When to Resist the Urge to Teach

Five-year-old Hannah was looking closely at a daisy growing on the edge of the playground. When I walked over to her, she remarked, “Flower petals are like fingers.” “Well, not really,” I pointed out. “Fingers can pull and hold things, and petals can’t.”  The conversation stopped there, and I wondered later – had Hannah’s thinking […]

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Welcome to the Tiger Farm

An important part of young children’s creativity is that “the young child is not bothered by inconsistencies, departures from convention, nonliteralness … which often results in unusual and appealing juxtapositions and associations (Gardner 1993, 288).” Unfortunately, we as teachers sometimes work against this, steering children right back to literalness and conventionality. A few years ago, […]

The Joy of Knots

The Joy of Knots (This piece originally appeared in my book “Teaching Creativity” (Whitmore Books, 2010). You can order it here.) What messages do we send children about problem solving? Many young children probably think something like this: “Problem solving is for grown-ups. And it’s not fun. In fact, it’s so not fun that it […]

“Explore the World”

“Explore the World” Learning About Children and Creativity from Richard P. Feynman I’ve learned a great deal about teaching creative thinking to young children from a man who wasn’t an artist, but a scientist. Richard P. Feynman was one of the greatest physicists of our time. He was well known for his work in quantum […]

How to Listen Out Loud

(This piece is adapted from my book “Teaching Creativity” (Whitmore Books, 2014). E. Paul Torrance, one of the pioneers of creativity education, suggested that to nurture creativity, “We can show children that their ideas have value by listening to their ideas and considering them” ( Torrance and Goff, 1990). Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? The key […]

An Easy, Improvisational Song Using Signing

An Easy, Improvisational Song Using Signing (This song appears in my book “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Rhythm Instruments for More for Active Learning.”) Did you know that ASL is the fourth most widely used language in the United States, after English, Spanish, and Chinese? Many early childhood centers are introducing ASL words in their classroom. […]