Hey Inner Four-Year-Old, Wanna Play?: Creativity in Children's Media

Hey Inner Four-Year-Old, Wanna Play?: Creativity in Children's Media

Charlotte A. Duncan (Learning Games Network, USA) and Colleen E. Russo (Vanderbilt University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0504-4.ch010
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Though the spontaneous creativity of children narrows naturally in development, the rigid structures of our culture further suppress these necessary abilities. Enhanced by the ubiquity and interactivity of emerging technologies, media provides a unique method of encouraging creativity in a manner children are growing ever more familiar with. The authors discuss the role of creativity in children's media from multiple angles: the importance of creativity in children's play and development, how creativity is cultivated through effective media, and the creativity involved in producing media content. Relevant scientific research is explored throughout the chapter. Extensive interviews with two prominent creative producers in children's media, Tone Thyne and J.J. Johnson, contribute expert perspectives and provide detailed insight into the creative process behind children's media.
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Capturing Creativity

Creativity is a difficult construct to define. The creator of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (measures of creativity used in many studies with children) acknowledges that creativity is impossible to truly define (Torrance, 1988). Of the many varying definitions, none has been widely adopted (Parkhurst, 1999). Therefore, as a starting point, we asked Thyne and Johnson what creativity means to them. Although they answered independently, their interpretations of creativity were quite similar, suggesting a consistent view of creativity in the field of children’s media production:

Creativity is a calibrated unit of measurement that spans two points. Point A is ‘what everyone else has done before and Point B is ‘what no one else has ever done before’. The degree of one's creativity is directly proportional to their proximity to Point B. (Tone Thyne)

Creativity is original thinking. It’s innovation. It’s being able to take everything you’ve learned or been exposed to and finding a way of expressing it that hasn’t been done before. (J.J. Johnson)

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