Can creativity be taught? Can you learn to be creative?

I’m fascinated by children’s imaginations, but can you teach creativity? Do you believe that you are either a creative person, or not? Or do you think that creativity can be nurtured and developed?

Can you teach creativity?

I believe that you can develop creativity. Research suggests that creativity comes in four stages – clarifying, ideating, developing and implementing.

  • Clarifying is making sure that you’re asking the right question. Children are great at asking lots of questions!
  • Ideating is about exploring as many solutions as possible. Children often have a naturally curious nature and will test out their ideas, working out what works and what doesn’t.
  • Developing and implementing are making sure the idea is practical and convincing others. Children can be incredibly passionate about their ideas. They inspire and excite others about their ideas. Have you seen some kid inventions that have been created? They’re amazing!

In this sense children are usually born creative. It is the boundaries and limitations that they encounter throughout their lives which make them less creative.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

So can you teach creativity? I believe that everyone is already creative. We just need to remember how to be. It’s more of an unlearning! You need to teach your brain to think beyond its boundaries and limitations. To think, more like that of a child.

I also believe that we need to encourage children to hold onto their creativity, to nurture and develop it. In one of the most watched TED talks ever, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ Sir Ken Robinson argues that children are not afraid of being wrong, and this allows them to try out new, exciting solutions. These bold, brave solutions are exactly what we need to solve global issues.

“Creativity is as important as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” – Sir Ken Robinson

So how do you encourage, or teach creativity?

Overcome fear

For me, one of the biggest barriers to creativity is the fear of being wrong. It’s one of the reasons that I love process art so much. Where the focus is not on the final product but on the experience of creating. It’s great fun and brilliant for children as it allows them to explore, discover and create without frustration. To just enjoy the experience, building their self-confidence and also teaching them valuable problem solving skills at the same time.

Here are some process art ideas which you can try at home. Junk modelling is also a great tool for encouraging creativity. Find out more in my blog post 6 Benefits of Junk Modelling: Surely it’s just rubbish!

Encourage your child to have a go at things. Give your child an example of when something hasn’t worked out how you thought it would. Show them that it’s all a part of learning.

Be your child’s encouragement

I find that I am at my most creative when I’m with other creative people. It’s often when I’m chatting to other people that I become inspired. My brain also has a really annoying habit of being creative at around midnight! You might not want your child to be inspired at midnight, but you can be that other person for your child.

When your child shows you their artwork rather than saying “Oh wow, look at that dinosaur you’ve drawn!” You can say,

  • Tell me about your picture…

You will save both of you the trauma of a discussion about the fact that it’s not meant to be a dinosaur! This kind of question also encourages your child, as you are showing a deeper interest in their picture.

Help your child to develop their creativity by asking questions like:

  • How did you get your idea?
  • What materials did you use to make it?
  • What’s your favourite part about the picture?
  • How did you create this part?

Provide opportunities for your child to be creative

Your child needs time to be creative, so allow opportunities for creativity. If you’re groaning and thinking, that you can’t cope with the mess, or don’t have the time to prepare things, don’t panic. You can provide simple invitations to create, that don’t need a lot of preparation and aren’t messy.

Do you remember self adhesive paper, or contact paper? I used to use it to cover my school books! It was a frustrating experience as it always got bubbles in it! Anyway, it’s great if you hate mess. You masking tape it to the table, or a tray, sticky side up. Peel off the protective sheet and then let your child stick paper, fabric, foil, tissue paper, ribbon, sprinkles etc to it.

If you don’t have the art materials you need at home, don’t have time to search the internet for art ideas, or like the idea of receiving a box packed full with fun, innovative art and sensory ideas straight to your door, you could buy a Squidgydoodle craft box.

Whilst Squidgydoodle craft boxes do include an instruction leaflet, they don’t include step-by-step pictures. I feel that images can sometimes limit a child’s imagination. I provide enough materials so that there is flexibility in how your child creates. If they want to mix and match materials between one activity and the next, that’s great! There really is no right or wrong way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post ‘Can creativity be taught?’ What do you think? Do you think you can teach creativity? Please feel free to comment below.

Two Tiny Hands

12 Comments

  • Alice Soule Posted February 19, 2018 5:00 pm

    Funny you should write about this (or perhaps that I should read it today) because I was discussing this with my daughters nursery teacher. She’s at a Montessori school and I trained as a Montessori teacher and we advocate very much that art with little ones is about the process and not the product. She so proudly showed me this splurge of paint, beaming with pride. It was great to get her take on it and not just say “what is it?” A x #familyfunlinky

    • Debbie Denyer Posted February 19, 2018 7:25 pm

      Hi Alice, Definitely! I think the Montessori method is really interesting. I love that there is a focus on children discovering things for themselves, through activities. I’m so pleased that you found the blog post useful.

  • Kate Posted February 19, 2018 10:47 pm

    What an interesting question and I am so pleased to have found your blog via Monday Morning Blog Club. Think your blog is going to help my home education journey too. #MMBC

    • Debbie Denyer Posted February 21, 2018 5:17 pm

      Hi Kate, Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found my blog useful. I’d love to see a photo of your creations if you try any ideas you find on Squidgydoodle as part of your home education.

  • Kate The Muddled Mum Posted February 20, 2018 10:26 pm

    This is a great post full of lovely ideas! #FamilyFunLinky

    • Debbie Denyer Posted February 21, 2018 5:22 pm

      Thanks Kate,

  • Ali Duke Posted February 21, 2018 7:41 pm

    I definitely think creativity can be encouraged and taught. The tips you gave about talking about a childs art are great.
    #FamilyFun

    • Debbie Denyer Posted February 22, 2018 12:54 pm

      Thanks Ali, I’m glad you found them useful.

  • Karen | TwoTinyHands Posted February 22, 2018 6:33 pm

    I like the idea of questioning art work rather than going ooo that’s good! I’m definitely going to start doing this! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬ #abc123

    • Debbie Denyer Posted February 23, 2018 9:45 am

      Hi Karen, It’s really interesting to get an insight into what your little one was creating from their perspective. Sometimes my youngest just says she was happy so she was making a happy picture!

  • Helena Posted February 24, 2018 3:49 pm

    It’s true that all of us have creativity within us. #FamilyFunLinky

    • Debbie Denyer Posted February 26, 2018 2:52 pm

      Definitely! We just need to nurture it.

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