Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thinking Creatively

Before I became a full-time Book Chook, I used to teach Drama to kids outside school. I've always been fascinated by communication. Teaching drama to 7-15 year-olds showed me not only how inter-connected all the communication skills are, but also that effective learning best took place when kids were engaged in a task.

I believed then, and believe now, that teaching children to think creatively is one of the most important gifts we can give them. Surrounding them with other people's creativity in the form of literature, art, media, theatre, and music helps to nurture the creative seed that lives within us all. By encouraging kids to be flexible, imaginative and original, to take risks, ask questions, and improvise, we are giving them a great preparation for whatever they choose to do with their lives. In Drama, my students had opportunities to develop skills needed by actors, window dressers, surgeons, - and parents!

You don't have to be a drama teacher to nurture creativity in kids. One of the best things you can do is use creative language when you're sharing a task, or playing together. An ideal time is after you've been reading aloud. Here are some sample questions you can adapt to help your kids think creatively.

After reading a picture book...
What are all the reasons the giant might have been sad at the start of the story?
What if the axe had been blunt? I wonder what might have happened then?
How could we change this book cover to make it more attractive?
What would you have done if you'd been the little dog?
Would there be any problems if we had wings?

When you're playing with building blocks...
What if we put this big one on top?
What could we use this for?
What would happen if we made this out of jelly?
Can we make an upside down one?

When you're waiting somewhere...
The answer is "red". What might the question be?
The answer is "sardine". What might the question be?
What are all the different ways we could get home fast?
What if the sky were pink?
What does "sad" sound like?

Butt In!

Here's a creative story-telling activity for two, or a group. One person starts telling a story. Every so often, the other person (or go round the circle in a group) says a word that the storyteller must incorporate into the story. You can take turns, or have a time limit for youngsters who get really good at it.

Here's an example.

Trent: Once there was a pirate who was just about the meanest pirate who ever lived. He loved to sail the seven seas and...


Trent: .and kidnap
bananas so he could make them walk the ...


Trent: ...plank while he wore his pink
pyjamas with yellow spots. One day...


Trent: ...the pirate saw a banana
savagely beating up a purple hairbrush...

It certainly makes you think fast, and usually results in gales of laughter. Games like this are useful too, when you're on a journey, and you have the satisfaction of knowing you're banishing boredom, and encouraging creativity at the same time.

I'll be adding this activity to the
Book Chook Bag of Tricks.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails