LaunchPad: Incorporating Creativity into Home Learning

By Carly McCarthy

While the country is practicing social distancing, many family’s routines have turned upside down. Families with students are adapting to this temporary new normal and finding unique ways to keep their teenagers entertained and learning while balancing work, bills, health and more. The Launchpad team, along with some outside resources, came together to share ideas of how to incorporate creativity into home learning for middle school students.

An article by Sally Madsen in “How to Build Creative Confidence in Kids”,  addressed questions like, how can we prevent creativity from being blocked? and how can we help children strengthen their creative muscles?

There are many ways to do this, yet it is not always top of mind, especially when it comes to children in their teenage years.

  1. Ensure that teenagers have unstructured time and allow them to exercise their creative muscles to come up with their next activity. During this time, many parents may feel the need to create strict schedules so their children are being productive, but too much structure is not always a good thing. 
  2. Embrace the constraints of home life and encourage teenagers to work with what is available to them. Buying new supplies is not mandatory when it comes to creativity. Challenging children to edit their surroundings to come up with new ways to do their everyday activities can lead to unexpected ideas. 
  3. Keep optimism in the language and be a role model in terms of creative ideas – big or small. Whether it be a new recipe, a new family game, a creative challenge for cleaning the house or helping parents out. 

Our Launchpad Team encourages families to bring the design thinking challenge taught during a Launch into the home. Try these three, easy steps to incorporate creativity into home learning: 

  1. Write down a place, choose characters and pick a potential problem.
  2. Redesign a way for your characters to solve the potential problem. 
  3. Challenge your teenager to think through the problem and who would benefit from a solution.

Make this a weekly habit. Working through real-world problems is a wonderful exercise for people of all ages! 

For those with access to the internet, there are sites such as Khan Academy, Udemy and more that are providing free or discounted courses. Talk to your teenager about signing up for a free course on a topic that they are thoroughly interested in whether that be beginner coding, yoga or singing. There are even resources such as virtual tours of museums and national parks that can provide a view to the world outside of the house. For those who are working with limited to no Internet access, create paper resources that will stimulate creativity and learning. Middle schoolers can draft up their own short stories, create a list of goals, design worksheets, workbooks and more. 

Our Launchpad Team’s hearts go out to everyone who is adapting to these changes and making it work the best they can!   

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