Impact of Creativity on Child Development

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Creativity is a key aspect of children’s development; it is highly related to one of the specific areas of development in the EYFS known as Expressive Arts and Design (although it does interlink with all the others). “Expressive Arts and Design involves enabling children to explore and play with a range of media and materials as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play, and design and technology”(1). There are a lot of benefits of creative play for the children. It helps develop their imagination and allows them to explore new textures, colours or smells. It can allow the child to experience activities and situations that they otherwise wouldn’t, therefore broadening their knowledge of the world. It allows them to bond and form relationships with their adults and their peers, develop teamwork skills and support their self-esteem. Creative play benefits all ages of children from babies through to adulthood. Creative activities can range from mashing up their food at tea time when their only a few months old to making up stories in their English lessons in their teens. Even at younger ages, creative activities help the child to develop basic maths skills such as measuring, size, shape, sorting, etc. This involves a lot of problem solving as children learn to put what is in their head onto paper as well as concentration. Creating collages/mosaics or mixing colours are obvious creative activities but also aid their intellectual development which will transfer onto other areas of their life. Mark-making, painting, drawing, cutting, pasting, play dough, gloop and other activities all help to develop fine motor skills in young children and are a staple part of their development which in turn helps them to be ready to begin writing as they near school age. It takes a lot of effort and determination from the child’s part to be able to pick up and pencil, hold it steady and apply the pressure needed to make an organised mark. As the children get older the creative activities will help to further develop their fine motor skills as well as their hand eye coordination. Creative activities provide a positive outlet for children (and adults) to express their emotions and can be a lot easier to express than using words. As the children get older, creative activities also give a positive way for children to socialise with others and can help create secure relationships between the children participate in teamwork and express their ideas to other children. There are two different types of creative play, formal and informal. Formal play is very adult led tending to focus more on organisation and structure than informal play which is very child initiated. “When a child (of any age) engages in a self-chosen pursuit we describe this as child-initiated activity, valuing the child's choice and recognising and respecting the child's purpose”(3). This is a legal requirement of the EYFS. An example of this is a child using the cars and garage to drive about. Another instance is where a child ‘takes ownership’ of an activity and changes it to a different purpose than intended such as a child might prefer to build ‘mud castles’ if they have lost interest in helping an adult plant some plants. “An adult-led/adult-directed activity or experience suggests that the adult has selected this time or opportunity to encourage or develop a particular aspect of learning”(3). Small groups are easiest for this where adults and children can set aside some time together to carry out the planned activity. Another example is during circle time or song time when the children are following the adults lead. It is important to ensure there is a balance between adult and child initiated play. In a free-flow environment there should be several areas which give children the opportunity to create play situations for them...
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