Sunday, 21 December 2014

How to Encourage Independent Creativity

My girls really love creating beautiful pieces of art with their drawings and paintings. I love watching how they express themselves through their artwork. My son on the other hand, is not really big on drawing or painting however he loves to create different things with his hands. This is evident in his engineering interests and his bridge building.

So I have been doing some thinking and reflecting about how I can create an environment that supports and encourages creativity for both my daughters interest in art and my son's interests. Here is what I've come up with.

When we first started home educating, I purchased a small cupboard to store our arts and crafts items in. At that time, my girls were still a toddler and a baby so I need to keep these items out of their way. Now that my children are older, our arts and craft storage cupboard is wide open for all to use. However, it doesn't matter how I organise this cupboard it still ends up in mess! Just in case you don't believe me, I have added a photo below! Ideally I'd love to spread out our items and create an art studio...hopefully one day soon.

So to incorporate my Montessori approach to home education, I have decided to keep the cupboard as a place of storage and take a new direction of using a creative tray.

A variety of resources
This large wooden tray is filled with a range of resources that my children have shown an interest in and use frequently. These resources support my daughters interest in arts and crafts as well as my sons interest in creating and engineering. The idea of using a tray is so I can rotate and change resources from our supply cupboard when needed. At this point in time, the resources on our tray including:
  • glue
  • sticky tape and masking tape
  • straight cutting scissors and crafty scissors
  • stapler
  • hole puncher
  • bottle tops and corks
  • crayons and texters/markers
  • paint brushes and watercolour paint
  • straws and cardboard tubes
  • cotton buds
  • pastels
  • bubble blowing tools (used for painting with)
  • paper clips, rubber bands and string

Together with the tray, I added a small box of recycled items that include old cereal boxes, paper plates, small cardboard boxes, paper bags and paper.

Accessible resources
By using a tray, I have found that our resources for creating are more accessible to my children rather than being stuck in our storage cupboard. Our tray is always on our learning table so this also helps my children to independently choose when they want to create and how they want to do it.

Organised resources
Trying to keep our resources on the tray organised has been possible by using little plastic containers (all recycled) for each of our items. We have used old honey containers to keep our bottle tops and corks in as well as old fruit containers to keep all the scissors together and the markers all in the one place. By doing this, my children are able to see what is available to them and also know where to return each item when they have finished using them.

A place to create
As creative tray sits on our learning table, my children know that this area is where they are able to create freely. The table is large enough for my three children to work on different creative projects at the same time. In this space, I also encourage projects to be left out so that the artist can return to their work at anytime.

I've talked about time before in my post on encouraging an interest in engineering but giving your learner plenty of time is so important. Creativity takes time and it doesn't matter if you are painting a master piece or constructing a sculpture, uninterrupted time is important for the creative process to take place. 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for  more updates on our creative tray. More activity ideas can be found on my Arts, Crafts and Recycling pinterest board.

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  1. Great article. I used to leave things out for my son when he was little but bit by bit it all became stored in the closet. Time to switch back to leaving more things out to experiment and create with. Thanks. Sharing!

  2. Great stuff. Bookmarking this blog for sure.

  3. Keep on posting these types of articles. I like your blog as well. Cheers!!!