Creative thinking is the ability to think differently in the face of a given situation or challenge . And the little ones know a lot about that, to think in an unusual, original, different and creative way.

Have you ever left a large empty cardboard box with a child? And have you observed what happens? That box is no longer a box to store things, it becomes a car, a boat, a hiding place, a house, etc. etc. It is magical to see!

But then, when do we prepare activities with children , like those in this blog and so many others, do we stimulate or stop creativity ? Well, that’s what I want to talk to you about today, about my impressions on this topic.

At home we prepare a lot of different doughs, do experiments, paint, etc. but I don’t feel that Terrícola does creative thinking there (be careful, it’s not the same as artistic thinking). Teaching him those materials or how they are made are just a base, as a way of showing him possibilities that exist. Then he comes up with another day what to do and prepares the clay on his own (I only see that the proportions of ingredients more or less adjust, at 3 years old his inertia is to put a lot of everything and, especially, a lot more of water, hehe).

But his creative thinking does not arise when he prepares the paint or the salt paste or whatever, but when he invents new uses for all that . When it deviates completely from what for most would be “expected.”

Whenever we do something I try to keep my eyes clean so that the game and its ideas flow, but boy, sometimes it is inevitable for me to think that plasticine is for modeling, and it turns out that Jan uses it to fix a kitchen tile that broke a day, unintentionally, with a hammer (it was a toy, made of wood, but a sharp blow … and craaack).

On the other hand, on the blog I publish the things we do at specific times, most of the time he dedicates to unstructured play and he decides what he plays, with what, if he wants to go out, go see someone, if he wants get bored, how do you manage that boredom, what comes to mind, etc. By the way, managing boredom is also a total exercise in creative thinking

As a mom, I just try to be attentive to their interests, see what their inner motivations are , and from there I propose something. For example, you will see many sensory masses on the blog because that is something that Terrícola loves, as well as playing with mud, dinosaurs … The ideal is to adapt the ideas to the interests of your little ones .

I write all this because it is something that I have considered myself many times (and I will keep thinking about it, hehe). I love preparing and thinking about all these things and my little one loves it even more. He always says to me “Shall we do an activity, mommy?” And for me that is a sign that you want to do things, to learn, to have fun. But perhaps for others it is structuring a part of the time.

I started to think about all that about whether to propose activities or not when it came up for debate in the shared parenting group that Jan and I go to (l’Escaleta). After thinking about it a lot, looking for information on American homeschooling / unschooling websites (full of fascinating material, by the way) and talking about it with friends like Gemma, my conclusion and what I feel is that everything is relative, that you have to find the right point that everyone goes wellIf mom hates doing these activities, it is better not to do them, of course (there are other alternatives and things to do mommy, I’ll tell you about this soon), if the child doesn’t like it either, they shouldn’t be forced, ever. And surely if the little one already has a lot of structured time (between school, extracurricular, weekends at home with grandparents or cousins, etc. etc.) then he will not need it so much.

But if on the contrary, it seems to us that he does, that he likes it, that there is time to do it calmly and willingly, that he is interested in certain subjects … What is wrong with thinking of fun activities to do?

Obviously, the interest must be intrinsic to the child, from the inside out . It is not about the child doing things that Mom likes but the opposite. But these types of activities are another way of learning, especially through the senses .

And the accumulation of experiences that they live through them allows them to start improvising and inventing new uses for everything they do , that is, to exercise creative thinking.

It is what I like the most, when they imagine and surprise you using things in a way that would never have occurred to you. And you, does your child surprise you by improvising new utilities?