There are lots of misconceptions about creativity. One of those is that there are creative people and non-creative people. Many people also believe that creativity is a gift and something that you either have or you don’t. These ideas are not entirely true. There are many forms of creativity and it is not something we are born with. It can be developed throughout our lives and takes many different guises.
Research has shown that creativity has many benefits such as improvements in health and wellbeing. It is also known to help combat stress. It is, therefore, important that creativity is encouraged in our children. But how can we achieve this?
Provide a Fun and Creative Environment
Creative children need fun, inspiring places to play. Start with their bedrooms. Provide a space that will fire their imaginations. Take a look at these wonderful bunk beds for kids from Cuckooland.
Involve your children is decisions regarding their rooms. Talk about colors, decorations, furniture, etc. Explain that they can’t have everything they desire due to budget etc. But get them thinking about alternatives and things they can create themselves.
As well as providing a fun environment, ensure they have lots of resources to stimulate their minds. For example, boxes of crayons, paints and paper. Materials will not be expensive. You can pick up cheap supplies at local thrift stores. Some items can be made at home. For example, creating a paste with flour and water. Children enjoy cutting up magazines to create collages. Or try making homemade playdough.
Some children need a starting point before they can release their creativity. Look for interesting projects and make suggestions. Pinterest is a rich source of creative projects for kids.
Clear some space for them to create. Put down wipeable mats and allow them to explore and to make a mess. Encourage them to keep their area clean and tidy and provide pots, buckets and drawers for them to store their art supplies. Go through them every so often to clear everything out and replenish stocks.
Children often learn from doing and getting involved. Rather than just talking, model creative behavior for your kids. Let them see you taking part in creative pursuits. Find activities that you can do together. This isn’t just confined to arts and crafts. Think about baking, taking photos and playing musical instruments.
Offer your children a variety of activities. Let them discover what they enjoy doing. Expose them to art, writing, music, photography, acting, singing, etc. Make learning creative. If they’re learning about dinosaurs at school, encourage them to draw them or make models. If they prefer writing, they could write a poem or a story about them.
Imagination is displayed in lots of different ways. Encourage them to play and to experiment.
Let Them Make Mistakes
Allow your kids to make mistakes. Let them make a mess and get things wrong. Gently persuade them to retry and keep on going. When things don’t turn out as planned, suggest ways to adapt. Lots of great art came about through ‘happy accidents’. Change the language around failure.
Provide a Creative Atmosphere
Foster a creative atmosphere within your home. There are many ways you can do this:
- Allow your children to ask lots of questions.
- Where possible, involve them in decisions, especially those that affect them.
- Get your kids involved around the house. Involve them in cooking, baking and household tasks.
- Let your children see you getting involved in creative activities. Talk to them about your hobbies.
- Play with your children. Be a part of their games and playtime.
- Invite their friends to the house and provide a welcoming environment.
- Fill your home with music, laughter, films and books.
- Read to your children and tell them stories.
- Encourage other adult family members to talk to them about their hobbies.
- Be open, positive and encouraging.
Mix With Others
Allow your children to mix with other children as much as possible. This will help them to develop and form relationships. It will grow their social skills and independence. It will also help regarding creativity. Within the confines of safety, expose your children to a variety of different people of different ages and backgrounds.
Encourage and Praise Creativity and Innovation
Offer encouragement and praise for creativity and innovation. This is not just confined to verbal praise. Pin their pictures and pieces of art to your walls. Display their projects around the home.
Creativity Outside the Home
Creativity isn’t just confined to the home. Children are likely to get bored in one place. It is, therefore, important to vary their surroundings.
Visit new places such as the beach and the countryside. Or the town, if you live in the country. Allow them to discover and explore each new area. Point things out to them and foster their curiosity.
Take them to zoos, art galleries and museums. Allow them to interact with exhibitions and choose places that offer a number of different experiences.
Limit Screen Time
Limit the amount of time kids spend in front of the TV or playing electronic games. Provide them with a variety of alternatives. They may moan a little at first, but they will get used to it.
Cultivate Creative Thinking
Cultivate creative thinking in your kids. If they come to you with a problem, ask them how they could fix it. If they say they don’t know, change the question. Ask them what they think you will do to fix it for them. Encourage them to find their own solutions. If it doesn’t work, then ask them to consider alternative approaches. As they get older, introduce them to new ways of thinking such as mind mapping.
There are many ways to foster creativity in your children. However, the best way is to make it a part of your daily life. Cultivate a creative atmosphere. Encourage and praise innovation and demonstrate these qualities in yourself. Provide them with space and resources to play and learn. Offer a variety of activities and allow them to discover what appeals to them.