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Fostering Creativity in Children
Excerpted from Teaching Creativity: Supporting, Valuing, and Inspiring Young Children's Creative Thinking by Abby Connors | Updated September 14, 2018
When I look through school-supply catalogs, I shake my head at the amount of money some people are apparently willing to pay for little fuzzy pompoms, foam paper, feathers, sequins, stamps, stickers, and other fancy, colorful "art supplies." Nothing against little fuzzy pompoms, but there's a multitude of fabulous, free art materials hiding in plain sight all around us. For a while, when she was six or seven years old, one student I knew enjoyed making art out of pencil shavings. In her backpack, she always carried a little zip-lock bag filled with them. I seem to remember she glued them on paper in various designs.
Don't worry, I am not suggesting you give your students pencil shavings. Pencil shavings are dirty and they smell bad. However, they do have the advantage of being free, which is a great quality in an art material!
Using recycled materials for art projects does much more than save money. It promotes a spirit of exploration and discovery, it encourages curiosity, and best of all, it teaches children that creativity doesn't come from what we buy, but from how we think. What a wonderful lesson.
One of the most extraordinary works of art ever created, Antonio Gaudi's mosaic bench in the Parc Guell in Barcelona, was made with recycled bits of broken plates and ceramic scraps from factories around the city. The serpentine bench, said to be the longest bench in the world, is a symphony of color and design. Gaudi let himself be inspired by the materials he saw all around him. Your students can be inspired too.
Try using free art materials from recycled items to inspire your students' creativity.
Some free household art materials your students might enjoy doing creative art projects with include:
(Of course, make sure all materials are clean and that your under-three students, or any children who still put things in their mouths, cannot swallow any small pieces.)
Remember: Before you throw it out, stop and think: Could my students use this for creative art projects?
©2010 Abigail Flesch Connors. All rights reserved.
Abby Connors is an early-childhood music teacher and author of Shake, Rattle and Roll: Rhythm Instruments and More for Active Learning. ...