There are many different factors that affect creative development in early childhood, including age and upbringing. Creative development in early childhood refers primarily to the process of a child exploring using creative thought, not the development of any particular creative aesthetic. Having opportunities for creative expression and being praised for creative expression may inspire more interest in artistic pursuits later in life. This is not, however, a strict determination of a child's later artistic talents.
For young children, creative development is the development of imaginative abilities as expressed through activities associated with the arts. This can include visual art, music, and storytelling. In some cases, development is affected by the way young minds are designed to see the world, resulting in specific patterns of play common to certain age groups.
One of the most important factors that affects creative development in early childhood is age. Children of different ages have different creative abilities and different ways of thinking about the world. For example, at a certain stage of development, children do not differentiate between the tool being used to draw and the image being drawn, so they may play with the drawing tool as though it is the object being represented. Young children also do not always understand the difference between a drawing surface and other surfaces, which is also usually a factor of age.
Another factor that affects creative development in early childhood is opportunity. Children who are encouraged to engage in creative play often develop more quickly in this area than children who are not. It is important to note, however, that talent and creativity are not directly related at this stage. A child who cannot accurately represent his or her ideas in drawing may be highly creative but lack coordination skills. It is also common for children to excel in different areas of creative play.
Factors affecting creative development can also include learning disabilities. Some children who have learning disabilities do not show creative development as readily as other children. In certain cases, a physical disability may be causing the appearance of a learning disability, as is the case with deaf children who do not readily learn to speak or sing.
Praise may play a large role in creative development in early childhood, as praise structures the ways in which children understand creative work. Asking children what they are trying to draw, for example, plants the seeds of actually approximating what real-world objects look like. Encouraging children to play musical instruments in certain ways can also steer results in specific directions. Adult influences can play a role in creative development, but forcing specific types of play can also prevent progress.