Creative learning put simply is learning in a creative way. Taking a topic, subject or theme and using fun and engaging activities to allow the child to understand better. By using a range of learning styles - Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual and Reading and Writing, you are supporting the freedom to learn. Every child learns is different ways, therefor we need to provide them with a range of teaching methods.
" You don't judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree"
Here at Creative Minds we have compiled top 5 tips for both parents and teachers to achieve Creative Learning with their children.
We often hear from our friends who are parents that they struggle to engage their children with learning at home. They also complain how it is easy for us as we are both teachers. This was none more apparent than throughout lock down and the dreaded home schooling. Teacher or not, having to home school your own children is a whole different ball game!
We have collated 5 easy to follow tips with examples for parents to feel confident about creative learning at home.
1. Keep it simple
You don't have to create a detailed plan and strict scheduled activity, in fact the more relaxed and flexible the better.
On a tray or board arrange a selection of small everyday items. You can get your child to help select these.
Discuss each item in turn, then cover the board with a tea towel. Remove one item.
Take the tea towel away and try and guess which item has been removed!
Swap over picking the item and guessing.
Great for conversation, memory, turn taking and you could use the items to lead into story writing or imaginative play.
2. No need to spend
You don't need an all singing and dancing store cupboard filed with sparkly stationary. Everyday household objects are perfect for creative learning. You are demonstrating how learning can occur easily, everyday at home.
Junk modelling - Rockets!
Anything that we can recycle we always put in a box for junk modelling- small cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, egg boxes, yogurt pots etc!
This is great for kids to use their imaginations. Recently we have made rockets, robots, mini houses and an ant hotel (!)
3. Don't worry if your child doesn't engage in the activity.
Try not to feel offended or deflated, children may engage one day and not be in the mood the next. Creative learning is child led, you are simply there to support and encourage. Try an activity that you can set up and just leave for them to come back to, if and when they please.
On a tray or table in the garden (can be inside but it’s more mess to clear up!)
Fill it with things from the garden- sand, leaves, sticks, plants etc.
We opted for dinosaurs, but could be any plastic animals you have. Farm, zoo, town....
Let the kids explore and use their imaginations
4. Be led by your child
This is their opportunity to take control, explain to you what they're doing and show you how creative they can be. Remember, there is no wrong answer. They are exploring and learning through play, they cant 'do it wrong'. You are present and ready to discuss and ask questions but they are leading the activity. If your child seems bored or disengaged, move onto something else don't force it or make it a chore. If your child is engaging wonderfully, extend the task by offering a writing or reading opportunity.
Collect all cuddly pets, teddies and toys
Sit them down in the ‘waiting room’
Collect a range of utensils that can be used as equipment
Child can be the Vet and adult the nurse
Have fun and play animal hospital!!
Extension - You can use IT for older children to be the ‘receptionist’ and book patients in, typing details onto a word doc. Alternatively this can be an opportunity for writing.
5. Integrate your child's interests
We are all more likely to enjoy something we are interested in. All children have their own interests - Transport, Pirates, Fairies, Animals, Dinosaurs, Superheros the list goes on. By creating an activity based around their interest you are more likely to achieve successful creative learning.
Get toys that interest them (with my 2 year old it’s dinosaurs!)
Ask them to name each toy
Repeat the name emphasising the first sound (letter) for example “Sssssssssss Stegosaurus”
Draw each sound (letter) clear and big on separate papers.
Task your child to place each toy on the correct sound (letter)
It can be daunting to try something new or step out of your comfort zone and the safety of doing things the way they've always been done. But including creative learning into your teaching can be super easy and not at all scary. In fact, it can take the pressure off and allow for much needed time to actually step back an observe your incredible students use their own ideas and take control of their own learning.
1. Have a flexible and flowing lesson plan.
We all know the unpredictability of school life! Your lesson should be flexible that it allows for time issues - You can deliver 1 or 2 sections of it as a stand alone activity. Keep it flowing so each section connects to the other.
Each section of the lesson flows into the next. This is engaging the children and their confidence in the topic is growing throughout each part of the lesson. When it is time to be creative the children have had ample opportunity to understand the topic and therefore generate ideas.
2. Keep activities simple and easy to follow.
This is when you may experience disengaged children or even behavioural issues, if children cant understand what they're being asked to do. Instructions need to be simple and clear. (Also makes life easier for you!)
3. Use interesting Stimulus.
Here at Creative Minds we are passionate about having a stimulus to inspire creativity.
The stimulus should be linked to the topic or theme and be accessible for all abilities. Use a different type of stimulus each week to cater for a range of learning styles.
4. Give the children plenty of time to create
This can be extremely tricky as you are stepping back and essentially doing nothing. However it is crucial that the children are allowed that time to get creative and take control of their own learning. You will be astonished at just how incredibly, individually creative they are. Your children will feel a sense of pride in their own original work.
5. Don't feel pressured to build up to a performance.
This can be a huge stumbling block for many, with the pressure of feeling you have to put on a show stopping performance to demonstrate all you have learnt about your topic.
Each week there can be small opportunities for the children to showcase what they have created. This also allows for you to check their learning.