What Makes Children Creative, Part 2

in Early Childhood in the News

A child-built "Taj Mahal"

James C. Kaufman, a creativity expert, says the definition of creativity has expanded from the ability to generate new ideas to putting those ideas to work solving specific problems. Researchers believe growth in screen time, plus a trend in schools toward rote learning and testing, are crowding out the activities that foster creativity.

Here are two more things parents can do in the home to assure their children are not participating in the trend. First, limit electronics including TV, which do the thinking for children. Second, make creative, spontaneous play a vital part of your child’s day.

What can you do in your home for creative, spontaneous play?

  1. Drape a blanket over a table and crawl inside with your child. Pretend you’re sleeping in a bear cave and other animals try to squeeze in and get out of the cold.
  2. Listen to all your child’s ideas and ask open-ended questions.
  3. Be involved in your child’s creations. It’s the process, not the outcome, that counts.
  4. Invite your child to come up with solutions to everyday problems. Listen with respect. (How can we keep the milk jug from falling over in the car? Where could you put your school clothes so you’ll see them in the morning? How can you get the matchbox car from under the couch? What can we use to carry all our library books?)

Simple ideas in everyday living can nurture creative skills at home.

A Box? Or a Spaceship? What Makes Kids Creative?, The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2010

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