My children in grade 4 have a project assignment from school. They need to form a group to prepare an item that serves a purpose, complete with a presentation and a commercial to introduce/sell the item. As they were thinking about the project, or forgetting about it while they were playing hard, I was thinking about my project. This blog. There are so many topics that interest me but it won’t matter if nobody else is interested in reading about it. It is a scary world out there. There is lots of criticism everywhere we look. We try to fit in the norm. I will write when I think there is something interesting that fits the world of teaching art to kids. Then I thought about creativity, why people think of themselves as creative while others don’t. Some can come up with ideas while others can’t.
Creativity is not the end that one achieves and there is no more to learn afterward. It is a process. Some days you can be more creative than on others. Some days you get ideas, on others your mind is blank. Creative people do not try to fit into a norm. What is normal anyway? We are all different and creative in our own ways. We should not be afraid of taking a chance of thinking up something. It might just be really good. Give it a chance. Children are very good at trying things without any regard for criticism. You have to admire that trait.
My kids decided to work with Lego. They are making a candy dispenser that takes coins and doles out candy. It sounds simple. The project is very good. It requires thinking and problem solving, figuring out how the mechanism works and troubleshooting if it isn’t working properly. Both of my sons are artistic in their own ways. One loves to draw, the other loves to paint. They are not afraid to experiment with their media and I love that. From time to time there is something really exiting that turns out from under their hands. This time one of my sons will draw the presentation on the board.
The last part of the project is making a commercial. We watched some commercials on TV and Youtube, and looked for patterns. They were very quick to point out that most of the commercials use big words to describe the item they are selling: super, awesome, extraordinary, special etc. The best ones use humour, emotions, positive attitudes, happy faces, happy music etc. We are not talking about using sex to entice the viewers. This is for kids after all. The team quickly came up with their own ideas once they understood how a commercial should look and sound and it all has to fit into 30 seconds or less. I am excited to let them work in the recording studio and watch what they come up with.
You can’t stop creativity. Most children stop drawing in grade 4. I hope I can provide enrichment opportunities and the environment conducive to learning and experimenting with art. When we can’t come up with anything exciting, we will use Lou Harry’s Creative Block – 500 Ideas to ignite your imagination. It was a nice stocking stuffer last year.