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         Expressing and Developing Creativity - 5 to 6 years

Creative skills of pretending, imagining, thinking, fantasising and inventing help children deal with the world in which they live. These skills help in problem-solving, getting ​along with others and understanding the world. When used in variety of art forms, these skills build self-confidence.

At this age children can deal with ideas about things and characters that are not present. They become more attentive to the chain of events, incongruities and surprises in the plot, and are able to discuss what they like or do not like about the plot. 

They are also more project-minded now. They spend time planning how to construct buildings, express themselves through drawings and play out scenarios. They have discussions about possible scenarios and who is to do what.

Many five to six year olds show better control in writing and drawing. Their drawings are now more recognisable, with sky and ground corresponding to size relations. Their stick people have up to six or seven body parts. They can draw objects with details, copy the alphabet, and even write some letters from memory.

In addition to building, role playing, speaking, singing, and dancing, five to six year olds are becoming increasingly fascinated with capturing (snap shots), recording (saving) and editing transitory event, such as music, voices, and movements.

WHAT YOU CAN DO​?

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Treasure box

​​Keep a "treasure box"! Think twice before throwing away your trash -- especially if it has potential to become part of an eye-catching art piece! Collect bits and bobs of foil, cardboard, tinsel, cellophane and plastic and store them in a "treasure box". Keep it in a place that is easy to reach. Encourage your child to experiment with using the materials in the treasure box to create independent art projects. Whether it is a robot, toy or dollhouse, the possibilities are endless!
 
Build a craft stick house

​​​​​​Making a craft-stick house. Provide a sheet of cardboard, some popsicle sticks and glue. Ask your child to glue the popsicle sticks to the paper in the shape of a house. He can even use a pencil to draw out a shape of a house before sticking on the popsicle sticks. When the glue is dry, let your child paint and decorate the house. Display his art piece for all to admire.
 
​​Twist the plot and change the endings. Read your child's favourite stories and open up possibilities by changing the endings or giving the plots a twist! For a start, try asking "What will happen if...?" or "How can we change the story ending?"
 
Twist plots and change endings!

​​Build a maze or obstacle course for toy cars! Encourage your child to build a simple maze or obstacle course using recycled tissue boxes, toilet rolls, cardboard sheets and other recycled materials. Incorporate ramps and slopes of different heights and steepness and watch as the cars roll down!
 
Build an obstacle course for your cars!

Use recycled materials to make art!

​​Recycled toilet rolls make great craft materials! Provide your child with some paints, non-toxic glue and materials such as felt, sequins, feathers, buttons, etc, and let his creativity flow! Ask him to describe his creations to you as he constructs. Introduce themes such as animals or transport and encourage him to create artwork based on these themes!
 
Colour your flowers! Add different coloured food colouring to water and insert a cut flower with white petals in the water. Ask your child to observe what happens to the petals. She will be amazed to see the flower change colour! The same experiment can be used using stalks of celery. You can use this experience to teach your child that plants need to draw water in order to survive!
 
Colour your flowers!

Make cookies that spell junior's name!

Make cookies that spell your child's name! Roll out cookie dough and let your child form or cut out letters that form his name! You can use cookie cutters shaped like letters or let your child free form. After the cookies are baked, let your child decorate them using his favourite toppings. Simple cookie dough recipes are readily available online.
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Provide space for your child to retreat to for quiet moments of creative work. An art station can be made uo of a large cardboard box as a table with a little stool for sitting. Equip it with materials such as papers, scraps, glue and child-friendly scissors​. You can also create a dance and costume corner with a standing mirror and CD player that can be easily operated by the child independently to get into the act of moving to the music!
~ Dr Rebecca Chan, Early Childhood Consultant
 
Provide space for your child to retreat to for creative thinking!

Provide a psychologically safe environment. Demonstrate appreciation and learn to celebrate your child's every little effort to create an artwork or a dance, song or rhyme. Be emotionally connected and respond to what your child is communicating and expressing. Children learn to be creative when they know it is safe to do so.
~ Dr Rebecca Chan, Early Childhood Consultant
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Provide a psychologically safe environment to encourage your child's creativity!

Encourage your child to sing and dance to favourite songs. Talk to them about their favourite song and get them to teach you! Try creating new lyrics to familiar songs together (Twinkle, twinkle, little moon, Mary had a little kitten, I'm a little aeroplane, etc)!
~ Ms Lavina Chong, Director/ Co-Founder of Our Music Classroom Pte Ltd and Associate Professor with SIT-Wheelock College, Singapore
 
Encourage your child to sing and dance to favourite songs (five to six years)

Play musical games with your child like The Conga or The Freeze Game (Moves when the music plays and Freezes when the music stops). Also introduce different genres of music to your child such as Pop, Jazz, Classical, Raggae or Country! Talk about how you can move differently. Have fun exploring different body movements.
~ Ms Lavina Chong, Director/ Co-Founder of Our Music Classroom Pte Ltd and Associate Professor with SIT-Wheelock College, Singapore
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Play musical games

Discuss characters

Discuss how characters are created. Explain how characters can be created with make-up, costumes, and props, and allow your child to use face paints and other materials to create different characters. Draw a list of words to describe the character. This is a great vocabulary builder.
  
Expose your child to live performances. Bring him to the theatre, to watch plays, and to other live performances. Discuss how they are different from television programmes and the cinema. Write reviews of the performances together. Have your child draw events in the play and add the speech and thought bubbles.
 
Live performances

Know your community

Introduce the people in your community. These include police officers, fire fighters, doctors, nurses and so on. Discuss their roles and if possible, arrange for a visit to their workplace. After this, your child can role-play, make a booklet about each occupation and even re-construct the vehicles or equipment using recycled materials!
  
Act out different stories

Act out his favourite story. Get your child to suggest options for costumes, props and scenery. Allow him to perform his favourite story or character as often as he likes. Your child may even want to create a surprise ending to the story or even change its plot. Have fun!
 

Make up sound stories
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You can do this using voices and simple percussion instruments to simulate different characters in a story or sounds of a busy street. For instance, different percussion instruments can reflect the main characters in a story (a drum for father bear, a triangle for baby bear).
Make up sounnd stories

Construct a basic maze. Show your child how to build a basic maze using long blocks for the walls of the passages. Allow him to include turns, blind passages and dead ends, all leading to an end point. This allows your child to experiment, learn about directions while building on his creative and gross motor skills.

 



Take photographs. Photographs provide a lasting memory of your child's creative efforts. After the building phase is completed, he can take photographs of his creations and even write stories about them. Invite your child to then share the photographs and stories with family and friends. This not only makes his learning visible too others, it enhances his self-esteem and encourages creativity.

 

Take photographs

Extend and enrich block play. Introduce props and accessories such as vehicles, labels, street signs, miniature people figurines and animals to enrich your child’s block play experiences. Simple art supplies or books can also stimulate block play. Give your child the time, space and materials to create all sorts of structures. Sustained block play develops your child’s understanding about geometry and physical space, allows him to create and represent meanings and increases his sense of empowerment.

 



Experiment with sounds. Interest your child to make sounds with parts of his body. He can do so by clapping hands, slapping sides, snapping fingers, tapping a cheek with the mouth open, patting an open mouth with an opened hand, rubbing hands together, and clicking tongues. Ask your child to invent new ways of making sounds with his body too! This experimentation develops your child’s creativity and helps him find different ways of expressing himself.

Engage in role-play. You may use your child’s favourite story for a start. This helps your child to explore his feelings and understand the viewpoints of others by acting the different characters. When your child is ready, give him puppets, soft toys or take photographs to create and tell imaginative stories with dialogues.

Express through art. Collect songs or musical pieces of various moods - sad songs, happy songs, marches, holiday songs, seasonal songs and so on. Play one of the songs and have your child draw, paint or scribble to express a mood created by the music. Discuss how he represents the mood of the song through his art work will increase his awareness of how the creative process can be used to deal with the emotions elicited.  ​

Introduce your child to musical moods. Encourage your child to respond to the different musical moods and express how he feels when he listens to it them. Discuss how he feels about the music, what kind of scene he can imagine and how he will move to the music. Your child might even create stories to match the mood of the music. This will help your child become more aware of the different ways of expressing himself self-expression. ​



Maintain a scrap container. This is a container into which your child may throw paper scraps, styrofoam or cloth. Your child can put these materials to new uses by creating art projects from them. This helps him to re-think how the materials that he might otherwise consider as garbage can be put to good use.

Make simple rhythm instruments. Begin by encouraging him to explore different materials and the kinds of sounds they make. Offer paper plates, beans, cardboard boxes, rubber bands, food containers, dry pasta, plastic bottles, sticks, metal cans, lids, string and so on.



Allow your child to play with clay. With this he can create an endless variety of three-dimensional sculptures. Provide sticks, tongue depressors, cylinder blocks, cookie cutters, and cups to use as tools to carve shapes and objects. The clay, if left out to dry a few hours, will harden and can then be painted. Your child might enjoy forming numerals, letters or even story figures with clay.
Develop imagination and creative expression. Go on field trips, expose him to different genres of music, and offer opportunities for real-life observations of objects, plants and animals instead of pre-packaged fantasy through TV programmes and movies.

 

Field trips

Give your child opportunities, time and materials. Offer paper, writing tools, blocks, beads, clay and household items to play in unstructured situations. Resist the temptation to turn all play experiences into some form of learning experience.

Speaking about specifics

Bring awareness to your child. By pointing out specifics about the unique elements in what he has made or produced, you can help your child to be aware about his explorations and discoveries. Comment on lines, shapes, colours, patterns, textures, how they are repeated, varied and arranged.

Allow your child to talk. Ask him about how his artwork was created, what it stands for and what it means to him. Respond in a positive and non-judgemental way.

Make a collage out of natural materials. Give your child a bag and take him for a walk to a specific outdoor location. Tell him to take samples of leaves, pebbles, twigs, grass, seeds and other such objects that have fallen to the ground. Caution him against picking any flowers or breaking twigs or branches from a tree.

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