Monday, July 12, 2010

Creativity on the Playground

Contributed by JC Boushh

A recent article in Newsweek magazine blamed the decline of children's creativity on two likely factors. The numbers of hour’s kids now spend watching TV and playing video games and the lack of creativity development in our schools. The most optimal outdoor learning environment not only incorporates developmentally appropriate playground equipment, natural landscape features for exploration, but also the novelty and complexity of loose parts.

Loose parts allow children to be problem solvers in a stress less learning environment outside of the structured classroom. Creativity helps children to build upon their imaginative, brain-storming, innovative, and inventive skills that will eventually translate in to creative innovative adults.

· Involve children in choosing game designs to enhance their playground environment and increase the opportunities for play.

· Allow children to alter or add new features to their game play that keeps children engaged.

· Provide them with amble materials to play with during their outdoor activity time.

Novelty and complexity are key components in challenging the brain and providing external experiences that increase cognition and problem solving skills. A healthy dose of unstructured play time mixed with normal structured play time will do wonders for creating creative learning environments.