PBS has an excellent website designed to help parents and children explore and play to develop creativity. The subtitle is: “Nurture and Protect Your Child’s Creative Spirit.”

I like the kaleidoscope activity, under “sensory stuff.” This website epitomizes the idea that to learn and be creative, we need TIME TO PLAY! Sadly, most schools provide little time for such activities that are perceived as “frivolous,” since their contribution to test performance may seem indirect at best.

Yet creative minds are PRECISELY what we need in 21st century society. We’ve always needed more creative souls, and not just from an economic or workforce perspective. Creative people make life interesting. Of course, they also drive the economy.

I added a new book to my Amazon wish list today related to creativity: “The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life” by Richard Florida. As you likely know or can guess just from the name of my blog, creativity is something I both highly value and am extremely interested in promoting in educational contexts. Another related book I want to read on creativity, but have not yet taken the time, is “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I was introduced to the concept of “flow” six or eight months ago doing research related to a Sunday School class series I taught on Dr. Richard Swenson’s book “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.” Good ideas with practical applications.

We need to make more time in our lives to slow down, reduce interruptions, increase margin, and foster creative thinking. Those goals may not be on my list of 43 things, but I’m confident they’ll remain high on my priority list for the foreseeable future. (Read: probably the rest of my life.)

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On this day..

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One Response to Encouraging Creativity

  1. Cheryl Oakes says:

    Wes,
    The word kaleidoscope caught my eye and conjured up the image of a project I worked on last year with my students called Visual Conversations. How does creativity look in a school, even more, in a computer lab in the 21st century. You can read the details and view the results on the link below:
    http://169.244.188.58/2005/vc2/vc/visualconversation.html
    But, the quick version is that young children think in images, (that is why we use graphic organizers, Kidspiration, Inspiration and other graphic programs. A beta program ,read new web 2.0, where many participants can work on the same page has an example here at http://ideas.smarttech.com/service3/EdTech/EdTech-0_1.html search the bottom for a link to SMART ideas.)
    Since young children think in visuals, I introduced a new software called ImageBlender 3 to them and demonstrated a variety of filters they could use. I shared a visual conversation between two artist friends. The students GOT IT. They immediately began creating and having conversations back with the artists! The results were visually stunning, the excitement was contagious and the creative benefits lasted for months.Thus visual conversations were continued and grew to live on the web, over 400 images from my elementary students to our two artists! The arts need to be fostered and supported in our 21st Century Schools. Create something today.
    Cheryl

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