What are Invitations to Create?
Invitations to Create are arts and crafts, engineering, or science provocations, or set-ups, that invite young children to flex their minds while encouraging independent thinking through open-ended exploration. Once the materials are set up, the child can play with and manipulate the materials in whatever way he or she desires. While adults sometimes step in to provide some ideas on how to use the materials, these activities are primarily child-driven.
Creative Invitations can focus on arts and crafts for kids, simple science explorations, or anything that encourages creativity for kids.
To put it simply, set up a limited number of interesting materials, and see what your child comes up with. This should be fun and easy!
How to Set Up an Invitation to Create
The basic premise of Creative Invitations follows four simple steps:
- Clear the work table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation
- Artfully arrange the materials to provoke creative ideas
- Limit the choice of materials to just a few items
- Provide clues about how to use the materials, but keep the project open-ended so that original ideas can flourish.
To get started, you could set up your invitation the night before or take a few moments to arrange the set up while your child is playing or napping. Also popular in my house is to include the child in setting up the materials.
And finally, once the child’s work is underway, it’s important to be open to diversions and changes of plans. Materials can often jog the imagination to dream up new combinations of materials that aren’t on the table.
Easy Invitations that Encourage Creativity for Kids
Sticker and Frame Art Activity – Stickers, Paper, Tape
Doily and Scissors – Doilies, Scissors, Construction Paper, Tape
Glue and Sand – Glue, Sand, Paper, Spoon
Tape and Paper Bags – Paper Bag, Tape, Stickers
Paint and Looping Lines – Large paper, tempera paint, brushes, Sharpie, Water Container
Leaves and Glue – Leaves, Cardboard, Small Bowl, Glue
Colorful Tape and Paper – Tape, Paper
Tape and Found Image Collage – Magazine Images, Washi Tape
Valentines Day Cards – Wrapping Paper, Doilies, Glue, Scissors
Vinegar and Baking Soda – Vinegar, baking soda, bowls, tray
Join the Creative Table Fan Group
A couple years ago I started a fun hashtag on Instagram for documenting Creative Invitations, and as a way to inspire other parents and educators with simple set ups that encourage creative thinking. If you’d like to join or take a peek at close to 6000 ideas that have been shared, search for #creativetable on Instagram, or browse here.
More about Creative Table on Instagram
More About the Creative Table Project
Shana from The Mom Edit (a must-read blog for fashion-conscious moms) shares her personal experience with this kind of art-making in Do you #creativetable?
Rookie Moms share their experience with #creativetable over here.
I shared 3 easy Invitations to Create on Modern Parents Messy Kids.