Cultures, the social domain of practices, discourses, and material expressions that unite a community, are created when people play together, and creativity and creative expression is an essential part of this process. Sadly, emphasis on creativity decreases as children get older, the social investment in creative expression decreases, and the creative spirit that exists in young minds soon disappears. In his article, Mitchel Resnick addresses the concept of “lifelong kindergarten” and the need for play to continue into adulthood.
Why Creating is So Important
So what makes the act of creating and making so important? Kindergarten is a vital stage in childhood development. “As they playfully work together, they learn about the creative process: How to imagine new ideas, try them out, test the boundaries, experiment with alternatives, get feedback from others, and generate new ideas based on their experiences.” writes Resnick. When you make something, you give life to ideas. This allows for further learning and encourages others to play along.
As important as it is for adults to promote play for children, it’s equally important for them to participate. After kindergarten, focus on play and creating decreases in favor of straight academic instruction. Overtime, that fervor for making and sharing diminishes. “Instead of making kindergarten more like the rest of school, we need to make the rest of school—indeed, the rest of life—more like kindergarten,” writes Resnick. For adults, this means finding a new way to play, usually involving digital technology or media play. Together, we can all contribute to continuing the creative mindset.
We believe that “we thrive as a happier, healthier and more innovative community through the radiant power of play.” At Minnesota Children’s Museum, we invite you to play, no matter your age. Adults, that means you, too! Our exhibits are sure to get the creative juices flowing, come visit us soon.
Who is Mitchel Resnick?
Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, explores how new technologies can engage people in creative learning experiences. Resnick’s research group developed the “programmable brick” technology that inspired the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit. He co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, a worldwide network of after-school centers where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies. Resnick’s group also developed Scratch, an online community where children program and share interactive stories, games, and animations.