Perhaps you have noticed how kids love to dance, sing, draw and scribble to their heart’s content. Most often, they do these things instinctively, without much of a thought, and asking what they are doing may not even get you an answer. Yet, it’s important to encourage their creativity and imagination since the future of your kid and the nation as well depends on what kind of creative education we provide our toddlers and youngsters with.
Understanding the importance of creativity
Let’s take a simple example of a kid good in painting to understand it better. When you encourage the child, you are increasing his/her chances of becoming a master artist. But you are doing much more than just this. You are encouraging his/her social, mental and emotional development as well. Some studies have found art creation having a probability of boosting young children’s capability to evaluate and solve problems in numerous ways. Children who can wield a paintbrush are also noticed to have improved motor skills. When the kids count colors and pieces, they learn the fundamentals of mathematics, while testing out different materials make them aware of certain aspects of science. Since kids feel happy and engrossed when they are creating a piece of art, the process even gives their self-confidence a big boost. A child good in painting will benefit from all these aspects of his/her creativity. And the most important aspect of such creativity is the freedom and flexibility to experiment and make mistakes without feeling any pressure, which would help the kids discover new ways of thinking and doing a task. This ability would extend beyond the realm of art and help him/her in different aspects of life as well.
Creativity – is it just about arts?
Creativity isn’t just about arts. Rather, it’s the process of innovation and originality that makes bigger things happen in the world of science, arts, and technology. So, the joy of creativity lies in the entire process, not just the end-result. It’s an innate ability and desire of all humans to create things that help them express their individuality, which in turn makes them build bonds with those around. Children are no different. In fact, they are the most likely ones to be full of creative ideas that should be nurtured by parents, teachers, and educators. If not, they may develop different forms of behavioral and emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even alcohol or drug abuse during their adolescence.
In today’s era that focuses a lot more on data, numbers, and test scores with respect to kids’ education, we are seeing a decline in creativity and innovation. As the educational system and society equates success with making money, we have made kids focused on attaining these goals of scoring good marks, getting into top schools and universities, having a career that brings loads of money etc by making the kids move away from non-traditional and non-linear thorough processes and not encouraging creativity unless they use it for scoring good test marks, we are slowly killing their natural creativity. But this should be a big concern as this would eventually cause a decline in the kids’ abilities to problem-solve, innovate and find the way through unfamiliar and new circumstances.
What’s the solution?
Now that you know why creativity and innovation are important for the overall development of your kids, it’s time to do something to emphasize the joy of this process and bring it back into your kids’ life again. Here’s what you can do as parents and teachers:
- Encourage imagination and inquisitiveness: Put the kids in interesting situations and different settings to make them think in unconventional and newer ways. It could be something as simple as making them write letters and numbers on the sand or with toothpaste, to planning a visit to the nearby museum to explore new cultures, or introducing recipes with new foods during family meals. Role-playing with your kid if s/he likes to mimic a doctor, pirate or teacher too could give the little one a chance to be innovative. You may even encourage the kids to interact more with their grandparents or older family members to listen to their life experiences or stories, which again would influence their way of thinking by making them aware of different aspects of life. You too may encourage their imagination with stories of innovations and discoveries that have made human lives better.
- Make your daily life embrace creativity: Be it getting ideas to make a new scrambled egg recipe for breakfast, going for a treasure hunt at the school’s playground, writing/telling a short story about the day’s activities, or using clay models to build new shapes, make easy activities a part of daily life that encourage and support the kids’ innovative streak. This will not only help them have a richer, fun and more interesting life but also develop in them the ability to think fast and in a different way amidst various situations.
- Emphasize the process, not just the end result: Creativity is about making the entire process a fun thing. So, when your child is solving a puzzle, help him/her enjoy the process of looking for clues, adding them up to finally solve it. If s/he can’t solve it, appreciate the effort nonetheless. You may even ask them questions related to daily life (such as how birds fly or bridges work, what makes the tall building stand upright, why a fruit from the tree falls down etc), which would make them wonder about everyday things and encourage them to come up with their own solutions and ideas.
Do you have any other suggestions or ideas that can nurture your kids’ creativity? Share them with us here.