1. Don’t have everything too “prepared” - Many teachers, myself included, tend to have templates and items prepped before beginning an art or craft lesson to level the playing field. However, not having everything prepped in advance is a good thing because it opens up the opportunity to encourage students to think creatively on their own. For example, you could give students all of the supplies needed to create a basket, and let them do it on their own. This will allow students to become critical thinkers as well because they will have to use their prior knowledge to consider what a basket looks like, how big it is, what color it is, etc.
2. Provide a supportive and safe environment – It is crucial to allow students to feel safe and accepted when sharing their creative ideas.
3. Allow room for mistakes – Making it clear that mistakes are OK, will encourage students to attempt more creative risks than they normally would if they were too worried about getting the assignment wrong.
4. Provide a creativity station – You could set up a small space in the classroom for students to use as a creative exploration outlet. This could be something students use independently or in groups. In this space you could provide some craft materials, paper, coloring pencils/crayons, glue and scissors . . . and allow students to build from there. (I’d recommend having a special set of rules for when using the station!)
5. Explore different cultures – give students plenty of opportunities to view the beauty of different cultures around the world to provide inspiration when encouraging creativity.
6. Collaboration – Working in teams can also help foster creativity as students ‘feed’ off each other’s thoughts and ideas to develop something together. I frequently like to assign group tasks that require students to get creative. A recent task I assigned them was to make their own commercial to sell edible paper pizza. The performances by some groups were hilarious and everyone enjoyed seeing each groups' different strategies.