Creativity is an essential skill that children can develop throughout their lives. A study by the University of Plymouth found that creativity lies in not only creativity-based skills but also intellectual expertise and intrinsic motivation. This lines up with the study’s results: older children are more creative than younger children, especially when placed in group settings.
Collaboration allows children to exchange ideas and knowledge to further spark their creativity. Of the four tenets listed in LHH’s feature on turning ideas into reality, collaboration can help the creative process by breaking down silos and improving diversity, which generates outcomes that are greater than what an individual can produce on their own. While collaboration does need to be balanced with independent work, team-driven projects are essential in building communication and inspiring new ideas, as children learn how to be sounding boards for one another. Cooperative work not only improves creativity, but also teaches children to rely on each other and boost their social interactions.
As someone involved in a child’s development, you may want to encourage them to foster good relationships to expand their creativity. Read on to find out more about how children can enhance their creative process through collaboration.
Group work is a great way to start communication and collaboration, but it’s necessary for adults to teach children proper group etiquette and behavior. Having discussions without interrupting each other and giving everyone time to express themselves are essential skills for proper communication. Allow children to think for themselves and voice their own opinions, rather than stepping in. Instead, offer tips and open-ended questions in case they’re not sure how to continue. By encouraging open discussion, communication between children will improve, and this will naturally will spark creativity.
Keep the groups small
Collaborative efforts work best when everyone is given a role and is individually accountable for their work. Having large groups can make it difficult to assign an equal set of tasks, so it’s important to have groups with just enough people to ensure that each one is contributing their fair share of the work. In a classroom setting, teachers may have to define specific areas to that groups can allocate their members to so that processes can be more efficient. Collaboration can happen even outside the classroom, like when parents designate chores for a group of siblings.
After collaborative activities, it’s essential to come together to reflect on the children’s progress. A study on X-Mol titled “Student Engagement and Creative Confidence Beliefs in Higher Education” found that integrating reflective practices in learning was highly effective in improving future creative perceptions. Teachers and parents should ask questions with a focus on positive sharing and feedback, rather than relying just on the output. Here are some questions you can ask:
Did you share your materials?
Did you need help with a task?
Were you able to ask for help?
These questions can give insight into what can be improved, encourage children to be more mindful of how they work together, and improve their overall creativity.
Through fostering a good environment for collaboration, children become more willing to share their creative ideas. As mentioned in our post on “The Need for Creative Thinking in Our Schools,” the involvement of children’s primary educators is essential for the development of their critical thinking and creativity. This in turn can help nurture children to be greater leaders and problem solvers, which will help them lead successful, fulfilling lives.
About Author: Cydney Tomlinson
Cydney is a freelance writer. She enjoys writing a variety of topics, but particularly enjoys ideas related to family and recreation. When not working on her next piece, she spends time outdoors with her husband and two Golden Retrievers.