Creativity is the use of the imagination. It is the ability to go beyond traditional ideas, patterns, relationships, ideas, etc. and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations. Creativity is often described as original, artistic, imaginative, and innovative.
Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I believe all people are born with curious natures and the desire to explore and create in some way. As we age, however, we begin to censor ourselves for a variety of reasons – fitting in, adhering to socially accepted norms and/or traditions. Sometimes, the most well-meaning parent can inadvertently squash their child’s creativity development.
I recently gave a talk at a school parent coffee event focused on the over-scheduled, stressed out child. One of the parents said, I have my child in all of these activities (sports, piano, world language) to support her in being well-rounded and creative but she just seems unhappy.” Another parent noted a similar schedule of activities because he did not want his child to ever “be bored.” These children are lucky to have access to such an amazing array of activities. However, they are also always being instructed, monitored, or directed.
One of the most impactful ways to encourage creativity is to allow time and space for unstructured work/play. Children need to learn how to sit with the feeling of “being bored” and move through it, learning how to independently fill their time. Freedom in play allows children to develop self-confidence, social skills, problem-solving, perseverance, and critical thinking. This does not mean you need a fancy playroom or every art supply in the world.
Kids are like mini MacGyvers (I aged myself with that reference, didn’t I?). Give them a toothpick and some tin foil and they will create a field of solar panels or the next space shuttle to galaxies unknown. Keep your boxes from Amazon and who knows what will emerge. Activate your child’s senses by taking a walk outside. Make up stories. The possibilities are endless.
Please feel free to share your experiences in how you’ve sparked creativity at home with your child(ren). The power of play is so important.
Until next week, Be Wise!