You must often be surprised now and then by the creative and unusual ways in which your child thinks or does activities. Truth is, children are far more creative than any adult and their mind has abilities to stretch for an admirable length.
However, the development of the foundation of the creativity quotient largely takes place during the first 12 years of a child’s life. During these years, the mind can stretch to assimilate unimaginable information through different experiences that will ultimately foster creativity and dynamic cognitive behaviour. Shaping up the brain in formative years, helps children to yield novel ideas, solutions and even facilitates effective communication. It’s like shaping up wet clay into thoroughly carved, cooked, and polished earthenware.
Creativity has often been defined as the ability to generate novel ideas, create a new whole altogether different from an existing expression, organise the same information in different possibilities and alternatives, figuring out interrelationships between otherwise unrelated things and transcending traditional ways of thinking. Many believe that the creative quotient is a skill, which can be honed through exposure to different activities over time.
As children grow up, they continually display newer applications of their logical thinking, experimentation to self-discipline, emotionally resilient yet persistent. However, if gone unnoticed, they show up as a one-off event and not as a sustainable skill. As parents, we need to keep engaging our children to actively stimulate their creative quotient; the absence of which can create mental blocks, face issues with problem-solving, divergent or convergent thinking and communicating ideas. Through various researches, practitioners have come up with different methods to help enhance the creative quotient of children. Let’s look at 5 of these:
- Role-playing Exercises: Role-playing exercises can work wonders to foster children’s creative thinking. For example, you can put on an awkward hat and start talking in a specific accent while washing dishes and ask your child to join in. Seeing you, they would be encouraged to role-play different characters. You can broaden the limits of role-playing by taking the activity beyond the gender that they identify to. You can also play out different animals or objects.
- Blocks, Puzzles & Thinking or Mind Games: These toys & games can assist your child in inductive as well as deductive reasoning. In some such games, the child’s imagination can be pushed to build something concrete out of nothing. Thus, augmenting the ways they can look at problems and develop abilities to think in original ways. They might initially resist or show frustration on certain kinds of puzzles or games as they would be required to expand their limits. But that might also push those areas in their brain which need exposure. They might, through such experiences and your guidance, learn how to find solutions to situations that originally seemed to be not doable.
- Exposing to different environments: One of the most effective ways that children can gain varied experiences is by experiencing different environments, with your presence acting as a comfort or safety net. You can start by scheduling a walk outside every day, or every other day. Expose them to different textures – damp grass, concrete, mud, sand and more: basically, help them derive knowledge from their surroundings. It might be messy at the start but the results will be worth it. You can also use such situations as opportunities to ask about their experiences at the end of each of these walks; their perspective on surroundings; their feelings and emotions.
- Introduction to Arts: Different forms of art can come in handy to expand the creative capacities of your child. Drawing, painting, playing an instrument or writing prose all stimulate various mental faculties. They help in boosting a child’s imagination in ways that conventional methods of learning can’t, and can even surface hidden talents that your child has; which can be honed over time for a better outcome.
- Socialising: Sometimes people miss out on the importance of socialising in expanding the creative quotient of their children. Socialising with different kinds of people, be it other children or adults, would give them insights into different types of experiences and information sharing that they can have. Such exposures can be great opportunities to create in them the joy of sharing – not just the things but even sharing by participating in others’ plays. This would help them build the ability to step into the shoes of the other person. In fact, empathy is now being considered as one of the top valuable traits in the 21st century.
These activities can definitely prove beneficial for your child who is in the formative years of brain development. It is crucial to note as a parent that we should expose our children to these activities not for achievement but for the value of such experiences. We as parents have to free our children from the yardstick of success or failure while they indulge in such activities. So, we have to give that much-needed space to our children to engage in these activities for the joy of these activities.
One last word from our side before we close this article for you. We all need downtime, even the children too. We as parents should allow our children their downtime, where it is okay not to take part in any activities.
Happy exploring the world through the lens of your child’s creative eyes!