Raising Creative & Playful Thinkers
by Yesim Kunter View Bio
Yesim Kunter is a recognized play expert and a creative strategist understanding behavior of people to create new experiences and define new opportunities.
As a consultant; develops “playful” experiences for Fortune 500 Companies, Universities, Communities by applying ‘Play Philosophy’ to products, environments, communities, culture creation as well as market research with future scoping; She has facilitated numerous successful ‘PlaytoInnovate® Workshops’ in training organizations with diverse backgrounds from kids to professionals for leveraging Creative Thinking and held talks at prestigious conferences such as World Innovation Convention, TEDx. Global Innovation Forum London.
Previous to her consultancy she had worked for Toys"R"Us, Lego and Hasbro as a play futurist.
Yesim was brought up in Turkey and lived in New York, Denmark, Billund and now in London, which gave her a multi-cultural perspective that helps her to become a keen observer in human behavior.
Let your little Michelangelos connect toothpicks and marshmallows, revealing a one-of-a-kind work of art. Best of all, you can keep each sculpture, disassemble and start again, or eat it.
Find more creative play ideas here!
As we grow into our adult lives we learn to fit into structures which dampens our playful curiosity. This greatly limits our thought process in thinking out-of-the box and doing things differently. Children are naturally playful and creative, as their boundaries are not yet fully formed. These characteristics can be reinforced if we grant them the space to explore, discover, experiment, express, and ask questions freely, in their own way.
Playfulness is the key to our adaptation and evolution. Imagine that you are sent to a planet where nothing around is familiar. In order to understand and make sense of your surroundings, you will engage all your sensors to collect as much information as possible. Children’s early universe is very similar to the planet. They don’t have prior knowledge of their environment. They act like a bundle of unsynchronized sensors eager to explore everything and anything around them. We call this stage the ‘Sensory Period’. It is the opportune time for children to become explorers of their own world. During the Sensory Period they can be messy. Mess is part of their laboratory where they get familiar with how things feel, function, behave, and interact.
“Playfulness is the key to our adaption and evolution.”
The best place to promote children curiosity and playfulness is nature itself where unstructured play is facilitated. We can help them explore their surrounding by asking open-ended questions, prompting their curiosity with variety of textures, colors, objects, forms contextualizing with storytelling.
Storytelling is one of the most important activities in our effort to process the scattered information and connect the dots. Stories take all learned dispersed information and put it into context to form an idea or a theme. If sensory play is the gathering of information, storytelling puts the information into meaning. Fantasy Play and Imaginative Play are some type of activities that opens up new possibilities in understanding abstract concepts. So let your kids form their own stories, ask questions, and connect their own dots.
As children learn to get familiar with their surrounding through sensory activities and storytelling, their curiosity and desire to better understand the world will be reinforced. They become better tuned to be critical thinkers. Providing them with variety of information, taking them to places like museums; talks, exhibitions and introducing them to new circumstances will expand their imagination, and better form their logic. This is a critical turning point.
The act of playful mindset connects the information gathered along the way, and ads multiple dimensions to the learning. As Einstein states “Creativity is Intelligence having Fun”. It is this playful wonder that drives children desire to learn and understand more. In doing so they become creative people.
What can you do more for children to nurture their own Creative Genius? Below is a quick recipe.
- Let them be free to explore and question their Sensory World.
- Provide them with unstructured playtime, and less directed play.
- Expose them to tools and environments where play can be creative and manifest in many ways.
- Tell them stories and have them form their own stories.
- Allow them to have fun in multi-dimensional settings where the surrounding, the facts and the information are diverse.
- Nurture their imagination and keep it alive.