Monthly Archives: September 2011

How Parents can Foster Creativity in Children


As a visual arts educator and an arts coach I am often asked about creativity, and more specifically for advice on how to foster more of it.   Here are some tips I came across that I think apply quite nicely to the students and families of IAA. 

How Adults Can Encourage Creativity:

  • Encourage curiosity, exploration, experimentation, fantasy, questioning, testing, and the development of creative talents.   (In other words, allow children the opportunity to play – open ended materials and toys are the best way to ecourage creative play…think playdough, blocks, legos, art materials,paper,etc.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Provide opportunities for creative expression, creative problem-solving and constructive response to change and stress. (Often playful and dramatic re-creations of experiences can help children to assimilate and reframe them.)
  • Prepare children for new experiences, and help develop creative ways of coping with them.
  • Find ways of changing destructive behavior into constructive, productive behavior rather than relying on punitive methods of control.
  • Make sure that every member of the family receives individual attention and respect and is given opportunities to make significant, creative contributions to the welfare of the family as a whole.
  • Use what the school provides imaginatively, and supplement the school’s efforts.

How Adults “Kill” Creativity:

  • Insisting that children do things the “right way.” Teaching a child to think that there is just one right way to do things kills the urge to try new ways.
  • Pressuring children to be realistic, to stop imagining. When we label a child’s flights of fantasy as “silly,” we bring the child down to earth with a thud, causing the inventive urge to curl up and die.
  • Making comparisons with other children. This is a subtle pressure on a child to conform; yet the essence of creativity is freedom to conform or not to conform.
  • Discouraging children’s curiosity. One of the surest indicators of creativity is curiosity; yet we often brush questions aside because we are too busy for “silly” questions. Children’s questions deserve respect.

Torrance, E. P. (1969). CREATIVITY. Sioux Falls, ND: Adapt Press.

Great Artful Interactive Web Sites for Children


If your children enjoy computer time, here are a few instructional and artful web sites that support the visual arts and creativity for children;  just click the orange link and you are there!

Mr.PicassoHead – online design and drawing, includes gallery

National Gallery of Art:  NGA Kids ArtZone – interactive art activities

Haring Kids – from Keith Haring- fun online activities for kids and great lesson plan database for teachers

MOMA Kids Wing – fun activities from theMuseum ofWeb Art

Destination: Modern Art – from the Museum ofModern Art

ArtEdventures – for primary and intermediate grades

SmART Kids – from the Smart Museum of Art,University ofChicago; for students ages 7-12 to discover ways to look at, think about, and respond creatively to art  

The Artist’s Tool Kit (Minneapolis Institute of Art) – visual elements and principles



IAA will be featured on Channel 16!
Nancy Radley’s kindergarten class, Aurie Thibault’s first grade, Mary Neudecker’s second grade, Tyler Sessions PE class, and Maggie Plante’s third grade classes from last year can be seen with Flynn Teaching artists, Joan Robinson, Susanna Olson, and Lida Winfield.  These teachers and students participated in the Words Come Alive! progam last year (with funding in part by the National Endowment for the arts.)  This program is one of the Flynn’s signature professional development opportunities and our staff is quite fortunate to work with these amazing artists.

This video is also featured on the RETN  homepage and can be viewed at this url:

Monday 9/19 – 8:00 PM

Tuesday 9/20 – 2:00 PM

Saturday 9/24 – 10:00 AM  &  5:00 PM

Sunday 10/09 – 8:00 PM