Creative play adds color to childhood. Think crayons and fingerpaint, riddles and rhymes, costumes and skits. Born with fertile imaginations and without the insecurities and inhibitions that can come later in life, kids tell whimsical stories, build elaborate forts and create the most amazing abstract works with found objects. Raising kids in an arts-rich environment is both enlightening and empowering. The more we learn about the brain, the more we see just how crucial it is to actively utilize both our logical sides and our creative ones. Finding time for creativity and providing opportunities for kids to use their imaginations is essential for healthy development. This should, of course, include creative expression at home and at school. To take it a step further, a summer art camp can be an enriching way to nurture kids’ creative process and enable artistic expression in a meaningful way when they aren’t in school.
How Creativity Develops
Art allows young kids to put their ideas out there, to share part of themselves with the world. Early childhood educator Sydney Gurewitz Clemens explains, “Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” Since every kid has creative potential, it is important that they have rich opportunities to express their creativity. The benefits are significant:
- Though often associated with visual arts and music, creativity is a broader approach to problem-solving that can be applied to many areas. Kids can learn to transfer and apply creativity in different contexts.
- Encouraging, supporting and participating in creative activities with your kids can help strengthen your bond.
- The creative process requires persistence and persevering through challenges to achieve an amazing final product.
- Knowledge of the world and acquisition of specific skills supports kids’ creativity and allows them to apply it in increasingly complex contexts.
Providing Creative Space at Home
Jean Van’t Hul, author of The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life With Art & Creativity, advocates for parents providing an environment that encourages kids’ artistic expression. This should begin with a designated corner, permanent or portable, stocked with age-appropriate materials, where kids can create. For preschoolers, the process is as important as the product. The best supplies for this age include colored markers, playdough, finger and liquid paints, sturdy paper, colored tape, collage items and glue; tactile experience is key. Older kids will also benefit from these materials, as well as fine point markers and crayons, air-dry clay, washi tape, a low-temperature hot glue gun and 3D construction materials. Simple tools, such as scissors, hole punches, staplers and pencil sharpeners are also important.
When a specific space is allocated and materials are in place, kids can feel comfortable knowing that is a place where it’s okay to make a mess. The less inhibitions they have, the freer they are to let their imaginations run wild. And you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to provide a space that fosters creativity. A lot can be made from objects around the house or items in the recycling bin. When you actively participate in helping your kids cultivate creative spaces, everyone benefits.
More Opportunities to Apply the Creative Process
A variety of art summer camps are available for all ages, offering kids the opportunity to unplug and get messy. They can immerse themselves in a specific medium such as drawing, painting, modeling or photography, or embark on a mixed media arts adventure in which they sample a variety of creative projects. Alternately, music and performing arts camps offer opportunities to exercise a different type of creativity. And, of course, technology camps allow kids to apply their creative skills to web design, mobile game development, graphic design and even Robot Pets.
An innovation camp provides an exceptional opportunity for creative arts expression. These unique and specialized programs not only give kids the chance to work with artistic media, but they also offer kids the chance to reinforce and grow their creativity. Through selected themes and carefully crafted, age-appropriate projects, kids develop a creative design process that can be transferred and applied to a variety of additional contexts. Guided by specially trained staff, kids experience visual arts exploration as well as hands-on science and active, outdoor play.
As kids are introduced to an easily adaptable design process through this multidisciplinary experience, they learn to trust their creative instincts and to view mistakes and failed attempts as steps on the road to success. Meaningful growth occurs as kids try, fail, reflect and learn. The mindset developed helps kids to preserve and protect their innate creativity, instead of giving way to inhibitions that can creep in as they grow.
Summer Fun and More
For parents seeking to color their kids’ summer with a creative arts experience, consider a camp that feeds curiosity and welcomes creativity while providing full-spectrum fun. A thematic program that provides not only artistic expression, but science exploration and outdoor activities as well, will engage kids in action-packed weeks of summer fun. Camp Galileo offers the added value of helping them develop a creative process with far-reaching applications.
To cultivate creativity in the San Francisco, Southern California, and Chicagoland areas, check out Camp Galileo. Sign up for our mailing list to keep up-to-date on our camp happenings and innovation resources. Or, for more information about Galileo camps, contact us here.