Babies come into the world, full of curiosity. They want to touch, to interact, to explore and to understand. As they grow older, they want to express themselves: to talk, to sing, to draw, to build, to dance. How do we let this natural curiosity stem into creative minds?
Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and to apply them in practice. Creativity can't be taught, but we can nurture creativity. All children are born with the capacity to be creative, but their creativity won't necessarily develop on its own. It needs to be nurtured, encouraged and supported. Parents can create a learning environment in which creativity will flourish.
These four tips can guide parents on encouraging creativity in children.
1. Unscheduled Free Time is vital to create opportunity in utilising imagination as a tool to explore the world.
Crowded timetable tires the mind and leaves little room for creative process to take place.
2. Create and Encourage Creative Space
Induce and support a creative corner in the house. Recyclable materials are perfect as loose parts (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls, postal envelopes) to stimulate the young minds. They are cheap, easy to find and environmental friendly. When coupled with a few connectors (glue, string, clothespin, yarn), the possibilities are endless.
Through the art of strewing (casually yet strategically leaving invitation), parents can encourage curiosity.
Showcasing children's art reflects our priority and further motivates them.
3. Granting kids the Freedom to Explore their Ideas
External constraints such as making them colour within the lines and demonstrating how to put together a model can reduce flexibility in thinking.
4. Encourage 'Divergent Thinking'
Teach them to think of more than one solution to a problem. Brainstorming upon facing a difficult task, encourages diversity in perspectives. Harbour the thought of 'There is No ONE right answer'. The aim is to get away from the type of fixed mindset thinking that there is only one 'right' way of completing a task. Instead, we can promote possibility thinking.
So, yes, we can teach creativity, so long as the teaching is an organic, interactive process.