This time of year is magical! Yes, it’s chaotic, noisy, messy, fun, exhilarating…and really, we wouldn’t want it any other way! Between Santa, Christmas Crackers, holly, ivy, snowpeople…there is so much scope for children’s imaginations to have free rein…so much for them to talk about, think about, explore and discover.
But, when I see a line of identical Christmas trees, or pictures of holly, or shapes stuck on a page all in the same positions, clearly adult led, it is evident that this hasn’t really been carried out by the children, with them as willing participants, enjoying and exploring. When we really look at this kind of art, we don’t see anything of the child’s own creativity and ideas, their thoughts and individuality.
On the other hand, when I see, as I did this morning, children painting pine cones, leaves, cardboard tubes, clay angels and timber trees, chatting, laughing, being really creative and imaginative…then it’s wonderful. And bringing the magnifying glass to see things up close and talk and think more….that’s magic!
The Victoria and Albert Museum says:
Creativity is the ability to challenge, question and explore. It involves taking risks, playing with ideas, keeping an open mind and making connections where none are obvious.
This is what all template based art lacks…playing with ideas, making connections where none are obvious, challenging, questioning and exploring!
Some children may enjoy some colouring in…occasionally, but very few children truly enjoy sticking a shape, be it Santa, a leaf or a circle on to a page in a position decided by an adult!
Supporting children to explore their creativity requires us to let go of our adult notions of what a Christmas tree looks like, or how a cow or a cat or a car are drawn. We have to realise that, faced with a blank canvas, what a child chooses to put on that page or sheet of card or piece of wood or pine cone is their imagination, their thoughts, their ideas. And we may not recognise it as anything…they may not intend it to be anything specific either: And that is great!
Sometimes we might feel that parents expect the perfect product, but in reality, parents want to see their child having fun, being themselves and being creative. They realise that the so called cookie cutter crafts are planned, created and carried out by adults. And, let’s face it…cutting out all those Christmas trees or Santa hats or whatever is boring, time-consuming and hard on the fingers!
So this Christmas share with us how you encourage children to play with ideas, to explore and get lost in the wonder of paint, glue, glitter, touch, feel, mixing, smelling and being creative!
We would love to hear about the materials your children can explore, what ideas they create and how their real creativity is fostered and supported, indoors and outdoors!