Creative development is one of the six areas of learning for early years education and is all about being creative, expressing ideas and responding to experiences. Creative development is what happens as babies and young children start to explore the world around them. All children have creative ability and it’s up to parents and carers to help them express this ability and develop their creativity.
During the first 18 months or so, playing mostly involves using the senses – sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell.
From a really early age your baby will respond to sound, movement and colour. Talk or sing to him/her constantly, make sounds, the more interesting the better. Blowing raspberries, popping your cheek with you finger, gargling noises – all of these will attract baby’s attention and encourage him to begin some rudimentary communication. As baby gets a little older you can start to play pat-a-cake games and peek-a-boo. Move on to songs and rhymes with hand actions, holding baby’s hands to help him to do the actions while he learns how to control hands and arms.
Offer simple toys such as blocks, beakers, cushions, babybooks, etc in bright colours and a variety of textures so that baby can feel as well as look. Make sure that toys are washed regularly as baby will be exploring everything with his mouth! Toys that make a noise are great for catching baby’s attention – squeakers, rattles, rain sticks, bells – these are all invaluable educational toys during the first couple of years.
Mark making is a vitally important part of baby’s development, so make sure you have plenty of crayons and paper. Okay, your baby’s scribble is probably worlds away from great works of art, but everybody needs to start somewhere. Learning to scribble is an important stage of development and baby will eventually go on to develop control while making marks and eventually begin to draw.
Playdough is great for creative development – it’s malleable and squishy and baby can push, pull, squash, roll, flatten and break it while learning to manipulate this magical substance. Even better, as baby plays with the clay/playdough he will begin to develop gross and fine motor control.
This is all about being creative, responding to experiences and expressing ideas. Creative development comes about in babies through exploring the world about them. Finding out about and using a wide range of materials and media, singing, dancing and imaginative play.