4 Phrases From Gianni Rodari to Teach Children Creativity
How do stories really come about? How do ideas originate, and how do they flourish? These questions led Gianni Rodari to write a book entitled Fantasy Grammar in 1973.
In his book he explains some ideas and ways to invent and create stories for children, and, in turn, help children make up stories themselves. Rodari later wrote The Art of Inventing, Reflections on Fantasy, especially for children to be able to improve their creativity.
Gianni Rodari, the quintessential teacher of fantasy, wrote down plenty of sayings from the 1970s onwards. After all these years his words remain remarkably valid thanks to their modern approach. Today we’re going to look at some of those key phrases.
4 ingenious sayings of Gianni Rodari
Playing with words and imagination is certainly not a waste of time. It is all about facing reality and taking control of words. Gianni Rodari’s words show us that children can be truly active creators.
Encouraging imagination and creativity
Gianni Rodari thought it was a good idea for everyone to be able to completely control and use words
Children have the ability to change what isn’t right, or to transform the world that has been imposed on them. We must feed their imagination and creativity from a very young age. This should occupy a central place in education.
Teaching children to think
Rodari came to the following conclusion: “If they want to teach children how to think, they must first teach them how to invent.” By giving children a dose of fantasy for their imagination, it helps them enrich their appreciation of reality and life itself.
We shouldn’t impose fantasy on reality
“Fantasy is not a bad wolf to be afraid of, nor a crime that must be constantly monitored, but rather an extraordinarily rich world which has been stupidly marginalized”
This is one of Gianni Rodari’s sayings from 1990, and one that gave birth to many a great children’s story. It teaches that reality shouldn’t neutralize fantasy; and vice versa, fantasy should not be imposed on reality.
Both must complement each other in order to nourish and promote children’s literature. It is a process that combines reality with fantasy, along with talent and creativity.
Reactions of the human mind
“Throwing a stone into a still pond produces a series of waves on the surface that will undoubtedly affect whatever lies in their path.”
This metaphor explains, in poetic language, the reaction of the human mind to just one single word. Just like when a stone is thrown into a still pond, it creates waves in the water, producing different events within the pond that affect everything inside it and even around it.
Rodari’s techniques for developing creativity in children
In Rodari’s study on fantasy, you can find a lot of techniques and resources. These really can help develop a child’s creativity and imagination, and include the following:
- The fantastic pair. This consists of giving a person 2 words that aren’t at all related to each other. They have to take these two words and make a story using them.
- Tales or fables. Rodari changed the ideas behind certain stories and their main plots, for example in Tom Thumb and the Giant.
- Words as prompts. In this activity the person has to use a group of words or images that aren’t related to each other, and then make a story that links them.
- What would happen if… Here the children have to make up a story by asking a strange question, such as: “What would happen if the wind disappeared?”
- Story mix. In this activity they have to mix characters, places and events from completely different stories. This can be done at the beginning or end of the story. It’s a great activity to develop a child’s creativity.
- Making a riddle. This teaches us how to make a riddle by associating and comparing words.
Gianni Rodari’s sayings continue to be extremely valid despite globalization and current technology. They help us discover the benefits of using our imagination to face our problems, and then transmit those truths to children.
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- Rodari, G. (1999). Gramática de la fantasía: introducción al arte de inventar historias. Ediciones Colihue SRL.