Invitation to Create: Process Art for Preschoolers

Try these tips for how to set up an Invitation to Create where your children will be inspired and ready to express their ideas artistically. 

But what exactly is an Invitation to Create? It is simply a way of displaying materials so that children feel inspired and ready to create from their own imaginations. It focuses on the process of creating–a technique from the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.

An Invitation to Create always begins with some sort of provocation. A provocation provokes or expands on ideas for maybe a book you read to the children, a discussion you had or from the child’s interests.

Watch this:

The choice of materials and the way you set them up is itself a provocation.

When setting up your Invitation to Create, think about how the materials look on your table. Are they organized with everything in a defined place? This is important because it allows a child’s brain to feel calm and ready to take risks in their creative process.

Do they look beautiful and inspiring? When you look at the set-up do you feel excited and wish you could sit down and start painting or gluing too? If the display doesn’t pull you in, it most likely won’t stimulate the child’s imagination either. So rearrange or add to the display until your creative juices get flowing.

Here are a couple tips now:

  • Use containers
    • They can help organize the materials and also helps your children sort and organize the materials both visually and physically throughout the creative process. In our “Key” Invitation notice how we have two containers: a small metal bucket for crayons and a three-section tray? Sectioned trays come in all shapes and sizes. Look around your kitchen or clean out old food containers to have an assortment of sectioned containers.
  • Use diverse textures and sizes of materials
      Offer diversity within these three variables: (1) texture (2) color (3) size.
      When filling the three sections of the container in the “Key” Invitation, we wanted to present three different types of textures, sizes and colors that were also reflected in the Inspiration Photo: metal, plastic and fine glitter.  How will children choose to investigate and use these textures? That is where creativity gets exciting!
      Finally, notice how we placed the materials on this tray to create a special home for the materials. This helps to define the space and communicates to the children that you didn’t just dump a bunch of random stuff in the middle of the table, but that these supplies are valuable and have purpose. They are tools that they can use as they respond creatively to the photo, famous art piece or artifact that you set at the centerpiece of the display.

Enjoy setting up your Invitation to Create and come back soon for another Micro-Training with Mother Goose Time.

Ready to set up your Invitation to Create? 

Make it even easier with materials and ideas included in Mother Goose Time Curriculum Kit

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