Invitation to Create: How to Set Up the Invitation

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Welcome to a Micro Training with Mother Goose Time. Today we are talking about how to set up an Invitation to Create so that your children are inspired and ready to express their ideas artistically.

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

An Invitation 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.

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 glueing, 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 few tips now:

  1. Use Containers

Containers 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 Keys 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.

  1. Use diverse textures and sizes of materials

What should you put in the sections of a container? Think about offering diversity within these three variables:

ï Texture

ï Color

ï 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 the creativity gets exciting!

Another example is this “Pig” invitation in the Farm Study presented on lesson Day 2. In this display, we used a very simple container. It is just an old canning jar and little pie tins. Then, we filled them with three different textures:

soft plants

wet paint

dry sand

Also, notice how the tall size for the brushes create a visual interest. We give you this foam piece to make your own painting tool – but to make it even more enticing, we grabbed some weeds and secured them to a stick with a rubber band. If you need to add more interest and texture, consider items from nature if you have access to some. They are free, beautiful and full of natural color and texture!

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 the 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.

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