Saturday, September 26, 2020

 Clay & Creativity

Creativity is the act of conceiving something new and original. It is expressing one's own ideas, trying new things, and experimenting with new materials. One of the best ways to develop creativity in children is to introduce them to new tools and materials, and possible ways to use them. Then give children time to create and see what they can come up with. Here are some clay tools that lend themselves to some great experimenting. 

How does the creative process work?

The creative process teaches the thinking skills children need in order to make art personal, meaningful, and in their own unique style.

The Creative Process Steps:

#1 Think Of An Idea - Where do ideas come from?

Use Your Imagination 

Imagination is the ability to see pictures in your mind. It enables us to reach beyond the limits of the practical here and now into an area where anything is possible. 


Use Observation

Observation is the ability to pay close attention to what is being perceived. 

The characteristics of objects are carefully examined and recorded.

Use Your Memory

Memory is the ability to recall to mind facts previously learned or past experiences. 

Express Your Feelings

Feelings are an emotional reaction to people or events in the world around us.

 #2 Make A Plan 

Once you have an idea, make a visual sketch of your idea on paper. This will help you to think of details that can be included in your finished work. Determine which design elements and principles you will use as part of your plan.

#3 Create Your Artwork

Gather the materials and tools you will need to make your artwork. Then execute your idea. 

#4 Reflect 

When you are just about to put your finishing touches on your artwork, evaluate what you have done so far. You can ask someone to give you feedback about your work. Have them tell you what they feel your artwork communicates. Ask them what they think needs to be done to your artwork to improve it or to make it better communicate your intended idea. 


   #5 Share Your Artwork

Art communicates an idea or feeling about the world around us and its nice to share that self expression with others. You can display your artwork for others to view and enjoy.  You can include an artist statement that tells viewers about your intent behind creating your artwork.  


What is creative thinking?

The process of becoming a creative thinker is dependent upon the development of these four basic creative thinking skills:


The ability to think of lost of possibilities or answers. Brainstorming is one way to become more fluent.


The ability to find ways to change ideas. You have the ability to shift gears and take detours in your direction of thinking. Flexibility requires a variety of thought categories and the ability to shift from one category to another to generate more ideas.


The ability to create unique and unusual ideas.


Taking an idea and stretching or expanding it by embellishment. 

How do you generate creative ideas?


The way to generate a wealth of creative ideas in a very short time. 

Guidelines for productive brainstorming:

Be Open 

Do not judge ideas as they come up. Accept all suggestions, even if they seem silly or stupid.

Aim For Quantity

Accumulate ideas as quickly as possible, encouraging both obvious and unusual ideas.


The collecting of information about a particular subject. 

Ways to help aide research with children:


Provide whenever possible the real subject being studied for children to look at and examine closely.  


Provide visual reference materials such as photographs and reproductions of the subject being studied.  


The idea that influences your creative mind’s activity. 

The 4 Stages of Creative Thinking


Involves collecting knowledge and information for the problem to be solved. 


Involves resting and relaxing to allow images from the subconscious to surface. During this sitting and thinking time, the creative thinker starts visualizing parts of the idea or solution. 


This may come suddenly and unexpectedly. The idea or solution just pops into your brain. The light bulb goes off over your head and you experience an “AHA” moment!


Involves carrying out an idea or solution to see if it really works. 

How can you help children tap into and nurture their creativity? 

Think of your children as works in progress. Children are in the process of growing themselves. Reflect this back to them by making a safe place in which to explore a range of ideas, art materials, techniques and develop artistic skills through trying new things and practicing newly acquired skills. Help children discover the world of creative thinkers. Share information about creative people and how they work. Introduce children to famous artists and their creative processes. Provide a relaxed and non-threatening climate and you will nurture the child’s creative potential. Promote such habits as, exploring, imagining, and equating thinking with playing.

Provide children with playtime. Play is a means by which children develop their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social capacities. It also provides a state of mind that, in adults as well as children, is uniquely suited for high-level reasoning, insightful problem solving, and all sorts of creative endeavors. 

One reason why play is such an ideal state of mind for creativity and learning is because the mind is focused on means. Since the ends are understood as secondary, fear of failure is absent and children feel free to incorporate new sources of information and to experiment with new ways of doing things.

This point about the mental state of play is very important for understanding play’s value as a mode of learning and creative production. The alert but unstressed condition of the playful mind is precisely the condition that has been shown repeatedly, in many psychological experiments, to be ideal for creativity and the learning of new skills. 

Approach art like open-ended play. Provide a variety of materials and see what happens as the child leads the experience. Children will be able to explore, create art from their interests and express their feelings. 

Creativity Builders


   Provide children with repeated exposure to creative activities.


   Provide children with different kinds of media, so children can create many  types of artworks. 



   Provide children with open-ended creative experiences where the child directs the learning experience. Let the child take the lead and play around.

   Encourage Individuality 

   Children should be allowed to create their own imagery in their artwork. Give them the freedom to choose their own style. Creativity means having the power to express yourself in your own way. 

   Personal Space

   Provide children with space to create, take risks, make mistakes and even get a little messy. 

   Value the creative process, not the product.

   Remember the value for children is in the process of exploration, and self expression and not a focus on a specific result or product. Accept the sometimes experimental works that children make and realize that play is part of the process.


   People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by interest,  enjoyment, satisfaction and challenge of the work itself.

   Adequate Time

   The crucial element in cultivating creativity is time; open-ended time

   for the child to savor and explore a particular activity or material to 

   make it their own. Adequate time on a creative project leads to flow state. The ultimate state of creativity is called flow. In flow, time does not matter. There exists a state of complete absorption in which all self-consciousness disappears. The creator is so thoroughly and enjoyable engaged in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

Written by Art Teacher Ruth Post

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