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How to Develop Child Creativity

Cheerful smiling kid (boy)l in helmet on a green background. Vintage pilot (aviator) concept

A child’s creativity starts with their method of thinking and problem solving. Daily challenges to expand their reasoning and understanding of the world, along with an encouraging environment allows for a child to become more confident of their views and opinions. There are a number of ways to develop child creativity, most of which can be incorporated into daily life.

Many people assume that creativity is an inborn talent that their kids either do or do not have: just as all children are not equally intelligent, all children are not equally creative. But actually, creativity is more skill than inborn talent, and it is a skill parents can help their kids develop.
Because it is a key to success in nearly everything we do, creativity is a key component of health and happiness and a core skill to practice with kids. Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes them more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as take advantage of new opportunities.

Kids are natural innovators with powerful imaginations. And creativity offers a bounty of intellectual, emotional and even health benefits.

One study found that kids’ imaginations helped them cope better with pain. Creativity also helps kids be more confident, develop social skills, and learn better. Below, three experts share how parents can encourage their kids’ creativity.

Here are some step for fostering creativity in your kids:

  1. Allow for your child to make simple choices, such as what to eat for dinner or where to go on a weekend.This encourages them to think independently, exercising an important aspect of creativity.
  2. Provide items in your child’s environment to stimulate their imagination. Drawing supplies, blocks, books, and random craft supplies can all contribute to elaborate dramatic play schemes.
  3. Brainstorm different uses for items with your child.For example, a cardboard tube can be a telescope, tower, or person. Validate all of your child’s ideas, praising him or her for such an impressive imagination.
  4. Encourage children to read for pleasure and participate in the arts.Limit TV and other screen time in order to make room for creative activities like rehearsing a play, learning to draw, reading every book written by a favorite author.
  5. Give children the opportunity to express “divergent thought.”Let them disagree with you. Encourage them to find more than one route to a solution, and more than one solution to a problem. When they successfully solve a problem, ask them to solve it again but to find a new way to do it (same solution, different route). Then ask them to come up with more solutions to the same problem.
  6. Don’t reward children for exhibiting creativity:incentives interfere with the creative process, reducing the quality of their responses and the flexibility of their thought.
    • Allow children to develop mastery of creative activities that they are intrinsically motivated to do, rather than trying to motivate them with rewards and incentives. Instead of rewarding a child for practicing the piano, for example, allow her to do something she enjoys more – maybe sit at her desk and draw or take a science class
  7. Allow for “free time.”It’s also important to give your child unstructured time, Allyn said. Spend a few hours at home without activities scheduled, so your child can just putter around and play, she said.
  8. Take the time for your own creativity.Since kids learn from watching their parents, be creative, too, Reznick said. Join your child when they’re drawing or building or coloring. One little girl wanted her parents to help her build an art jungle in the living room, she said. At first mom was hesitant. But this provided a great opportunity for the family to bond, and everyone had a fun time.

Sources: Wikihow, &

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