Do arts teach creativity?
A magical sight on a summer day or early evening is that of the shimmering wings of a dragonfly. The delicate form and the fragile see-through wings invite you to imagine what it would be like to see the world from a dragonfly’s point of view. This Chinese Nursery Rhyme perfectly captures the magic.
Sailing freely in the sky,
Gliding on the summer breeze,
Up and down as you please.
Flying alone, feeding in the sun,
Coming home when the day is done,
Free and happy in your heart,
Surely your life’s a life apart
Children will love bringing the outdoors inside and make some stunning natural crafts using material found in nature or the garden. The seeds from maple trees are great fun. In the crafts below, they have been used to make delicate beautiful dragonflies.
- Maple seeds
- Twigs around 10 cm (4 inches)
- Glue or glue gun
- Glitter glue
Paint the maple seeds and twigs. Place four maple seeds on the work surface and add a drop of glue to each end. Place a twig on top. Let the glue dry and decorate the edge of the wings with the glitter glue. Use two small glass beads and attach the eyes with glue.
Sadly many dragonfly species are at risk of extinction. Many of the ponds that they call home have been transformed into dry areas by farming. The delicate insects are also very sensitive to changes in the climate.Thus, looking for the value of these creatures seems to be an important topic to explore.
Ken Robison describes creativity as having original ideas that has a value. The opinions regarding whether creativity can be taught may be divided. But even if creativity cannot not be taught, the good news is that creative thinking and the creative process can be taught.
Focusing the attention on various ways to approach a task and ways to meet challenges involved in solving a task can be explained. A range of tools to spark creativity can be used, such as random words, random pictures and rethinking the goals. Engaging in art itself may not necessarily promote the development of creative thinking. But creative thinking has often be explicitly taught in art, which is one underlying reason why children who study arts, grow up to become creative thinkers.
Often it is assumed that the “best” idea or the most creative idea is a complete and finished product. But a good idea can be described as an idea that can be improved upon. If we want children to walk out into the world as creative people, we need to guide them into how to be creative thinkers. Not everyone may grow up to develop great mind-blowing innovations but every child can be taught to embrace the world with a creative mind. Creative and great solutions are needed in our everyday life.
Part of the creative process involves deciding if the idea has value. While making dragonfly crafts or reading about dragonflies, you can invite children to think about the value of these insects. In nature, everything has a value. Often the economic value is given priority but there are other value, for example, aesthetic, personal value, and cultural value.
Value is things that we believe are important. Dragonflies have a value in the ecosystem since they help control populations of mosquitoes and other flies.
A Think Dive into values and positive aspects with dragonflies provides children we a chance to practice some crucial aspects of the creative process.
For me, dragonflies bring a bit of magic to the world. An aesthetic value – watching the delicate shimmering wings makes the world a more beautiful place.
What value does your child think they have?
Finally, some great books about dragonflies to further inspire your child to explore the magic and value of dragonflies.
Wanda and her friend Dragonfly fly away on an adventure that takes them to the moon and rowing on the high seas. They meet some wonderful pink-spotted kangaroos on unchartered islands. This book is a great magical treat.
Eliza discovers a dragonfly nymph at a nearby pond. At first, she does not like the creature but then the magic of watching it hatch into a beautiful creature changes Eliza’s mind. While watching the creature grow up, she realises things about growing up.
George is tired of his pet hamster and sets off to the jungle to live in the trees with the chimpanzees. But he does not get very far in his search for a more interesting pet like a snake or lizard, before he meets a beautiful green dragonfly. The wise dragonfly shows George that creatures in his own backyard are more fascinating than he could ever have imagined.
This book captures the wonderful, magic with dragonflies. A school story with a difference. Tally is sent away to boarding school but Delderton Hall is anything but an ordinary school. Fascinating staff and pupils makes this book sparkle with imagination and creativity. Tally discovers a travelogue about a European country called Bergania, which is trying to stand up to Hitler. She meets a prince, Karil, and finds herself in dangerous adventure where friendship is tested. Karil is miserable about the death of his father, the stuffiness of the court and his own lack of freedom. He takes Tally to the Dragonfly Pool, which is his magical refuge.