Creativity inspires communication. By removing the rules and regulations so often placed upon children, art and creative expression go where their minds take them. Removing the structure of “coloring within the lines” frees the child to express their true self and tell a story about how they interpret the world around them. Creative play uncovers emotions the child may not yet have the words to say.
Whether it is playing house with imaginary friends or using craft supplies to create pictures, children communicate best when provided opportunities to be creative and play make-believe. In these moments, they reveal situations or people that might be upsetting them through the affect in their voice as they play with toys and friends. While completing craft projects in OT sessions or during Power Pods, kids often want to draw pictures or make gifts to give someone special. Nothing communicates love like a child’s homemade gift, even if they cannot express it verbally.
The more sensory domains we can hit on when working with children, the more “sticky” the learning becomes. And, sometimes, the kids get a little sticky too 🎨
Creativity inspires confidence. The creative process is the true foundation of learning. Not repeating or memorizing but through multi-sensory experiences that we touch, taste, hear, see, smell, and feel. Emotional joy is born from expressing what they want versus what they’ve been told to create. These are the lessons that remain and help children’s curiosity for the world to grow.
It’s a symbolic world full of letters, numbers, and images. Through the creative process, kids learn to connect symbols and create a broader view of the world. Over time longer symbolic images unfold. At first, it’s a tree or a bird, but they begin to gain confidence and venture further to link those symbols with the bird, nest, and worms to eat.
Creativity inspires problem-solving. Art is visual, and its proprioceptive sensory components help us see and feel our body in space. Creative play, arts and crafts, and music present challenges to solve. Does music sound better if I sit or stand? What happens if I mix different textures of paint or use my fingers rather than a paintbrush? The harder I push on clay, the stronger it becomes – as do the memories and skills children build through creative-problem solving.
Depending on age, kids problem-solve by feeling an emotion or recognizing a problem and experiment to find solutions. As they mature, they begin wondering “what would happen if” or “what if I try this instead?” Creativity teaches that a set of challenges does not equal defeat. Those challenges are opportunities to mold into something unique, beautiful, and important. Creativity teaches kids never to give up and to keep seeking alternative solutions!