Encouraging our kids to be creative is something all parents yearn to do. Creativity is an essential asset for your child’s personality, not only for artistic pursuits, but also for developing social skills and emotional intelligence. In the past, researchers thought of creativity as the ability to generate lots of new ideas. However, in recent years, researchers have viewed not only creativity and ideas as important, but also the ability to select the best ideas and apply them to specific problems as a key to success. Coding classes for kids are popular these days, as are activities like origami and theatre classes. Here are some ways to foster creativity in your kids.
Foster unstructured playtime
Give children time to explore their faculties – Let them engage in their imaginative games and encourage them to test the limits of their imagination. Use the same toy for different games. Can the same stuffed toy bear be used both as a Villian and a Hero? A Captain or a Pirate? It’s all up to them! Recycle your costumes, art supplies and used containers and you’d be amazed at the things children come up with!
Encourage a divergent thought process
Other than teaching the essential skills that your child needs, it is also important to let children think freely. Give them the chance to express a ‘divergent’ opinion, even if it may be factually incorrect. Let them understand that there will always be more than one solution to a certain problem. Encouraging your child to go beyond conventional answers will broaden their horizons challenge them to think beyond the “right” answer.
Kick-start their senses using their surroundings
Activating your child’s senses is highly important. Museums, libraries and even parks are perfect (and free!) options to set their minds thinking. Engage their imaginative faculties by asking questions about travelling and places. For instance, ask them what they enjoyed most about their walk in the park, what type of flowers/animals they saw and so on. This also helps them feel comfortable in and recognise different spaces.
Encourage the use of the right devices
Limiting screen time has been deemed essential for kids to develop creativity. However, it does not mean you should keep them isolated from the world of technology. Computer programming for kids allows them to apply their mathematics from school, and trains their logical thinking and problem decomposition abilities . For kids of reading age, handheld e-book readers or kids coding books are also good devices and tools to encourage kids to read from young. Let them become creators and masters of technology, and not succumb as merely consumers of technology (Eg. Screen Time, TV, Youtube)
Introduce multi-sensory learning
Use phenomena like sound, texture, taste, movement and visuals in their daily playtime. Turn on the radio to your favourite station and make up dance moves for the whole family! Or bake a cake with the kids and teach them valuable concepts such as measurement, weight, time, and indulge their senses of taste and smell with that lovely batter you have made!
Teach them programming
Coding classes for kids have been proven to help kids develop an analytical thought process. Not only that, with new block-based software such as Scratch and App Inventor, both developed by MIT, children can now pick-up coding as young as the age of 4 and create their own games, apps and animations. With many different options such as Art x Coding, Nursery Rhymes x Coding and even Python x Minecraft, the real power lies in marrying entirely different domains together, to create something amazing, that hones your childs’ creativity, and is applicable in many aspects of their lives.