By Teacher Shannon
Creativity, what is it and why is it important? There may be many factors that come to your mind when you think of creativity. Most people may think of artists such as painters, actors, dancers, etc., when in reality, creativity is an incredibly valuable life skill for everybody to have. It is true there are many different types of people, personalities, and creativity levels. Children tend to be more curious and creative than most adults, the question is how do we encourage children to build on this skill.
The benefits of creativity can include things such as having confidence, curiosity, problem solving skills, empathy, innovation, originality, communication skills, understanding logic as well as cause and effect. “Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others” (Franken 396). Aside from the jobs that we would typically associate with being creative such as artistic fields, creativity should also be associated with problem solving skills which are necessary for any and all jobs.
“Every Child is an artist. The Problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up”
-Pablo Picasso (2)
As prominent role models in a young children’s life it is important that we as parents, family members, and educators do not dismiss a child’s creativity but to encourage the growth and development of it. Some ways in which we may do this is to…
- Encourage self-expression of any kind without judgement.
- When playing with a child, ask open ended questions, giving children time to think before offering a possible answer.
- Encourage mistakes and demonstrate how we can take what may look like a mistake or failure and use it in a positive way.
- Any and all effort towards a child’s interest should be celebrated.
- Surround yourself and your child with a variety of role models from different cultures, walks of life, and jobs. This can include different books, classes, visiting various jobs and museums, etc.
- Reduce the amount of influence the media has on children. Limit screen time as it reduces the amount of time children spend in their own heads.
- Allow children time to be bored. The less materials and directions a child may have to play with will allow children time to think creatively.
All of the above suggestions are a step in the right direction and things you may already do for young children. As children continue to grow into teenagers and young adults it is also important to recognize that creativity should not be lessened as you grow older. Creativity is a lifelong skill and even adults can benefit from creativity building exercises. Next time you do an activity with your child, think about the above suggestions, how you can incorporate them into your child’s routine and maybe even your own.
- Franken, Robert E. Human Motivation. Brooks/Cole, 1993.