How to Grow a Creative Child

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Prepare your soil, sprinkle some seeds, tend with love, and cross your fingers for a bountiful harvest.

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Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.
— Sir Ken Robinson

Art provides rich, developmental opportunities for the development of creativity. Since art should be an open-ended and unstructured activity, it requires independence, decision-making, problem-solving, and the creation of something new - all essential elements of a creative mind.

Learning to think creatively is accessible to everyone and it requires patience and practice, just like coaxing seeds to sprout in your garden.

Here’s how you can get started:

1. Prepare the Soil: Create a space for creating where your child has room, independence and permission. Think of it as a space of possibilities. Help your child to stock it, maintain it, and use it. Resist the temptation to use stencils, craft kits with directions, and rubber stamps.

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2. Choose Your Tools: You can set so many creative examples by reusing, recycling and reinventing old materials, trash and other ‘art’ supplies. Corks and paper rolls can be sculpture, fruit trays and vegetables can make prints, and old tin foil can be a costume. Resist the temptation to use overly processed art supplies. It’s the same idea as food. Simple is healthier.

3. Fertilize Your Garden: Children will develop independently, but think of how much more rich the outcome when they receive caring, but non-judgmental support. When children begin to make art to please you, you’ll know it’s time extract yourself, and give them some space to please themselves. Resist the temptation to judge or name your child’s art. That’s a job for the artist.

4. Enjoy the Harvest: Celebrate your child’s art! Hang it up in your home art gallery, make it into a ‘book’ at the copy center and read it, and with permission, give it away! Also, don’t limit yourself to visual art. Perform a play, sing a song, and dance with scarves. The more you encourage creative thinking and self-expression, the more your child will prefer it. Resist the temptation to edit or ‘fix’ your child’s art. That is also a job for the artist.

Our world grows more complex each day. Every ounce of innovation, problem-solving, and divergent thinking will be required to bear fruit.

We need citizens with big ideas here.

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Diana Mercer

Founder, Hatch Modern

Diana has been teaching art and children for more than 20 years in the early childhood classroom, and at her colorful art studio in Boulder, CO.

As a passionate, progressive educator, Diana created the first Hatch Modern Art box to support the next generation of creative minds.

The journey began almost 20 years ago when Diana was introduced to the work of child development guru Bev Bos. Bos’s permissive, inviting style - full of creative exploration and discovery - opened the door to a new way of thinking about art, creativity and life for Diana and the children she made art with.

As a teacher, serial entrepreneur, and creativity junkie, Diana lives to dream up inspiring art explorations for children.

Diana has developed, tested, refined and reflected upon the development of a unique approach to creative education over a lifetime in the classroom and studio. She has refined her expertise in creative development through thousands of interactions with young children.

Her love of natural, sustainable materials with a modern style inspires her to create art experiences that encourage outside-the-box thinking, innovation and a respect for planet earth.