Creativity is a talent that has many benefits for children and adults. Creative thought and expression is a skill that can be nurtured at home and in school, but creativity is not taught, so much as it is supported, encouraged, and provided space to grow. How can we foster creativity in our children?
Why Is Creativity Important?
Creative thinking is flexible, imaginative thinking that helps us solve problems and invent new solutions. There is more to creativity in children than artistic and musical endeavors. Developing creative thinking skills is also essential to science, math, and linguistics, as well as a key to fostering social and emotional intelligence.
By cultivating creativity in childhood and adolescence, young people can accomplish their goals, embrace emerging technologies, and expand their potential to contribute new ways of thinking and doing things in the future.
How to Encourage Creativity in a Child
- Share examples of creativity. One of the most intimidating things to face is a blank page, a blank canvas, or a project with no clear starting point. Provide inspiring ideas, point out examples of creative projects, and help your child locate instructions, supply lists, or starting points to spark your child’s creativity. Encourage your child to branch out and take their work in a new direction, and use examples as a springboard to results only they can imagine.
- Stock up on creative supplies. Have the basics available, like brushes, paints, markers, rulers, and standard shapes, but also think outside the art supply box. Popsicle sticks, nylons, newspapers, glue guns, fabric, and duct tape all have their place in the creative process. Learning to use what is on hand promotes flexible thinking during creative activities.
- Encourage creative play. When you notice your child ‘messing around’ with Legos or making a pillow fort, give them room to make a mess and experiment. Either let them alone to engage in imaginative play, or if you want to participate, bring them more interesting supplies and let them take the lead.
- Let go of your definitions. Creativity is expressed in many different ways. Some children like to make games, animations, or graphic art on the computer. Other children want to build with Legos or wood blocks, work with jewelry, write a play, or choreograph a dance routine. Embrace all these expressions of creativity in your child.
Promoting Creative Thinking
- Celebrate the creative process. Results are secondary. Many creative pursuits fail on the first few attempts, but the process promotes creativity, not the result. Help your child overcome frustrations by focusing on their inspiration, resourcefulness, and ideas for future research and development.
- Be a facilitator. Make sure that your child has time available for creative activities and projects. Unstructured time is a rarity for many children today, but it is essential for flexible thinking, imagination, and the creative disconnect from stress and worry. Help your child by connecting them with peers who share their interests, and seek the sweet spot of supporting your child without taking over.
- Connect and share stories. Ask questions about their projects, performances, and hobbies that help you understand their unique talents and inspirations. What surprised them most during the experience, how were they inspired, how did they change their plans to overcome obstacles? Spending time talking about their interests will inspire them to reach higher and delve deeper.
- Let creativity be its own reward. There is no need to offer rewards or incentives to foster creativity. Focusing on a reward for performance or production can actually impair the ability to think flexibly and spend as much time as needed to invent new paths to personal success.
Nurturing Creativity in Every Facet of Life
Many children learn best by being active and creative rather than sitting still and listening to lectures. More schools and educators are recognizing the value of creativity at home, at play, and in the classroom. Not only do these creative approaches to learning help individual children, they enrich our communities and enhance our ability to meet societal challenges.
- Encourage curiosity and asking ‘why’
- Support your child’s talents and passions
- Provide opportunities for new experiences
- Allow time for art, music, dance, storytelling, reading, and writing
- Recognize creative problem-solving and celebrate flexible solutions
Overcoming Obstacles to Creativity and Creative Expression
What prevents children from expressing and growing their creativity and emotional intelligence? Most often the fear of failure or criticism is what stops us from thinking outside the box or trying new solutions to old or unsolvable problems. By encouraging creativity and the creative process rather than focusing on measurable results, trophies, or outside recognition, we can help our children develop the resilience and self-confidence to strike out in new and creative directions.
Taking a Creative Approach to Education
One approach to learning has unique advantages when it comes to fostering creativity in children and young people. By utilizing a one-to-one learning model, Lydian Academy develops student-centered approaches which are tailored to each individual learner. In a classroom that is fully focused on your child, their learning style and creative expression are the center of their daily life and academic journey.
Working at the pace of the student, Lydian uses audio, visual, and tactile learning tools to fully engage the senses. Receiving immediate feedback from their instructor, students in grades 6-12 can advance in their areas of interest and bridge gaps in other areas by achieving mastery before they move on.
With one-to-one teacher-student ratios, we take a personalized approach to every subject and leverage your child’s unique abilities with innovative and evidence-based teaching methods. Your child can use virtual learning, on-campus classes, or a combination of both at Lydian Academy. Schedule a virtual open house or tour our campuses in Menlo Park and Burlingame, CA to discover a learning environment that fosters creativity and a love of learning for all young people.