What is that intrinsic inner value that makes some people highly creative and others more analytical? It’s possible that fostering creativity in young children is what turns those people into future artists, web designers and musicians. Even those who choose to go on and be accountants or lawyers may gain the ability to look at things from a fresh perspective.
Children between eight and 12 years of age tend to create imaginary worlds with much complexity and detail. It’s only as children get older and the focus is pushed to test-taking skills that creativity gets lost in the shuffle. However, fostering creativity when children are as young as possible can lead to a nation of innovators who are able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. Such skills are highly desirable for web designers as well as corporate CEOs.
Encouraging imagination from an early age on does help children with a natural propensity toward art development in that area. Children are already filled with a sense of wonder about the world around them. There are many ways of better fostering creativity in young children and ensuring they have an opportunity to hold onto the amazement they come into the world with. Here are five ideas.
1. Refuse to Limit Your Child’s Thinking
As adults, we know the sky is blue and the grass is green, but in the world of a child, the sky and grass can be any color they choose. While it’s fine to teach your child basic skills and point out in the real world what the colors are, when they create a drawing or painting, don’t try to pigeonhole them into using a specific color. While no parent intentionally stifles their child’s creativity, constantly correcting a kid is one of the fastest ways to do so.
There’s a delicate balance between teaching your child about the world and letting them create their own worlds. If your five-year-old wants to draw a rainbow only in a single color, let them. You never know when they’ll be the next big web designer choosing a beautiful monochrome design because of you fostering creativity in them when they were younger.
2. Provide Ample Playtime
Fostering creativity isn’t always an obvious set of actions as a parent or early childhood educator. Sometimes, it simply includes giving the child ample playtime to come up with different pretend scenarios. Outdoor play allows children to understand the world around them and relate to other children. Unfortunately, a mere 51% of preschoolers spend significant time outdoors each day, and 41% of school districts have no required recess time.
Outdoor play allows children to conquer challenges and come up with unique solutions and problem-solving as they play pretend with other children or figure out how to take turns on favorite pieces of playground equipment.
3. Keep It Simple
Fostering creativity doesn’t require expensive toys or elaborate outings. Most children can take the most basic of objects and turn them into something special when given the time to do so. One child educational psychologist shared that activities should be kept simple, such as using LEGOs. The key is not giving the child instructions on what to do but allowing the kid figure it out through their own imagination.
Don’t hand a child LEGOs and tell them to build a house. Instead, just give them the LEGOs and tell them to have a good time playing. The child will come up with their own invention, which will foster creativity far more than giving them instructions ever will.
4. Reduce the Noise
Today’s young children live in a world that isn’t adept at fostering creativity. There’s constant clatter. Between preschool, dance class, T-ball and dozens of other activities, it’s hard for a child to find time to just daydream and be. If you add older kids into the mix, the child may also have to go to practices and games for any sports the older child plays. It’s important to reduce the must-haves as much as possible and allow your child time to just pretend.
If you must go to the ballpark, let your little one bring along a favorite toy, and encourage them to play on the bleachers in front of you. If there’s a playground nearby, escape the stands for a bit and let your younger one spend some time imagining a world and playing with the other children at the ballpark. Limit electronic use so that the child has to touch and experience artistic endeavors rather than just seeing them on a screen.
5. Nix the Rewards
Your child created a beautiful drawing and you want to reward them with a trip for ice cream, but not so fast. The experts at UC Berkeley say rewarding creativity actually inhibits further creativity. Children should create because they love it and not because they want a reward. The experience of childhood changed drastically in the last 10 to 20 years, and some experts feel that it might actually impact the potential for creativity rather than fostering creativity.
Creativity Isn’t a One-Time Effort
Fostering creativity in your child isn’t a one-time effort that you should use and then forget. You must intentionally provide opportunities and supplies they can use to tap into their creative side. As a result, they’ll be much more likely to turn to artistic endeavors as they grow older. No matter what profession your child goes into as an adult, the ability to draw on the creative conscious will come in handy — start now and see for yourself!
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.