A short guide for parents who want to encourage creativity in their children
In today's blog post, we introduce you to the character traits Maria Montessori attributed to children. These include creativity - especially when searching for answers. You'll also learn how to encourage your child's creative development in your own home and are going to present you some amazing toys that can help you with this mission. Enjoy reading!
Character traits of children
Children are different. Different from adults. But especially different from how people saw them in earlier times. According to Maria Montessori, children are naturally inquisitive and interested in the big questions of life. They are strong-willed, have immense imagination according to her findings - and they are thus creative in thought and action.
"Can the child's mind be limited to what he sees? No. The child's mind reaches beyond concrete limits: it can imagine many things. This possibility of seeing things that are not before his eyes reveals a higher form of mind [...]" (Maria Montessori, The creative child)
For example, in the field of geography, children are able to imagine the world with its continents and oceans. And children love to imagine, Montessori was sure.
"It is too often forgotten that the imagination is a force for the search for truth. The mind is not a passive entity, but a consuming flame that never rests and is always alive." (Maria Montessori, The creative child)
Children search for truth, also as an orientation for all the impressions they have absorbed unfiltered in the first phase of their lives. They want answers, but also space to share their own ideas.
"Only the child himself can reveal himself to us through his expressions and teach us to know him. " (Maria Montessori, The creative child)
To ensure that there is room within your four walls for your child to find the truth and answers to his questions, it is worthwhile to listen carefully and look at what your child is interested in, while at the same time giving him opportunities to deal with hurdles in a self-effective and creative way.
Room for creativity
If a child is interested in a particular context or object at home, for example, there are several ways to give him or her space to explore it. The prerequisite for this is accompanying adults who notice this (recurring) interest of the child in a material or activity - a reason why observing the child is one of the most important tasks of a Montessori pedagogue and therefore included in our listing. Feel free to get inspired!
- Observation: Observe exactly which interests your child has at the moment.
- Self-activity: If your child's interest points to a particular object whose properties he or she would like to learn about or learn how to handle, let your child discover the properties and functioning of the object himself or herself, if (safely) possible - without coercion or instruction.
- Instruction: If you want to demonstrate handling or activity to your child, do it with very slow movements
- Problem solving: If hurdles appear, give your child the opportunity to find creative solutions.
- And what else can be done with the object other than its actual function? Children often have their own creative ideas
With this environment tailored to their interests and at the same time your open attitude, you are giving your child a great gift: creative and self-determined freedom. If you like, tell us sometime in our social media what you think constitutes a "creative and open" environment. We look forward to reading from you!
Can creativity be learned?
Creativity cannot be learned in the classical sense. However, the conditions must be in place for creativity to unfold freely and uninhibitedly on its own. It is the task of parents to optimize these conditions.
Anyone who observes small children will see that they are constantly trying to express themselves creatively. An eggbeater becomes a musical instrument, a shopping net becomes a hat and tomato sauce becomes finger paint. This imaginative play can be put to an end early on by explaining to children the official purpose of the objects and encouraging them to use them "correctly." Instead, parents should curb the unsolicited advice-giver within themselves, and instead practice a more approachable restraint. In other words, let the children play and don't constantly interfere!
Most creative outbursts in toddlerhood come from playing with various objects, reinterpreting everyday objects, or building sculptures, buildings and the like with building blocks and similar "good toys". Later, painting, drawing, singing, rhythm and music, and handicrafts usually follow. Language is still too complicated for a long time to be used as a creativity valve.
Sometimes children's play instincts and ingenuity are nerve-wracking for parents, but essential for creativity to flourish.
Parents should provide their children with diverse materials that children can explore and use for their own ideas. Pencils and paper are a good start, but the world of creativity becomes much more colorful when sand, wood, fabrics, plasticine, beads and many other things are added. They have different material properties, feel different, smell different, sound different. All these properties stimulate the children's imagination and provide for their own creative ideas and their implementation through play and fun.