Creativity: The Importance of Fostering Creativity in Children
Children possess immense creativity. However, a study has shown that between the ages of 5 and 15, a child’s creative ability drops by 86% (if nothing is done to remedy it).
And it must be avoided. Because creativity is a key factor for that child to become an inventor, architect, writer, or entrepreneur i.e. everything he imagines becoming; everyone has the ability to be creative and use that creativity in multiple ways to fulfill their dreams. So we adults have a responsibility to help children foster their creative spirit. And it is that the experiences that children have during their early years determine the development of their creativity in adulthood.
By supporting them in learning and mastering their creative ideas, we help children flourish. Now and in the future, to become the adult they dream of.
Creativity and Children: A Domestic Partnership
Let’s start at the beginning. Creativity and children seem like two naturally related terms.
We think that a child, just by being one, is already creative. Well, it’s true. If you are surrounded by children, surely you have been surprised a thousand times by their hilarious occurrences. For this reason, parents and teachers often encourage children to “use their creativity.” And yet, the response they often receive to this proposal is ‘silence’ or ‘confusion’.
And it is that creativity is more complex than it seems. A child is creative by nature, yes. But usually, he does not understand the concept in-depth, nor does he understand that creativity is not a magical quality, but a capacity that you can (and should) develop.
Imagination and Creativity in Children:
Do you want to check the creative capacity of a child compared to the imagination of an adult?
Just ask any child how many uses a paper clip can have. You are sure to get more than ten imaginative, fun, and surprising ideas.
Ask the same question to an adult and see how panic takes over his face.
This is so because children are true divergent thinkers; with an inborn ability to produce creative ideas freely, generously, and without being limited by their own self-criticism.
Creativity in children is innate:
It is proven that 98% of 5-year-old children are creative geniuses. A research carried out by George Land and Beth Jarman in 1968, in which 1600 5-year-old children were given the same test that NASA uses to detect innovative leaders among its employees.
The results shook the world as almost all of the evaluated children were creative marvels. It has been observed that 98% reached the maximum score for creativity. The research was decided to be continued and it was found that the creative genius rate had dropped to 12% by the time those kids turned 15. Of course, something was happening.
Why do children lose Creativity?
Two factors are the main causes of the loss of creativity in children. One is biological and the other is educational.
The first reason is the functioning of the human brain; specifically, the frontal cortex.
This is part of the brain responsible for our most developed cognitive abilities, such as mastering a language, solving problems, adapting to the environment, or planning actions to achieve goals.
As we get older (and especially from the second decade of life) our frontal cortex evolves and becomes more “rational”.
Thanks to this change, we carry out better analyzes and make better decisions in our adult lives. But one of its negative side effects is that we begin to lose our ability to think divergent. What a real creativity killer.
Lack of Creativity in Children:
The second reason for the progressive lack of creativity in children is education.
Yes. The traditional educational system stifles the creative genius of children. And it makes sense. The school needs to teach children to conform to patterns and adapt to the academic path outlined. Thus, if a child draws a blue tree, he is corrected. The trees are green and brown. That is the expected response.
The result is that numerous investigations indicate that children’s creativity decreases with each year they spend in the educational system, going from being indomitable geniuses of creativity to becoming integrated into more rigid and convergent behaviors.
Of course, it is necessary for the child to learn these group behaviors and acquire the ability to follow systems. But you have to be especially careful that this does not kill your child’s creativity. Because it is proven that “adults” if we do not pay specific attention to the subject, we destroy the creative soul of children with our vision.
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The Importance of Creativity in Children:
But really, what is creativity?
There are multiple concepts of creativity.
According to Wikipedia:
“Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas or concepts, of new associations between known ideas and concepts, which usually produce original solutions. Creativity is synonymous with ‘original thinking’, ‘constructive imagination’, ‘divergent thinking’ or ‘creative thinking.“
So we can conclude that creativity is:
The ability to see things in a new way: breaking the boundaries by going beyond the information and material provided. Thinking unconventionally and creating something unique that did not exist before. And when it comes to children, how do they show their creativity? Because there is an indisputable fact: creativity is not the same for children as it is for adults.
Creativity is a skill. And as such it requires preparation, incubation, lighting, and hard work.
The key to this difference is how our way of seeing the mistakes we make throughout a process changes. For a child, mistakes come naturally. It does not concern him. For adults, a mistake is synonymous with failure. The fear of being wrong paralyzes your creative genius.
Creativity test for children:
Although it is clear that all children enjoy high creative potential, not all start from the same initial level.
To determine this innate ability it is important to make a preliminary clarification: Intelligence is undoubtedly a key factor in the creativity of a child however it is only one factor.
A high IQ (Intelligence Quotient) does not guarantee high creativity. There are various tests to measure children’s creativity, but without a doubt, the most prestigious is the Test of Creative Imagination (TCI); created by Ellis Paul Torrance in 1965, it establishes 7 indicators of creativity in children:
Curiosity: It is rare to find a truly curious child who is not very creative.
Flexibility: Creative children often try to find more than one approach to coping with a situation.
Sensitivity to problems: A creative child is quick to perceive discrepancies in the information he has received.
Redefinition: Find new uses for everyday objects.
They are individualists: They can work alone without the need for adult guidance.
Originality: Your proposals are rare. They do not copy or imitate.
Insight: They are children who spend a lot of time developing ideas and their possibilities.
How to encourage creativity in children?
Parents and teachers are in an excellent position to help children understand what creativity is and the reasons why it is relevant in their lives. But above all, the goal is to change the focus that creativity is an innate gift of great geniuses.
Encouraging a child’s creativity involves actively participating in his learning, encouraging him to investigate, experiment, tolerate failure, and be persistent and nonconformist.
Great ideas have more to do with curiosity than with muses. We must say goodbye to the myth of the “eureka moment” and think more about creativity like a sport in which you can have more or fewer facilities, but you must train to improve and obtain great results.
Because as Einstein said: Genius consists of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
Creativity techniques for children:
There is a popular belief that the best way to foster children’s creativity is to simply get out of the way and let them flow freely. Yes, leave children free and watch them how to solve particular problems and how they face challenges on their way.
Although it is true that children are curious and divergent by nature, they need the support of adults to develop their creative capacities and reach their maximum potential in creativity.
Make crafts, compose songs, invent choreography, draw, construct games, read inspiring books, and so on… the possibilities are endless.
But beyond the specific activity, the important thing is to encourage divergent thinking in the child. One who says that, for a single problem, there is no single solution.
If you want to develop a child’s creativity, bet on supporting their nonconformity, curiosity, persistence, and willingness to take risks in everyday situations.
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Strategies to develop creativity in children:
Without knowledge, a child cannot use his memory to find interesting ideas to join in unexpected ways. You need references to build on Knowledge.
For example, a clothing designer must know all the possible fabrics and patterns that could be used, but will also need the skill of sewing.
So you have to enhance the child’s knowledge, but also their practical skills. Without skills, the child will be able to imagine a painting or dress, but will not be able to bring the dream to life.
That is the focus of (for example) our programming courses. We combine technical knowledge with practical programming skills. Only by joining both parts, the child will be able to create an application, web, or video game that his creativity inspires.
Simply put, flexible and divergent thinking-oriented learning opportunities fuel a child’s creativity.
Creativity activities for children:
If what you are looking for are specific activities that encourage children’s creativity, you should think about all those that allow them to see the things around them in a new way.
Children are creative when they:
- Try new ideas
- Solve problems
- Discover things
- Fantasize and imagine
- Value other possibilities of doing things
- Take things apart and put them back together
- Take materials, manipulate and transform them
Some of the activities that allow them to put these skills into practice are writing stories, programming video games, drawing, knitting, or cooking as a family.
Art and Creativity for Children:
There is no doubt that art and creativity are intimately related. They could not exist without the other. The greatest advantage that art has in promoting children’s creativity is that it allows them to materialize their ideas. Only with a box of colored pencils and a simple sheet of paper, the child can express his wishes, emotions, or fantasies.
Therefore, it is important to encourage children to communicate through drawing. Of course, we encourage you not to leave the child alone with the activity, but to guide and stimulate their creativity. Suggest themes to draw, cut out characters and assemble an improvised story with him or her.
Two tips for leading art activities that encourage children’s creativity:
The first is Patience. Remember that creativity is something new for the creator, even more so when he is a child. It does not matter that we all know that red and yellow make orange, when the child is allowed to discover it for himself, it will be an unforgettable moment.
The second is that you do not slow down (too much) artistic activity for fear that everything will be stained. The deal is to try to be careful and clean up together when you’re done. But do not suffer at the moment!
Creativity drawings for kids:
By introducing a child to the world of drawing, the goal is not for him to become a great artist. If not provide him with a space and a tool to communicate more deeply.
And it is that drawing allows younger children to communicate their emotions and feelings (both positive and negative) at an age when they may have difficulties with the use of words.
Here are some creative drawing ideas for kids:
- Draw Animals
- Simple geometric shapes
- People from your family or classmates
- Make your own version of a photograph
- Your favorite characters from animated series
- Congratulations on Eid, Christmas and birthday
We are sure you will love them.
Creativity Videos for Kids
It has been observed that the audiovisual format is a fantastic ally to promote children’s creativity.
On the internet, you will find a multitude of educational videos developed especially for the little ones. The craft tutorials are a very useful support for the adult to lead the art session with greater confidence (if cutting, gluing, and coloring are not your thing).
But we recommend you go one step further and encourage the child to get to the other side of the screen i.e. to record and edit your own videos.
Adolescence is the ideal time for them to learn to handle a camera with ease, stand in front of it and edit videos to be able to create all the stories they imagine. You can advise children to take help from the Internet to handle recording and adjusting a self-created video.
Creativity Games for Kids:
We do not have to tell you that the offer of creative games for children today is practically endless. But keep in mind that just because an item or toy calls itself “creative” doesn’t mean it really is.
The way to check if a toy is really creative is to see if:
- Provides more than one use: If you only allow a single game mode, then there is no creativity in it.
- It does not present correct and incorrect ways of doing things: creativity has no room for mistakes, and everything is fine.
- You don’t expect the result to be the same for everyone who uses it.
- Think of old-time toys with which the hours flew by play dough, a blackboard, kitchenettes, or a simple doll.
- They must be games without instructions and that allow a multitude of possibilities.
How to encourage creativity in preschoolers:
As parents, it is not so much about teaching creativity to children as about creating a fertile environment in which their creativity takes root, grows, and flourishes. In addition to offering children age-appropriate creative activities, there are some habits that can be incorporated into daily family life:
- Respect all of the child’s attempts at creativity, regardless of the end result.
- Allow the child to explore and make decisions freely.
- Teach them art: discover musical styles, visit museums, and teach them poetry.
- Let them get bored and start their imagination.
Activities to stimulate creativity in children from 2 to 3 years old:
In children of such a young age, the best way to promote their creativity is through crafts that allow them to imagine and, at the same time, develop psychomotor skills.
An easy way to do this is to use everyday objects and recycled items to make crafts.
Here are some ideas.
- Build puppets with empty rolls of kitchen paper.
- Collect fallen tree leaves and make a collage with them.
- Paint macaroni with tempera and set them on a necklace.
- Design a house for the dolls from a shoebox.
By doing so, you will enhance the child’s creativity, you will have a fun time and he will learn environmental values.
What more could you want?
Creativity games for elementary school children:
School age is a perfect time to stimulate children’s creativity through creative and cooperative play.
The key to any creative game is to focus on enjoying the process of expressing yourself freely. Thanks to these creative experiences the child has the opportunity to imagine new ideas, try other ways of doing things, and solve problems without fear of error.
Here are 10 creative game ideas for elementary school kids:
- Building blocks
- Folded paper and Origami Games
- Association games
- Tokens to tell stories
- Chinese shadows
- Guess the name of the movies
- Program a robot
- Chained words
The important thing is to discover the endless creative games that the child can play until he finds those with which he truly enjoys and time flies by.
Creativity workshops for children:
Creativity workshops for children are the best way to discover new creative games and activities.
Although the child’s creativity is enhanced at school and at home, it is in these specific workshops where the creative potential of the little ones is deepened.
You can make research and organize several special creativity workshops throughout the year for your children on vacations like (pandemic lockdown, days without school, summer camps, Easter, half terms, or Christmas).
In these intensive workshops, the child enjoys the first contact with various creative disciplines: music, 3D design, photography, robot construction, programming, or technological crafts.
With materials and resources that they do not have at home, children take their first steps in various artistic disciplines and often discover new hobbies.
Perfect workshops for restless minds who want to develop their STEAM skills i.e. (Problem-Solving, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, etc.), in which curiosity about the world of technology and a passion for inventing and creating are fostered.
Phrases about creativity in children:
As we’ve explained throughout this article, children are deeply creative by nature. It is we, adults, who must learn (or remember) to look at the world with their eyes; without prejudice, freely, and without fear of making mistakes. This is how we can develop our creative abilities and enjoy the pleasure of creating new things while expressing our unique way of being.
So, to inspire you, we have prepared a compilation of our 7 favorite phrases about creativity in children:
“Children see magic because they seek it.” Christopher Moore
“You were wild once. Don’t let them tame you.” Isadora Duncan
“If you want children to continue dreaming to the moon and beyond, then dream of them, both sharing your fervent dreams and plunging your heart into theirs.” Vince Gowmon
“The secret of genius is to bring the spirit of the child to old age.” Aldous Huxley
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” Albert Einstein
“Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle becomes flaccid with disuse, a child’s brilliant imagination pales if he stops exercising it.” Walt Disney
“I doubt that the imagination can be stifled. If you really eradicate it in a child, it would grow into an eggplant.” Ursula K. Le Guin
Creativity involves using your imagination to create something of value: an object, a work of art, or the solution to a problem. Throughout our lives, creativity plays an essential role in our personal and professional success.
Children are great creative geniuses, but if we don’t pay attention to them, over the years they lose their imaginations. And, although creativity is a capacity, it can be nurtured. Because being creative is more of a way of thinking than a magical and innate talent.
Great creative geniuses are people who have worked very hard to develop their creative abilities. Therefore, it is essential to encourage children to go out and explore, offering them new things to learn; everything from curiosity and freedom: Because a creative child is a nonconformist child, curious, persistent, and without fear of failure.
We hope we have helped you understand the vital importance of developing a child’s imagination so that your child becomes a safe, free, and successful adult.
And now we ask you: how do you think creativity in children can be fostered? Do you propose games, activities, or approaches?
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