Do you remember the joys of art class as a child? How could anyone forget about the coloring, painting, and drawing activities that kept imaginations running wild? With the advent of technology tools such as mobile devices and tablets to keep kids entertained, the use of bare hands to produce basic art structures has fallen prey to art-focused digital marketplace apps. However, all is not forgotten in the creative sphere for kids who want to work with raw material such as felt, glue, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners.
One company, Faber-Castell USA, Inc. who we met at the 2013 Toy Fair in New York City is determined to keep the creative light for kids glowing with their latest – Creativity Cans. I got a hold of Heather Lambert-Shemo, Brand Manager of Children’s Products for Faber-Castell USA, Inc., where she discussed the mission of Creativity Cans, and why its important to push for a creativity comeback.
Konnectshun: Let’s talk about the mission of the Creativity Can, how did the idea come about?
After hearing about the decline in creativity test scores in children, all of us at Creativity for Kids felt the need to do more to highlight the problem and help push for a creativity comeback. That’s why we decided to create something that would accomplish both of those goals. As the founders of the “creative activities” category back in the mid-1970s, we knew we needed to go back to our roots, pack the Creativity Can with simple materials and offer it free so that everyone could experience the power of creativity.
Konnectshun: Art programs feel like a thing of the past, why should schools re-shift their focus back on art and encourage children to think creatively?
IBM conducted a study of 1,500 CEOs around the world; the majority of them ranked creativity as the most important attribute of future success. Creativity plays into so many different aspects of business and everyday life. With creativity being so important, we decided to “put our money where our mouths were” and do something about this crisis. We think the IBM study and others like it speak for themselves regarding the importance of the Arts in schools. We are also paying close attention to the movement to change STEM to STEAM by including the Arts into that curriculum.
Konnectshun: During this digital age, kids are pushed to focus on technology. How can we get kids excited about working with their bare hands and building unique projects with Creativity Cans?
We think it’s through projects like the Creativity Can that are very open-ended. The instructions direct children to create whatever their minds can imagine. One of the phrases we like is the “wonder of creativity.” Creativity isn’t easily explained, but as humans, we develop that ability quickly. Some would suggest that as we get older it’s squelched by society. We want children to understand that when you are creative there is no incorrect answer. Take a look at all of the creations that children have already made with the Creativity Can and you’ll see how many directions one can go with some simple household items.
Konnectshun: We often hear that many kids today are too busy and suffer from short attention spans, could that be because they are creating less and its just a result of frustration?
The first time that we let children interact with the Creativity Can we were astonished how involved they became. We had approximately 20 children in a room and let them create their experience. Many of them worked for more than an hour to imagine and then create some amazing things out of the Creativity Can. In the case of these children, they were very focused on what they could make with the Creativity Can. We were almost surprised by their involvement. It was very inspirational and validated the notion that kids just need more opportunities to be naturally creative. Kids already know what to do.
Konnectshun: What inspired the Creativity Comeback?
Was it strictly based on the Torrance Tests? Creativity has become a buzzword of sorts. Having creativity in our name and being a large part of our business, we knew that we couldn’t continue to allow the crisis to go unnoticed. We knew we had to take some steps to raise awareness, create an understanding and rally for a comeback. The continued decline of scores of the Torrance Tests should alarm everyone.
Konnectshun: How can the Creativity Can foster a child’s imagination?
The proof is really in what we’ve already seen as children across the country imagine and then make something from the Creativity Can. You’ll see children who use the can as part of their creation and others who make wildly different things with the contents. One boy who was frustrated with his baseball games getting rained out made a baseball diamond on wheels that you could move to a place where the weather was better. That’s imagination!
Konnectshun: What crafty materials are in the cans?
And how did you decide what should go in there? You’ll find everything from wiggly eyes to pipe cleaners to felt to paper, and even glue. Children end up having enough supplies for second and third creations. Because Creativity for Kids is a company that’s been around for almost 40 years, we took a lot of time deciding which materials should be placed inside the can. So far, children seem to overwhelmingly agree with all of our decisions.
Konnectshun: How can parents and educators become involved with your movement?
One of the ideas of the Creativity Can was to bring families together. While we have some Creativity Days planned at participating retailers, we want children and parents to experience the Creativity Can together. It’s fun for the children to create and for the parents to experience their children’s creativity. We are working on the next phase of the creativity comeback, which will likely involve schools and other educational institutions. We’ll be sharing those details through creativitycan.com and our social media channels.
Konnectshun: Is there a cool place where kids can showcase their work, inspired by Creativity Cans?
We want to see what children create with the Creativity Can. We feel it’s one of the most important components of this first phase of our creativity comeback. We are urging parents to take photos of the creations and upload them to the Share page of creativitycan.com (creativitycan.com/share). This way everyone will be able to experience the wonder of creativity that we’re seeing all over the country. Also, people who upload are automatically entered to win free Creativity for Kids products each month. Finally, for every uploaded image, Creativity for Kids will make a donation to LilySarahGraceFund. This charity’s mission is to bring the arts into underfunded public elementary schools.
Originally posted on Madamenoire