Supporting children’s creativity

What is creativity and why is it so important to support children’s creative thinking?

For such a common topic, creativity is difficult to define. In an early childhood setting, creativity is often linked to art—painting and drawing and so on. However, creativity is also an important part of developing children’s problem solving and innovative thinking.

In the next issue of Every Child magazine, Julie Wren from Edith Cowan University talks about the benefits of including art in the program for young children. Introducing artworks in an early childhood service allows children to use creativity and imagination as a way of making meaning. Art provides young children with the opportunity to turn their feelings and thoughts into something physical.

Rosalind Littledyke, from the University of New England, considers the view of everyday creativity as people solving everyday problems. This outlook can be useful for educators when thinking about supporting creativity in an early childhood program.

As Littledyke points out, creativity can be observed in many everyday activities, when young children:

  • create stories in their play
  • mix colours for a painting
  • negotiate disagreements in their play
  • explain things to each other; making sense of their worlds.

(Littledyke, 2014, p. 5).

Supporting the development of creative and innovative thinking is significant for children as they face new situations and challenges throughout their lives, especially with constant developments in technology.

How to support children’s creative thinking

Providing a range of resources to encourage creativity within the service allows children to experiment with different objects, colours and textures. Treasure baskets can be created using everyday items that allow for open-ended play (refer to the Littledyke resource for more information on how to create a treasure basket).

Educators can also support creative thinking simply by ensuring that children have time to play. Play provides children with the opportunity to problem solve, make mistakes, build connections and create within a secure environment.

For early childhood educators it means looking at the constraints on practice, such as prescriptive and formal curricula, rigid timetables, and finding ways of overcoming them. It also means looking at what we provide from the child’s point of view and finding ways of supporting their learning from their perspective (Littledyke, 2014, p. 8).

creativity index

The World Economic Forum has published an article on what the world’s most creative countries are which you can read here.

There are also many resources available to help inspire educators to incorporate creativity within a centre and support creative thinking for children.

Later this month, the ECA Learning Hub will release ‘Visual art and creativity in your curriculum’, a new module from the talented Gai Lindsay. Using beautiful video footage, the module explores the fundamental role of visual arts and creativity in children’s learning, and helps educators to find their own creativity. It features extensive questions to prompt self-reflection, inspiration and renewal in your service. Gai Lindsay is a lecturer in early childhood education at the University of Wollongong, where she is also completing her PhD. Gai is also a skilled visual artist who has worked with children, educators and services to support creativity.

The next edition of ECA’s Every Child magazine will focus on creativity in early childhood and how educators can support creative processes and thinking.

For more information about creativity and higher-order thinking—including how educators can recognise and support creative thinking—Rosalind Littledyke’s book, Supporting children’s creativity in early childhood education, is available on the ECA Shop.

A number of quality-assured books are also available to purchase online at the ECA Shop:


Littledyke, R. (2014). Supporting children’s creativity in early childhood education. Everyday Learning Series, Volume 12, Number 3. Canberra: Early Childhood Australia.

Early Childhood Australia

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has been a voice for young children since 1938. We are the peak early childhood advocacy organisation, acting in the interests of young children, their families and those in the early childhood field. ECA advocates to ensure quality, social justice and equity in all issues relating to the education and care of children aged birth to eight years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top