How Do You Nurture Creativity in Children?

There was an article I read recently titled: “Why Creativity is the Most Important Quality You Have” and it relates creativity to having a purpose in life, being driven, fulfillment, and happiness. Creativity ensures greater success and helps you stand out from the crowd above and beyond simply having a good resume and academic transcripts. Creative people are the problem solvers of today and that opens opportunity doors that would otherwise be closed. In a nutshell, if you have nothing else, at least be creative. Indeed, some time back, there was another paper that investigated the relationship between creativity and high IQ and they found that being creative can compensate for low IQ. When it came to academic performance, there was no significant difference between individuals with high IQ and those with high creativity. When all things are equal, creativity will be your trump card.

With creativity featuring so highly on the potential for future success, you may be wondering just how do you nurture something so abstract in your child? Well, as Sir Ken Robinson points out, children are born with loads of creativity. We don’t have to teach them to be creative because they already are. The real task lies in helping them remain creative because somewhere along the journey of growing up, it gets lost.

“We’re all born with immense, natural, creative abilities. Children demonstrate them all. We all feel them. But we feel they slip away from us as we get older.” – Sir Ken Robinson

A couple of years ago, Sir Robinson talked about how schools are killing are children’s creativity. It was a concern and there was a strong movement that felt homeschooling was the way forward. Homeschooling is still a great option but it is also good that the education scene today is looking more promising as more schools step up to the challenge of education reformation (look at Monkseaton High SchoolGrange Primary SchoolTelefon Plan SchoolAvenues Private School, and Sudbury School for some of the more radical changes). Even if you don’t have any of those radical schools within easy access, if you choose your children’s school carefully, you can still come away fairly secure that your children will be equipped to face the real world.

Aside from that, there is also a lot you can do to help nurture creativity in your children at home:

1. Play

Basic research shows a correlation between play and creativity, however, I think it is important to add that there is currently insufficient understanding on this relationship to fully appreciate how and why play impacts creativity. What is evident is that there is a link and it appears to be a positive correlation. If you’re interested, there more to the research here:

Here are some games we play:

2. Limit screen time

The general premise is that if your children are too busy with a screen, they have less time for creative play. I don’t think screen time is detrimental but I do think children need to be given the opportunity for free play without a screen. Some children naturally find it on their own so parental intervention isn’t required, but other children will require more encouragement.

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“Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

3. Encourage creative activities

Offer your children opportunities to engage in creative activities:

4. Story telling

Make up stories off the top of your head. Aristotle and I have a game we play where we take turns making up a story. During his dino-mania, we would play a dino-alphabet story game. We would start with the letter A and I would tell him a story about a dinosaur beginning with the letter A, e.g. Argentinosaurus as the main character. Then he would tell me a dino story about a dinosaur beginning with the letter B. Then I will tell him a story about a dinosaur beginning with C, and so on.

We’ve also played story telling games where we take turns telling one line of the story. The rules are free and easy and the idea is to use your imagination to create a wildly creative story.

5. Get Outdoors

In a nutshell, spending time outdoors increases creativity – or so a study supports…

The conclusion from a new study that found a team of backpackers were 50 percent more creative after they had spent four days on the trail. In fact, spending time in nature provides other positive cognitive benefits. – Huffington Post

6. Brain training games for creativity

Play brain games that encourage creative thinking:

There are a lot of fun computer games that require creative thinking to find solutions but if you want to stay away from the computer, the following games are also great:

7. Using Dreams

Day-dreaming and lucid dreaming can also be ways to provide older children with opportunities to unleash their creativity. You have probably noticed that some really great ideas or even solutions to problems can come to you in that period just before you fall asleep. The stage just before sleep is when our minds are at its most creative. Unfortunately, if you do not get up and jot down those great ideas, chances are, you’ll have forgotten them by the next morning. All you’ll remember is having a really great idea.

It is said that Thomas Edison would use this stage to help him generate ideas for solutions to problems he was facing. To make sure he didn’t just fall asleep and forget the ideas, he would sit in a comfortable chair with metal ball-bearings in one hand. He would dangle that hand over a metal plate so that if he fell asleep, his hand would go limp and drop the ball bearings onto the metal plate. The subsequent crash would wake him and he would be able to hang on to the idea before it floated away with his dreams.

In Right Brain Education, this stage before sleep is referred to as the alpha state. With proper training, we are able to access the alpha state in full consciousness so that we can use it to our full advantage.

What methods do you employ to help nurture creativity in your children?

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