20 Resources for Teaching Creativity

There's nothing worse than sitting down to write on the topic of creativity and having your brain go into a total creative black hole. That's where I am right this very moment as I write. I've spent 15 minutes trying to come up with a creative lead-in for this post, and it just isn't happening.  It makes me need to scream, loudly. Unfortunately, I have a sleeping child in the next room, so screaming isn't an option.  You can imagine it, though, right? :)

Today's post (which was supposed to be yesterday's post...thank you for your understanding as Creativity Thursday became Creativity Friday this week.  Yesterday's post just needed to take priority.)  is the third in a series.  If you've missed the first two, be sure to check them out:  Teaching Creativity When You Don't Feel Creative (And Why Do I  Need to Teach Creativity Anyway?) and Teaching Creativity: Where Do We Start?

Those two posts were originally published at the Homeschool Toolbox website.  With the owner's decision to close that site, permission was given to repost our HSTB columns on our personal sites.  I am continuing the series here with Creativity Thursdays.

So we've talked about the "Why?" of teaching creativity, and we've given a few ideas for getting started. Last week I promised a list of resources.  This list is in no way exhaustive.  There is a whole world of resources out there!

I also need to say that I haven't necessarily used all of the resources listed.  Some I have and have read/used.  Some I have, but haven't actually read/used yet.  {*Blush*  I know I'm the only homeschool mom who has shelves of resources we "haven't gotten to yet", right?}I have high hopes for this year in that regard! I'm trying to be more intentional about using the resources that we have this year!

I'm also trying to be more intentional in teaching creativity to my own crew this year.  Some seasons we've done better with that than others.  Recently, the kids have done a lot of creative projects, but I've not done well in guiding and participating with them in an intentional way.  That is definitely one of my goals for this year!

Now, without further ado, the list!

Books I Own:

  • Educating the Wholehearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson - This book is about much more than teaching creativity.  It's one of my very favorite books on homeschooling and childrearing.  However, their section on building the mental muscle of creativity is some of the best info I've read on developing creativity in children (and adults!).  And it's just a good read for parents, period.  I'm re-reading it again as I do so often at the beginning of a new school year. 

  • Real Learning: Education in the  Heart of the Home, by Elizabeth Foss - This is another of my very favorite books on learning and child-rearing.  Although the author is Catholic and I am not, I have found much of value in this book (and I just skim over the parts which contain religious references with which I don't agree). Again, this whole book is worth reading, but her chapter on creativity is just excellent.  Just reading the title..."Creativity-Cultivating Color and Cacophony"...makes me feel more creative! 

  • Growing Creative Kids, by Dr. Wesley Sharpe - I don't necessarily agree with everything in this book, but Dr. Sharpe has some excellent information that goes way beyond the artsy-craftsy project-based activities we often associate with creativity.  Dr. Sharpe gets to the meat of developing creative thinking as a lifestyle.  While each family will need to figure out how to make this information work within their own parameters of discipline and lifestyle, it is definitely a worthwhile read that will encourage parents to be intentional about building creative muscle in their children. 

  • Drawing With Children, by Mona Brookes - This is one of the most-recommended drawing books for children around.  We are planning to work through at least the basic lessons this year.  Not only is this a good "hands-on" resource for learning to draw, it also has some excellent information on creativity and artistic thinking.  Again, I don't agree with everything Ms. Brookes writes, but overall, there is excellent info here.

  • Experience Art, by Brenda Turner -  This is a neat little book which was actually published by the Arkansas Department of Education.  As I was looking at it in preparation for this post, I discovered that it was actually developed by the state Art Curriculum Task Force, on which a cousin of mine served at the time.  Cool little small-world discovery. :)   This is a simple book containing basic lesson plans for teaching various aspects of art, from line, shape, and color, to sculpture, ceramics, and art history. I have no idea where I came across it...not sure if I found it at a book sale or if it was given to me.  It's still available at Amazon. 

  • Thinkertoys, by Michael Michalko - I picked this book up at a used book bag sale thinking it looked interesting.  Subtitled "A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques", this book is full of ideas for young people and adults in learning to use creativity in business and personal applications. I'm planning to have my teenage son work through some of this book this year. 
Books on my Wish List: 

  • The Creative Family, by Amanda Soule -   (Also her books Handmade Home and The Rhythm of Seasons)  Amanda Soule is familiar to many from her blog, Soulemama (listed below).  All of her books are on my wishlist.  Much info and inspiration for developing creativity as a family. 
  • Playful Learning, by Mariah Bruehl - This book looks wonderful! 
  • The Artful Parent, by Jean Van't Hul - This book is subtitled Simple Ways to Fill Your Family's Life with Art and Creativity.  It looks like an excellent resource for getting started adding creativity to your family, particularly with younger children.  
  • Crafting With Kids, by Catherine Woram - Simple project ideas using everyday household items.  This one's been on my wish list for a long time. 
  • Made to Play, by Joel Henriques -  Wooden spool birds, a toilet paper roll zoo, wire people...this book is full of fun, creative projects!
 Educational and Inspiring Creative Blogs:

(Note:  There are so many fabulous blogs on creativity in the blogosphere these days.  This is a small portion of a long list of fun creative blogs.  I'll be posting additional links on future Creativity Thursdays, so keep an eye peeled! Also, I cannot necessarily recommend all content on these blogs.  Please use your own discretion in deciding which ones are good fits for your family.) 

  • The Artful Parent (by the author of the above book of the same name) - Beautiful blog with lots of fun ideas.
  • Living Creatively - This is an Arkansas blogger I just discovered.  I can't wait to explore this blog more!  
  • The Creative Mama - A collaborative blog on all aspects of creative life.
  • Filth Wizardry - Crazy name, but this gal is a fun mom, and she has some great creative ideas!
  • Fangletronics - It's always great to get the dads involved! Cool blog by the husband of the Filth Wizardry blogger. 
  • Harmony Art Mom - Blog of the mom behind the Harmony Fine Arts curriculum.  
  • Let's Explore - Subtitled "Adventures in Playful Family Living", this blog goes way beyond "arts and crafts". 
  • The Creative Family Creativity is more than just art!
  • The Chocolate Muffin Tree - great creative ideas for all ages.

Again, there are so many great resources available on developing creativity in children (and in ourselves!), that this is just the tip of the iceberg.  I will be sharing more resources on future Creativity Thursdays.

And I'd love to hear from you!  What are your favorite creativity-building resources?  Share them with us in the comments, please!


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