Children and creativity seem to be linked almost from Day One, but helping kids develop creativity is becoming more and more important and even necessary. At its highest level, industry is recognizing and recruiting creativity. One of the champions, Sir Ken Robinson speaks about it all over the world. “Creativity has become the new literacy.” Creativity isn’t a subject kids can take in college, it begins with the creativity of our very youngest. Imagination and creativity are closely linked, but as Sir Ken explains, to be creative we need to go beyond imagination and do something. There needs to be a creation of one sort or another.
Where does creativity come from? Now, this requires some mental gymnastics. In the words of another expert, Dr. Theresa Belton, creativity comes from being bored.
“When children have nothing to do now, they immediately switch on the TV, the computer, the phone or some kind of screen. The time they spend on these things has increased. But children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own…experiences through play or just observing the world around them.”
As parents and caregivers, we know firsthand the dangers of kids and boredom. Every have a little one throw the scissors into the toilet to see if they would float? Or paint the dog? How about open the jars of strawberry jam carefully preserved and stored in the cupboard under the stairs? Maybe not the same exact scenario but you know the horrors. And it happens in just seconds. The phone rang, we took a bathroom break, all we did was change the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. How? HOW? Is this creativity as its worst or its finest?
How…ever, kids need to be bored in order to be creative. Adele Parks writes, “ believe in the merits of boredom. I think we need down-times so we can process and create.”
(Give kids the chance to be bored; it might just help their creativity. Adele Parks)
Another how is: how to support children’s creativity? It’s really quite simple. I call it “Thinking Box.” As in, kids seem to have more fun with the box than with the gift. Besides the box, we can supply the stick, the blanket fort over the sofa, and the wall and markers. Perhaps, a wall is too limiting. Kids will cover themselves or even the dog with colors.
For a New Year’s resolution word-of-the-day, I give you creativity, as in helping kids develop creativity. And a wish…May you survive the creativity of kids?