“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein
We all have a creative side within, some of us need to dig a little deeper than others! That’s me, even though my students tell me how good my drawings are on the whiteboard: they are so kind! Just like adults, some kids are more creative than others. The ‘free spirited’ kids who we encounter are often very creative and have a wonderful sense of imagination and problem solving skills. I’m not just talking about art and drawing, it also includes their imaginations, story writing, inventing new games and adapting different approaches for different scenarios.
Developing creativity in our kids can be easier than we think; it just involves giving them the opportunity to do so. In the classroom, sometimes we present a visual stimulus for students when story writing. Giving them the time to sit and think and use their imagination, develop their ideas and talk about what is in front of them is important. Giving students a topic to write on or a ‘sentence starter’ can be daunting for some and others will run with it. Time is also given to plan in their head and write down some ideas, characters, settings etc for their story.
Those of us who are perfectionists will find being creative a little more challenging. These types of students are easily spotted in the classroom because their perfectionism takes over their ability to let themselves be creative. Being creative and using your imagination is about making mistakes and realising making mistakes is a positive thing, not a negative one.
You may also find it means making a mess and the house looking like a tornado has ripped through. Certainly when my kids were younger and the play room was a disaster area with dress ups everywhere I would roll my eyes in disbelief because I had just cleaned it up, but then watch my kids playing or having a conversation with their toys or my daughter putting a purple fluffy tiara on her brother! Priceless. As they become older, their down time tends to be on an electronic device and they don’t need to use their imagination and they become bored if they can’t access them! We need to allow time for our kids to be bored, as I have said in previous articles, being bored develops creativity and the use of their imaginations. Sometimes they might need a prompt which ends up developing into a game, building a cubby house out of every pillow and blanket in the house, cooking or drawing. Enabling opportunities for our kids to think outside of the box is great for brain development, language skills, problem solving and reasoning skills.
My daughter was given a project to complete at home which required her to design and build a contraption that would save her egg and prevent it from being broken when thrown over a volleyball net. She was given a set of instructions and items she could and couldn’t use. At first there was negative talk, “I don’t know what to do, I can’t do it, and it’s too hard.” Once we sat down with her and established what she thought would work, she was into it and after trial and error and lots of mistakes, she designed and made her egg contraption and it worked, her egg survived! That task forced her to think outside the box and use her imagination, make mistakes and then see the positives of her hard work, creativity and persistence.
Visiting an art gallery, a stage show, travelling to different places, experiencing different foods and cultures all help to develop their imaginations and creativity by having an experience to draw on. Teach children that being an individual and even being different is ok, back away from taking over your children’s homework tasks that require them to design or construct and encourage them from the sidelines but most of all, give them the time to express themselves.