Why less is more - also when it comes to creativity

blog subtitle 20190522-01-01

There are many reasons why I am convinced that limitations and creative processes are a great cocktail. The argument is based both on reasons that make sense for each individual – and, at the same time, it is related to global climate challenges that we are all increasingly facing. Therefore, my statement is at the same time related to theoretical considerations of children’s creative development (based on research) and upon my personal ambitions of both the future planet and the values that we want to teach our children.

Today, I will share with you some of the reasons why I believe less (material) is more when it comes to stimulating children’s creativity.  

When you use fewer materials while designing and making creative activities with children, the children do not have to concentrate on what they want to use, because the frame is already set.  When the materials are few, it releases energy and sharpens the creative potential, because it allows the children to focus on the design and the process of developing a solution. Thereby, the process of design and making is more likely to achieve a deeper level of contemplation – and the decisions and experiments will get the optimal conditions.

Beside releasing energy to focus on the creative solutions, I also believe that teaching our children to be satisfied with less, rather than wanting more and more, is an important value that is worth striving for in general – especially taking the challenges of the climate into consideration. Therefore, I also think there is a great pedagogical point in only selecting particular materials, and not always offering children stacks of options.

When I deliberately offer few materials to my own children, while being in aesthetic creative processes, it is not because I cannot afford the alternative – but because I want to teach them, that they do not have to be afraid of missing out – and the future of the planet cannot afford the alternative.

More options and more materials do not necessarily mean more creativity. I believe it to be the other way around. When our children are not afraid of missing out on materials (and options in general), they not only become more original and creative, but they also practice an important mental exercise at the same time. The virtue of moderation.

In a word full of endless information and possibilities, children easily become confused and stressed, if we do not set up constraints. Providing less material also provides a peaceful space to develop ideas. That is why at an individual level, I believe that less is more.

By teaching our children to come up with creative solutions, using only what is available in the situation, I personally see it as an opportunity to plant a sympathetic seed of gratefulness that fosters not only creativity but also supports a particular sustainable mindset. A mindset that makes sense not only for our children but also for the future of the earth.

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