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The 21st April is World Creativity and Innovation Day. For parents and teachers this is a great opportunity to encourage children to innovate and think creatively. Children are naturally very creative. If you’ve ever seen a toddler attempting to get somewhere, you will know that they are not often stopped by obstacles, choosing to climb over them instead. Innovation and creativity are skills which are very important for children to continue building. Yet, building these skills in children is not always our focus. It can be hard to know where to start, but perhaps the books our children read are a good starting point.
When I Coloured in the World tells the story of a child who, having received a box of crayons and an eraser, sets about changing the world. He uses his crayons to change words like drought and war to rain and peace. We can use this book to empower children into believing that they can transform the world around them. All they need is creativity and the ability to see past the present and look into the future. Perhaps, we could ask children what things they would change about the word and how they might go about changing it.
Wordless books can also be another fantastic resource for building children’s creative skills. They encourage children to find answers and solutions to the questions lying in front of them, and they do all this with beautiful artistic illustrations and a compelling story. In Chalk Eagle so much is left up to the reader’s imagination. Where do the child and the eagle fly to? What kinds of people do they meet? Nazli Tahvili sows the seeds of the story, but it is up to the child to tell them. The boy in the story feels bored in his city; he longs to see the rivers and the mountains, but how can he when he is only a child? Instead of staying put and being bored, he decides to use his imagination and some chalk to find a way for him to explore the world, while staying right where he is. Chalk Eagle teaches children not to give up on their dreams when they find an obstacle, but to go, or fly, around it.
Fantastic books can promote creativity and innovation in children. They inspire, encourage them to think inventively, and help them to challenge the world around them. Perhaps if we want our children to be the creative inventors of tomorrow we should try reading with them today.
- Check out these children’s craft activities designed by Hoda Haddadi
- Read a fab review of When I Coloured in the World by Patricia Nozell
- Check out this lovely review of Chalk Eagle by Laura Davis, an educational consultant
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