Creation is about process, not result

  • By Heidi Stevens Chicago Tribune
  • Sunday, November 11, 2012 2:44pm
  • Life

Problem: You want your kids to be creative, but your daughter has no interest in craft projects. Any ideas?

Solution: “It doesn’t matter what they produce, as long as they’re enjoying the process,” said Carla Sonheim, author of “The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone.”

Creativity, after all, is about original thinking, invention, problem solving, imagination. Those skills are hardly confined to a craft table.

“Some of us are creative in drawing and painting,” Sonheim said. “For some of us, it’s how we fold our socks or organize our house or dress or cook.”

Kids (and adults) are often intimidated by the notion of creating, Sonheim said, because they’re afraid they’re doing it wrong. It’s important to remind them there is no wrong.

Sonheim has used these tactics for art instruction.

Hunt for blobs. “Find random shapes; either paint them or draw them or go outside and find leaves on the ground. Then turn the blob around in all different directions to see what you can find. I often find faces. Some people find airplanes or shoes or animals. Kids love, love, love that.”

Flip the script. “When I taught a Michelangelo lesson I taped paper underneath a table so kids could see what it was like to hang upside down from scaffolding and paint. Their drawings came out crazy and it gave them the experience of seeing how awkward and fun it is to draw upside down.”

Draw blind. “My niece and her friends close their eyes and give each other prompts about what to draw: ‘Draw a giraffe so the head starts at the top. Add spots. Add a flower garden.’ When everyone opens their eyes (there) is laughter all around.

“As they get older they might become more intentional about making something pretty, but in the beginning you just want to make it fun and nonthreatening and encouraging,” Sonheim said.

And keep at it.

“I liken not developing creativity to driving with a flat tire,” she said. “You can get where you’re going, but how much faster and smoother and more enjoyable is the ride if all four tires are inflated?”

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