One of the many goals I have with W.E.Kiwi is to make learning fun and expand growing creative minds. Part of the reason I like to promote audiobooks is that they can become active at times as opposed to passive. To explain this is; with visual stimuli like cartoons and movies a lot of the creativity is out in front and there is little moving away from it. With audio the imagination can be engaged into a picture show on what images can be formed. For instance, if you see a dog on the screen you immediately have a optical cue and you can make an easy assumption whereas as if you listen to a description we would all come up with different models.
Let’s use this as an example, here is a description of a dog “He was brown and floppy, with short ears and a pink wet tongue hanging out of his mouth”. So what do you imagine? What breed could he be? If he is in a cartoon, does he wear any clothes? What about age, have you decided how old the dog could be? For me the first breed that springs to mind is a chocolate Labrador, perhaps six months old. Here are three dogs which could fit the decision well. If you look at them then you might have a different feel about what their character might be like.
When I started with Kreating Creatures the goal was to have new original creatures that kids can listen about and then form their own images of what they might look like. Each story is a new character but also a new world they live in. Their names can vary but I always attempt to make a name as chaotic as possible. Here is the first story in the series which came as I was sitting in bed thinking of floating through the clouds but to a new world. To a lake and a creature who likes to protect all our water sources.
To help with the Kreating Creatures process we created a video showing how we see the creature. With the videos of Kreating Creatures then a visual of the creature can complement the story. This can assist kids when they want to draw their own creature.
The long-term goal for Kreating Creatures is for kids to start creating their own creatures. From drawing the creature to progress to creative writing. If we start with the physical characteristics, then this might help form a story after this. Each creature can lead to having a goal on what they want to bring to the world. Kids can express through their own unique creatures their own personalities.
Coming back to teaching creativity, it can be a subtle way to learn with a lot of fun and laughter. When teaching creativity I don’t believe there is anything right or wrong. In maths 2+2=5 is an absolute, with creativity, there aren’t any absolutes. If a child says they have created an elephant who likes to ride her bike while playing a banjo then many questions can follow “What songs does she like to play?”, “Does she have any funny clothes on?”, “What’s her name ?”. Teaching can be fun and also you can guide by asking more questions. Once kids see there are no right or wrong answers then this is an undercover way to become more engaged with the process.
So that’s just a quick way I see how teaching kids through creativity can be fun and engaging. You could say this is similar to the Reggio Emilia approach for pre-schoolers, as I like to think it isn’t a singularly focused approach but more interactive. If kids can listen to the audiobooks then Kreate Creatures themselves then I believe I have helped in some way expand kids minds. Therefore, get creating, even create your own creature with your kids !
Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Jon grew up writing little stories in his room by himself, with help of his beloved cat and dog.
Years later at the University of Otago, while studying theatre, he would write, perform and also direct plays & comedy shows. Moving back to Auckland he continued in theatre, TV, and stand-up comedy. After winning a Fringe comedy award and being nominated for the second time in the Billy T Comedy Awards he decided to take a break. This meant travelling overseas, which led him to live in Asia, Middle East, Europe and the UK.
While all the time writing, Jon noticed that not many people around the world knew about Kiwi Birds. This led to the creation of W.E.Kiwi.
Returning back to NZ to look after K.B.Kiwi – who was very sick, meant every night was ”the writing time”, when all the energy was back to writing stories, kids’ books and poems about animals (and kreating creatures).
Jon’s fun Kiwi spirit and his sense of humour help in creating more and more Kiwi-centred content. We really hope you can join us on the journey.
Stay tuned for more.