Recommended ages: toddler, preschool, and school-age
Creativity plays an important role in a child’s development and learning. But when the creative process takes over the entire house, it’s easy to want to curb children’s creative energy. Take a tip from child care centers and a member of CCRI’s Early Learning Team, Lee Perry (who manages our Quality Every Day initiative) – and set up your own Creation Station! Designating an area for creativity gives children their own space to create, while corralling supplies and helping to keep you calm.
Pro Tip: When identifying your space, consider the age of the child when choosing the spot for your Creation Station. Younger children should be close by and within sight, while older children can be in another room.
Watch our video to see how Lee and her son Gray use their Creation Station to encourage Gray’s creativity.
Step 1: Collect materials and tools – not just the usual things, but anything children can use to construct whatever their imaginations can invent.
This is a great way to engage children’s critical thinking skills as they:
- PLAN what they are going to create;
- THINK through which materials are needed to execute their plans; and
- WATCH their plans take shape.
Make sure to include materials that are age-appropriate and challenging (but not frustrating).
Pro Tip: Adjust the activity to best meet the needs of you and your child. Younger children need more assistance and might just want to build with the materials.
Step 2: Help your child talk through his or her plan. Ask open-ended questions to get children to think about what they want to create and how to create it. Repeat back to the child what you hear him or her saying, and elaborate when necessary. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What do you think you want to make?
- What is your plan?
- What do you think you want to do first?
- What else might you need?
Pro Tip: Talking is a powerful way to help children extend their thinking. Note in the video how Lee models helping a child talk through his or her plan.
Step 3: The Big Reveal - Listen and watch as children show what they created and describe the steps taken to implement their plan. You can show your interest by asking questions such as:
- Did your plan go as expected?
- What changes did you make