Creativity In Kids
Why is creativity important?
Children are natural creators -- give them a piece of fabric and it becomes a cape, give them some broccoli and it's a mysterious forest. Watching your kids create and encouraging them to do so will not only be an endlessly fascinating ride for you, but it will also arm them with the tools they need to keep tapping into that potential later on in life. (And we all know how therapeutic and relaxing creating a meal, sewing an outfit or making up a bedtime story can be for us as stressed-out adults!)
Unleashing your creativity is also very important for self-expression as it gives you the ability or power to have your thoughts and feelings acknowledged, even if you can't put them into words. How many hit songs have been born out of the singer's frustration to tell a love interest how they feel and how many great artworks have conveyed an artist's mood? This is especially useful for younger children who may not have mastered language yet but still have a need to be heard.
Creativity also boosts your mood, increases life satisfaction and helps you to stay excited by the world around you. It can build your self-confidence and encourage you to celebrate your unique individuality.
How can we encourage creativity in our kids?
Encouraging creativity is more about the actual process of creating, rather than the finished product. Don't squash their imaginations by bringing logic into their fairytale role-play or stifle their creativity by telling them how to do things properly, instead of letting them experiment and learn for themselves.
Grab some earplugs for yourself, then gather a bunch of "instruments" for your kids to make music. Uncooked rice in a sealed container makes a great maraca and upturned buckets make great drums! Encourage them to look beyond objects' everyday uses and think outside the square.
Instead of dictating exactly which crafts your child should make today, why not pile a bunch of materials on the table and see what they come up with? Paper, lace, cardboard, pencils, beads, buttons, playdough, Blu-Tak, glitter and glue could all amount to an incredible creation you would never have even dreamed of!
If the sight of your kids sitting on the sofa, open-mouthed and completely transfixed by the TV drives you batty, you may like to lay down conditions to their TV viewing sessions. What about if they can only watch programs if they're also creating something at the same time? Leave a box of drawing materials, building blocks or Lego next to the TV and see what can be created! You might even find that their focus ends up drifting towards their mansions and masterpieces instead of the TV screen... Bonus!
Write a story
An obvious way to spark their imaginations is to encourage your kids to write their own storybooks. (Writing them for favourite friends or family members is an easy way to convince them to get started, as it gives them a reason and added incentive.) For smaller children, it might simply be a picture book, while older kids will love developing quirky characters and crazy plots. You could even get their best-sellers bound at your local stationery store -- they're sure to be a lovely keepsake when the kids get older!
Role-play and dress-up
Keep a dress-up box in the house so your children can amuse themselves with role-plays whenever they wish. (And you have a suggestion ready next time they cry, "Muuuum, I'm borrred!") Old clothes from family members, a few items bought from discount stores and craft items they've made (e.g. cardboard crowns and paper glasses) will give their creativity a little push. You'll be in awe at what they're capable of when they're encouraged to be themselves and let their imaginations run free.