Creativity is such a crucial aspect of student success, and there’s no better time to emphasize it in your school than at the beginning of a new year! Regardless of where student’s interests lie, helping them develop creative thinking skills will help them better solve problems and think more deeply about their learning.
Read on below for 8 of our favorite strategies for encouraging creativity in classrooms of all ages, and for even more creativity-themed content, check out our social media where, this week, we will be sharing all sorts of articles, activities, and videos to help you and your students think in new ways!
*Guest Author Alert - Daniel Cape!*
We had the honor of chatting with Kikori content creator Daniel Cape this week to hear about what he does to boost creativity for youth! Daniel is an expert in all things creativity and especially the role that experiential education plays in the development of diverse thinking. Check out his three tips and learn more about his work below.
Daniel’s Tip # 1: Embrace Experimenting
Experimenting is the process of trial and error that occurs when trying something new, and making a point to learn in this way helps to build skills required for creativity. A key component of this, he says, is being open to the possibility of there being multiple right ways to perform a task or arrive at a solution.
Daniel’s Tip # 2: Get the Environment Right
It’s easy to see how being in an unsupportive learning environment --- one where ideas are negatively criticized and where certain folks might be hesitant to voice their opinions --- can hamper creativity, but we oftentimes don’t consider this when engaging in creative projects. Taking the time to set classroom norms around brainstorming, creativity, and collaboration can provide students with the setting they need to thrive as thinkers.
Daniel’s Tip # 3: Find Supportive People
Alongside creating a learning environment conducive to new ideas, having a network of folks to support students’ ideas, such as classmates and teachers but also others in the larger school community, will give them the empowerment, guidance, and collaboration they need to make their ideas a reality.
Kikori Tip # 4: Incorporate Creativity into Curriculum
Teaching a lesson about magnetism? Have students get creative by searching the classroom for objects that are or aren’t magnetic! The possibilities are endless when you consider weaving experimentation and exploration into day-to-day academics.
Kikori Tip # 5: Separate Creativity from Curriculum
On the other hand, sometimes it can be helpful to practice creativity outside of math, science, or literature. Participating in brain breaks or opening activities that have a creative focus can help to build these skills in a way that can be transferred to their learning throughout the day. Check out the Kikori App for dozens of such games!
Kikori Tip # 6: Believe in the Unrealistic
Especially with young children, there’s no worse criticism to hear about an idea than “that’s not realistic.” Encourage students to stick with their far-fetched ideas, asking instead “what would need to happen for my idea to become real?”
Kikori Tip # 7: Pursue Student’s Interests
As mentioned previously, fostering creativity increases student engagement with learning, especially when they get to choose a subject to pursue, so consider having them choose their own writing prompt instead of being assigned one next time!
Kikori Tip # 8: Minimize Stress
Lastly, it is important for creativity to be practiced in low-stress settings in order for it to feel like an aspect of learning and not a chore. Be sure to include plenty of fun brainstorming sessions with the more serious creative assignments in your classroom!
About Daniel Cape:
Daniel Cape has over 15 years experience in the field of experiential education and is currently working on his PhD in psychology with a specialization in creativity studies from Saybrook University. He has extensive experience working in and leading international and US programs. Daniel's book 'From Experience to Creativity: The experiential educator's incomplete guide to creativity' is the first book to discuss the relationship between the fields of creativity and experiential education. The book, along with Daniel's 'EPIC Cards' are excellent resources for all educators to learn about and intentionally teach and promote creativity. Available on Amazon.