What young children can teach adults about creativity

Young children are natural artists and they can teach adults a great deal about creativity. They seem to be more in touch with their creativity than most adults. Because of this, we need to be clear about our role when “teaching” art and working creatively with children. Our primary aim as adults guiding children in art making is to share the joy and magic of the creative process. We can only do this if we understand their experience  of making art through our own experience of art making, where we explore and enjoy the process rather than focus on the product.

We need to believe in the value of the creative process even when there are no products or artworks to show for it. Young children know how they feel when they are making things - excited, involved, satisfied and alive! They don’t need a finished artwork to show someone, to feel  that their work has value. A young child may spend hours making creatures from clay and tell a long story while doing this, and then happily roll them all into a big ball and forget the story! For children, creativity lies in the doing and making, not the product. This is why it is so important for us as adults to experience the thrill of making art ourselves so that we can genuinely appreciate the art making of children.

This article was originally published by in Creative Beginnings © Lindy Anne Solomon 2005