Creativity is one of the strongest indicators for success in life. And just before you say, well I’m not creative, you need to stop yourself because that’s not how creativity works. You see, we all have the same amount of potential when it comes to creativity, the difference is in how we make it flourish.
Play is one of the best ways we can encourage creativity to develop in our children. If we are able to provide opportunities for activities such as drama, art, music, imaginary play, digging, playing outside and cooking, we are certainly creating the optimal environment for creativity and higher order thinking skills to flourish!
Put simply, these activities are so beneficial because they are open ended. This means that there are several ways to succeed and fail, thus encouraging your child to think and act accordingly. In this environment your child will learn to think and make, evaluate and assess, synthesise and analyse. These are the skills we hope our children to have in big wide world, so it seems almost too good to be true that play can help establish such vital thinking tools.
The sad thing is however, that play is on the decline. Research has shown that babies, toddlers and children are having less opportunity to play. This is due to a combination of factors such as increased screen time, decreased opportunities to play outside, busier family routines and lifestyles and changing curriculum expectations for children starting Prep and Kindergarten.
As a teacher, I am beginning to see the impact of this in the classroom. Children now have increased social issues, more trouble with creative writing tasks and find lunchtime ‘boring’ as they aren’t able to think of something to do (despite schools now having more organised lunchtime activities than ever before).
Creative play not only helps set the scene for creativity, but it assists with language development, social skills, expressing feelings and emotions and problem solving.
So next time you see your child creatively expressing themselves, watch them for a couple of minutes. You will be amazed at all the complex skills they are learning.
- Alex B, Teacher & Little Wooden Toybox Toy Rep