

4. Learning from mistakes. Sometimes my kids have an elaborate plan, like making an obstacle course or planning a dinner party. They make mistakes, but learn from them without stress, because it is all imaginative play.

Movie stars.
I know there are tons of lists and articles on the Internet pertaining to imaginative play and its benefits, but I didn't even search for them. I am interested in what I found from my parenting experience, and from yours. What do you think creativity teaches kids? What can we add to the list?