3 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Natural Creativity
Growing strong, resilient problem solvers through creativity
Kids are naturally highly creative. They have a wonderful brain that just wants to learn, and hasn’t been bound by ideas of what is and isn’t possible yet.
So what is creativity? Creativity is problem solving and learning. It’s the process of discovering something new. It’s not the end result.
When kids are really engaged in creative play, they are always challenging themselves and pushing their own boundaries. They take risks beyond what they know. They want to learn. It gets boring otherwise!
It’s exciting and it’s rewarding and sometimes it’s frustrating! That’s the space where emotional resilience and cooperative skills are developing alongside creativity. It future proofs creativity.
Creativity is inherently vulnerable and risky. It’s taking on the unknown. Without resilience skills, the brain will tend to remain where it is safe, and lose out on that potential growth.
Resilience develops when kids have the opportunity and motivation to keep trying, because they want to.
To raise kids who are resilient problem solvers and joyful learners, we need to take the natural creativity they are born with, and encourage it and allow it to flourish.
Here’s 3 ways to help kids discover what they are capable of.
Creativity flourishes in play when it has a purpose. Kids may not be able to articulate what it is, but there is always a ‘why’. Helping them discover a quest, a reason, and a purpose for doing something, can help send them in new directions they may not have considered.
It’s often said that boredom stimulates creativity. Well, sometimes! Boredom is a state of disengagement. You’re not interested in what you’re doing, and you’re looking for something to fill that gap.
Boredom can swing two ways – destructive, or constructive. Destructive boredom can quickly escalate into fighting or negative behaviour. It doesn’t make kids feel better, it’s just something to do.
Constructive boredom is exciting, because their brains are wanting to be engaged in something. They are ready. The right stimulus at the right time can get them deeply involved in something – and an engaged brain is making connections that last. It’s real learning.
The key is stimulating without instructing. It’s important they have the opportunity to have the ideas. They need to feel in control of what they are doing, that it is their own choice.
Recognise what they are interested in, and give them opportunities to explore it further.
Ask questions, and more importantly, encourage them to ask questions. Don’t jump in with answers, but allow them to figure it out.
Provide toys and activities that have many ways of using them. Have access to loose parts (lots of ‘bits’ that can be combined in unlimited ways and used for lots of purposes).
Tell them what to do.
Tell them how to do it.
Creativity evolves as skill level evolves. As they stretch the boundaries of what they are capable of, so do the boundaries of what could be possible if they push a bit further.
Collaboration is an incredibly effective way to learn new skills. Working alongside others means kids can learn from each other’s ideas and processes, and see things from different perspectives.
Another really great way is by taking something that someone else has done, and trying to emulate it by figuring out how they might have done it.
By figuring out the process for themselves, kids become their own expert. They experienced the problem solving thought process, working through the errors, tried things, adjusted, tried something else. They gain transferable skills they can apply to new challenges, in new ways.
Find ways for kids to connect with other kids with similar interests.
Help kids research and find people who already have skills in something they are interested in, and give them the opportunity to learn from them or what they have done.
Ever pass someone else’s original idea off as your original work. Teach kids to give credit where credit is due, and they will learn to respect other’s work and their own
Leave them to it!
When kids are thinking their way through a problem for themselves, it’s being wired into their brain as they are doing it.
If it’s fun, or something they are intrinsically motivated to do, that’s even better. Then those neural pathways in the brain are getting wired in with positive neurotransmitters like endorphins, a feel-good hormone that makes their brain want to come back and use that pathway again!
It’s important to get out of their way, and let them be challenged. Let them find it hard. They’ll only learn they have the ability to solve problems for themselves if they are given the opportunity to do it.
Be available to guide if needed, but don’t offer solutions or suggestions unless you need to.
You might be really surprised at what they come out with!
Let them feel frustrated.
Give them lots of time to really get into something.
Hover. Give them space. If you need to be there, work alongside.
Guide or instruct without being asked. Phrase comments as questions that might help them get to an answer by themselves. “What do you think?”, “Why is that?”, “How does that work?”.
Kids with Creativity
Kids with strong creativity skills have the ability to really explore what they are capable of, at any age. They are resilient, solution-focussed problem solvers who can meet any challenge head on.
Creativity must be nurtured, practiced, and encouraged to grow strong. It’s very easy, especially with technology now, to just fall into the habit of having things done for you. It’s easy to find whatever answer you are looking for.
The key is in knowing the right questions to ask, and creative kids ask great questions.
Make encouraging natural creativity even easier!
Marshmallow and Mint kits are designed to stimulate kids to explore their own ideas, try new things, and grow their creativity skillset.
Inspiration Kits have a range of activity ideas based around a fun theme, so kids can pick and choose what interests them at the time – a science activity today? Maybe something creative, or something that gets them exploring the outdoors? It’s all in there, and available either as a digital download set of activities or an Inspiration Box with everything they need to get started.
Creator Kits help kids take their ideas and develop them into board games or comic books, with a range of templates and guides that walk with kids throughout the process.