I put out trays of Legos for first graders last week. Students were asked to create something from them, take a photo, and then we would upload it to Seesaw where they would describe what they made. I told the students they could make anything they wanted either with someone else or by themselves. The only constraints I put on this was that these were the only Legos that could be used.
I was surprised when one child raised her hand to ask if she could make a house. “Of course,” I responded, thinking that perhaps she’d missed some of the instructions. Then someone else asked if he could make an airplane. Others followed with questions about what to make.
Yes, I know that kids feed off each other. The perfect example is when one needs to visit the restroom, suddenly everyone seems to need to go as well. What surprised me is that the children weren’t eager to get to the Legos. Instead, they were more concerned with finding out what they were “allowed” to build.
Once I convinced the students they could build whatever they wanted, they finally jumped into it and came up with some clever structures.
Although a few years old, this article by Josh Linkner in Forbes magazine, How Kids Lose Their Creativity as They Age (and How to Prevent It), offers excellent insight into the problem along with ideas on what to do about it. And, it’s something we ALL need to work on! What are ways you encourage creativity in your classroom?