Stimulating children’s creativity is essential for a good childhood. Allowing kids to play freely with their minds at full speed, creating and imagining all sorts of things, is the symbol of a happy child.
And did you know that this boost to creative thinking also presents cognitive and social-emotional benefits that are carried throughout the entire life?
There are many tests to measure creativity. Often, as observed in studies involving the Torrance Test, higher results are more statistically related to success and happiness in adult life than the much more known IQ test.
During imaginative play, children manipulate different materials, express themselves verbally and non-verbally, plan (both intentionally or not), act, react, interact, test multiple roles, and, even more important, make their own choices.
According to UC Berkeley PhD and mother Christine Carter, “creativity helps us deal with change, problem solving, affects our social and emotional intelligence, enhances our understanding of math and science, and is a key component to health and happiness.”
That said, we bring some fun ideas to stimulate children’s creativity every day
Turn everyday activities into pretending stories
Do you remember the airplane/spoon during meal time? This logic of applying a fantasy mantle over common things is incredibly fun and efficient. Have you ever thought that toys must each go to its own drawer or shelf because they fight if they stay together for too long?
Make everyday activities in a different way
New stimuli and the effort to rethink things that are taken for granted are an endless mean of fun. Have you ever thought about sleeping upside down in bed just for one night? How about sitting under the table for drawing? Even stranger: drawing upside down under the table?
Ask, ask, and ask!
Children often create a whole interior world packed with imagination to explain things around them and guide their actions. Parents can briefly access it through sensible questions, always paying attention to the moment kids don’t want to answer anymore. “Why are you avoiding white parts on the ground?” is a good starter.
Encourage their creative processes (and not the results of it)
The final product of a child’s creation is less important (and interesting) than the ways and means they took to get to it. Encourage kids to test more, cut more paper, use more color pencils (or no colors at all, how about drawing patterns instead of colors?). Child creativity is more about doing than what is being done.
How about enjoying some episodes of SuperHands as an inspiration to create new toys with materials you would otherwise throw away, for example?
Also important: be a role model!
Encouraging every kind of behavior and creative thinking in children is just one part of the work. Presenting yourself as open to think in the same way, by creating fantastic stories for everyday events, for example, is mandatory.
But don’t forget: let them have their free time
The least but perhaps most important action of all is also the hardest: let children play. Without toys, without carefully designed and thought stimuli, without anything rather than themselves and the world around them.
A good portion of the day dedicated to nothing at all, no schedules, no interferences, no structured toys or activities is the main key to the development of creativity.
After all, boredom just happens for those who forgot that there is nothing more entertaining than pure and simple playing.