At VBS this week I loved watching kids create. We painted with tempera paint and used stamps to decorate a Bible verse poster. But my favorite activity of the week was painting "kangaroo-style." The kids dipped small slinkys in paint and then bounced the paint on the paper to create designs. Lots of fun.
But creativity is not limited to the art center. I saw kids building an airport with the blocks and creating designs with magnet shapes. I heard conversations on the telephones and saw lots of family situations played out in the homeliving center. I even saw some creative movement during group time as we moved to music and played rhythm sticks.
As adults we often have preconceived ideas about how children should use materials in a center. We plan an art activity that should be done only one way - and everyone makes something that looks just the same. In blocks, we tell them to build a church or a zoo and don't encourage their own creative ideas. Plan some activities that allow a child to explore and express his own ideas. Ask questions about what they are thinking; encourage them to experiment with the materials in different ways. Sometimes their ideas use materials in ways that we may not even consider.
I'm always surprised with the things children create. What can you do to encourage more creative ideas among your kids?
Photo by R. Scott Wiley