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How to Nurture Your Child’s Creativity

by Learning Care Group | January 14, 2013 | Child Development

How to Nurture Your Child’s Creativity

Art is a creative act that cannot be taught. Creativity can be nurtured by providing open-ended activities that allow our children the freedom to experiment with a wide variety of materials. When children explore and use art materials, they are creating something new and unique. Sometimes we want “products” that are perfect or “right” as parents, but we forget the message that this sends to our children.

The following poem is a powerful reminder of how too much control over the artistic process can hurt children’s creativity and confidence. As you read it, we invite you to reflect upon how you talk with your children about their artwork.

The Little Boy

One morning
A mom said to her son,
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds of
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats.
He took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the mom said, “Wait!”
“We are going to make flowers.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons

But the mom said, “Wait!”
“And I will show you how.”
And it was red, with a green stem.
“There,” said the mom,
“Now go ahead.”

The little boy looked at his mom’s flower.
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than his mom’s
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over
And made a flower like his mom’s.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day the mom said:
“Today let’s make something with clay.”
“Good,” thought the little boy.
He liked clay and would make all sorts of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks.
And he began to pull and pinch his clay.
But the mom said, “Wait!”
“We are going to make a dish for Grandma
And I will show you how.”

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait
And to watch
And to make things just like his mom.
And pretty soon
He didn’t make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house
In another city.
And the little boy
Started to go to school.

And the very first day
He was there
The teacher said,
“Today, we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
And he waited for the teacher
To tell him what to do.
But the teacher didn’t say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy she asked,
“Don’t you want to make a picture?”
“Yes,” said the little boy.
“What are we going to make?”
“I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher.
“How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.
“Why, anyway you like,” said the teacher.
“And any color?” asked the little boy.
“Any color,” said the teacher.

“If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colors,
How would I know who made what
And which was which?” asked the teacher.

“I don’t know,” said the little boy.
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.

Adapted from a poem by Helen Buckley