Hong Kong’s policy and curriculum guide advocates the development of creativity, and stresses the importance of child-centred and play-based practices in preschools. Effective pedagogical approaches for creativity reform should reflect a sociocultural perspective. This study aimed to compare the pedagogical effects of two teaching approaches, in a teacher-led, problem-solving activity. A case study research method was employed in a preschool setting. The Analysing Children’s Creative Thinking framework was used to document the creative thinking behaviours of two groups of six-year-old children in terms of exploration, involvement and enjoyment, and persistence. The results revealed that children in the teacher-guided approach exhibited more creative thinking behaviours than children in the hands-off approach. It was evident that Chinese children benefit when the level of choice is not overwhelming and learning occurs in a progressive way. The findings suggest that cultural and contextual appropriateness should be taken into consideration when promoting creativity in education. Copyright © 2018 Pedagogy, Culture & Society.