Children’s lives changed beyond recognition when full lockdown began on March 23rd 2020. With schools shut to the majority of pupils, the regular rhythms of childhood and adolescence from school runs and playtime, to exams, celebrations and graduation were put on indefinite hold.
Running a drama company where children normally get together to be creative, to perform together, the whole concept of online teaching felt strange and isolating, of course the children adapted more easily and generally with huge positivity and an eagerness for their weekly lessons. The creative process just took a different path for a while. However children had more time at home, with less to do, once the ideas of painting, reading, board games, dressing up etc ran out, children were left to their own devices and generally many complained of being ‘bored’ but now perhaps we can see this as a very positive thing.
Boredom is not in itself creative – it’s what it leads to that is important
“When we’re bored, there are two key things happening in our mind,” says John Eastwood, a psychologist at the Boredom Lab at York University, Canada. “The first thing is what I would call a ‘desire bind’. That’s when someone is kind of stuck because they desperately want to do something but they don’t want to do anything that’s on offer. Secondly, when you’re bored, your mental capacity is lying fallow. We’re itching to engage our mind. These are the two core things that are what it means to feel bored.”
Boredom is not in itself creative, argues Eastwood, who is the co-author of a book on boredom called Out of my Skull: The Psychology of Boredom. It’s what it leads to that is important. “When you feel bored, because it’s an aversive and uncomfortable state, you’re motivated to look for something else. In that gap there’s a real chance to discover something new. What matters to me and what am I passionate about? I think that looking can be a source of creativity.”
Often our first instinct when we experience the unpleasant niggle of boredom is to shake it off – quickly. With Netflix, Instagram and TikTok videos waiting for our attention, it’s easy to stick a plaster on boredom. On the face of it, it doesn’t make any sense. Boredom seems like the least creative feeling. But it’s actually a way of clearing space for a new idea to spring back up.”
In 1990 JK Rowling was taking a delayed train back to London alone after a weekend flat-hunting in Manchester when the image of a scrawny, bespectacled young boy popped into her head. “I didn’t have a pen and was too shy to ask anyone for one on the train, which frustrated me at the time,” she said in an interview. “But when I look back it was the best thing for me. It gave me the full four hours on the train to think up all the ideas for the book.” If she’d had an iPad loaded with all 12 episodes of Normal People or an endless Twitter feed to scroll through instead of staring out of the window, Harry Potter might have disappeared out of her mind as quickly as he arrived.
Science has linked daydreaming to creativity, and Eastwood believes it’s here where real ideas flourish. “Boredom triggers mind-wandering, and then mind wandering leads to creativity,” he says.
Reading helps creativity and imaginative play – however if reading is hard for your child and the joy of books is lost on them, then turn to audio books.
The human imagination is a powerful thing. Often, we see it most prominently in very young children, but somewhere along their journey we see it lessen and sometimes become lost.
According to Dr Stephanie Carlson, an expert on childhood brain development at the University of Minnesota, children spend as much as two-thirds of their time in a state of imaginative play. After studying how preschool-aged children immerse in ‘non-reality’, she concluded that imaginative play helps children to develop their creativity and strengthen their problem solving skills by forging ‘imaginative pathways’ in their brains.
Robert and Michele Root-Bernestein, co-authors of Sparks of Genius, say:
“In [imaginative] play, the growing child learns many things: how to manipulate physical objects, how to understand the mind behind behaviour, how to share experience with others, how to construct knowledge of the world.”
Reading to children and encouraging them to read on their own, helps to stimulate imaginative play in powerful ways. By providing books that provoke children’s sense of curiosity, fantasy and exploration, parents can support and encourage imaginative play in their children.
However children struggling to read miss out on vital language resources. Listening to books in audio form can help them acquire not only a whole new range of experience, but a vocabulary beyond their own reading level and everyday conversation, enhancing fluency and comprehension. Their horizons expand, they absorb the structure and conventions of storytelling and develop much greater confidence to communicate both orally and on paper, which has enormous benefits to their writing. When they discover the excitement of books through listening, pupils want to read more rather than less.
Good listening skills are essential for effective learning in all areas of the curriculum and will help pupils with their school work and their play. Audiobooks improve concentration and engage pupils with their studies, helping them to achieve at a higher level across the curriculum, hopefully instilling a lifelong love of reading.
Audiobooks enable children to develop vital literacy skills in an enjoyable way. They restore confidence and self-esteem, allow children to inter act with their peers more and create imaginative play from book themes.
Reading just 30 minutes a day flexes mind muscles, it makes children think, fantasise, and use their imagination.
Our Christmas workshop was a huge success – the children worked so hard and created two wonderful performances in just two days!
Well done to everyone that took part.
Please keep a watch on our website for future holiday courses.
I had a fantastic week during the summer holidays doing an allsorts drama course, it was at a School called More House School.
We were working on a production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare.
We started off doing lots of warm up and acting games and getting to know each other.
The teachers were lovely and the other children were very nice. Next we started to look at the play, some characters were really funny so it was good fun reading the play!
Then we started to rehearse the play, everyone did so well. Later on we decided on the costumes.
Every day we rehearsed until the play day came and I was really nervous but also so excited! But as soon as I went on stage I was not nervous at all, it was brilliant and I loved every minute of it!
At the end the Parents’ clapped and cheered which was really nice, so altogether it was a really fun workshop, I made new friends, the teachers were so kind and funny, we played great drama games and I loved doing the play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Hope aged 9!
Now the summer is upon us and hopefully the sun will shine at some point!
It’s time to get children outside, play time is fun, but it’s also an important part of any child development; by sharing their pretend stories through
speech and body language, children learn to understand the world around them. Children learn best not when they are told, but when they can act upon
their environments and construct knowledge for themselves. They do this best through play!
Most children love to play outdoors, but sometimes they need a helping hand with ideas to get them started. Enjoy our collection of tried and tested games
below. Also the website notonthehighstreet.com has a wonderful selection of tent, dens
and wigwams to enhance any child’s fun outside
Beanbag Cross Challenge
This is a great game for a large gathering of children – you need at least a team of 8, a fairly large space and a means of marking the ground. A good
test of concentration and skill!
Hold A Boat Race
Make your own boats and sail them in the paddling pool!
Capture The Flag
You will need a large group of children and a large space, too, but if you have both, this is a favourite game for all ages.
A popular tag game, you will need a large space to play freeze.
An energetic game for two or more players. It can be played indoors or out.
Hunter and Guard
A super game for whiling away a summer afternoon in the park with a group of friends.
Red Light Green Light
A game which suits kids of all ages, for which you will need a large space.
You can use it with younger children to reinforce the concept of “red is for stop” and “green is for go”.
Simple Treasure Hunt
This is perfect for very young children and, although it can be played indoors, is best in the garden Spider and flies A game of tag with a difference!
Everybody knows the rules of tag!
What’s The Time Mr Wolf
Best with a group of fairly young children – say 5-8 years old – this has been a firm favourite with children for many years.
Or just build a den, make a dam, create a shop outside or hide away in a tree house!