Are pre-planned kids’ creative projects really that creative?

Do you spend hours on Pinterest trying to find the next cool art project for your kids to try? Or do you let them find their own way?

Don’t get me wrong, planned activities can be awesome and generate huge amounts of fun and engagement, but just how creative is it to follow instructions?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot whilst planning to home educate, and we don’t do nursery either (kids are 4 and 2). I want their lives to be very play-based until about 7, and whilst a teacher friend of mine said that a lot of primary teaching up to that age is play-based anyway so maybe I should consider it… I wonder how creative is it when they are being told when to play, how long for, and with what? Being made to paint trees with 30 other kids when all they really want to do is have a tea party with Lego people… I’m not sold.

I can see my kids sometimes get bored, and then I see them find things to do. My daughter (2) this morning was doing nothing, then asked me for paper. She then got some felt tip pens from a pot, sat down and did three of the most amazing scribble pictures! She chose the colours herself and proudly presented them to hang on the wall when she knew they were finished. That whole creative process came directly from her, and that has to be doing amazing things for her brain. Her ability to find and complete a project that she sought out, be given as much time as she wants to complete it and have me there to facilitate it.

I’m not comparing any of this to ensuring students learn how to work to deadlines and work to briefs – that’s all in the future – but for a child to be given creative freedom is surely a massive massive benefit.

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