Contributed by Patrick Fitzpatrick, Headmaster at Plumstead Christian School
Creativity is an essential skill that can and should be cultivated in our children.
Creativity gives birth to invention, art, paradigm shifts, and whole new worlds and the stories contained within, but it is also a skill that is highly marketable no matter one’s chosen career path.
There are numerous ways to introduce, encourage, and strengthen creativity in our children. I recently asked friends for their best advice on just how to do this. Some of their answers are found below. Give these a try with your own children:
Lead by example. In these three words a friend captured one of the most important elements in developing creativity in our children. I often say “more is caught than taught” when I am talking about virtue and faith, but this applies to creativity as well.
Let them be bored. One friend elaborated, “We take away their toys. Inevitably they begin to invent their own games. They come up with fantastic ones. You can’t even begin to imagine how creative they can become.”
Fill your house with Mozart. While Mozart may not have the monopoly on great music, but exposing your children to his works and to other music, art, drama, museums, sporting events, nature, etc. will feed your child’s creativity. The expectation here is not that they will become experts in all of these areas. Rather, this exposure helps children to discover their own passions, which, in turn, leads to #4.
Identify and then fuel your child’s interests. A friend offered this example: Our son loves to bake. We gave him his own baking supplies, and he’s allowed to bake whenever he wants to as long as he cleans up the mess.
Buy sketch pads and make various scribbles on each page, and then have your children make something of them. This particular idea came from a childhood friend of mine who now makes a living as a graphic artist. Forming pictures from nonsensical scribbles strengthens the “out-of-the-box” thinking that is of high value in life and work. It’s also just plain fun!
Read to your children every day. Reading expands a child’s vocabulary and their world of experiences. Reading to them is a vital example of being the role model that # 1 stresses.
Provide structured play to foster creativity. My friend continued: I have large sketch pads for my children and we sit down and do specific tasks like “design a house for the guinea pig.” That structured start can really get them going, and having an end goal like this can guide creativity in a meaningful direction.
To find out how we foster creativity in the classroom plan a visit to Plumstead Christian School.