In this series of posts on creative kids, I give you ideas for boosting your kids’ creativity. Each post in this series introduces different ways to stimulate the natural creativity your kids already have.
Creativity is essential in peoples’ way of handling difficulties and solving problems. Although I think it is possible to spark creativity in anyone, I strongly believe that kids can learn it better and faster, if only because they have had fewer disappointments and they look forward to new experiences. It is never too early or too late to teach creativity and, although you may not see the results straight away, your kids will accumulate creative experiences and will use this skill at the right time.
In this post, I bring you 6 more ideas. I hope you find them useful.
Quiz books are a good source of problems to solve in a safe place. Word searches, Sudoku puzzles and mazes are just some of the quizzes kids can do at an early age.
To do word searches, your kids only need to recognize the letters. They do not need to read the words at all. When they are too young for that, ask them to only search for letters (make it a “letter search”).
Mazes are a great way to teach kids problem solving – “OK, this is not the right way, let me try something else”. The more mazes they solve, the more efficient they will be at them. Repeat the same (kind of) activities makes kids feel safer and more confident, which will improve their ability.
In quiz books, you can find riddles that kids can solve. If you go to any bookshop and look for riddles and games for kids, you will find many of them.
Jigsaw puzzles are another good way to teach problem solving. In a way, we want kids to tackle their problems the way the tackle a puzzle – every task is made of many tiny pieces and in order to complete it, they need to work out one piece at a time. Over time, kids find strategies for solving puzzles and build the creative character and attitude required for solving problems.
Reading about the life experiences of inventors and other creative people promotes creativity and encourages your kids to investigate. It is usually very surprising for kids to read that famous people they learn about at school had similar or even worse problems and their creative mind and character helped them on their journey. There are many biographies for children, adjusted to their age level and reading abilities. Some very creative people you can think about are Tomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Galileo, Picasso and Mozart.
Scrabble and crossword puzzles develop creativity with language. Look at the dictionary with your kids. Help them find different kinds of dictionaries and show them not all dictionaries have the same definition for a given word. It is important for kids to discover that the words we use are subject to interpretation. This will help them give themselves permission to redefine things.
Play definition games. For example, pick words and their definitions from the dictionary and write them on separate cards, say 10 words and 10 definitions. Then, ask your kids to match words to their definitions. You can vary the number of cards, the similarity of the words and the difficulty of the definitions with age.
We are now living and parenting in the digital age when, if our kids take 3,749 photos, it does not have any impact on our financial situation. When Noff was 5, we gave her a digital camera and she started taking photos and making little videos. When we looked at what she had captured, we could not recognize our own house. She had taken her photos from such places and angles we had never thought of (maybe because she was short).
Sit with your kids and go over the photos. Talk about light and shade, angles, positioning, composition (using shorter words) and encourage them to be creative and take risks.
Digital photography is a cheap and easy way to teach creativity. If you have not done so already, buy yourself a digital camera and encourage your kids to experiment with creative photos. If you want to take it a step forward, also get some photo editing software and let them edit their photos (I originally wrote “teach them”, but then I remembered my kids do not learn about computers from me…).
Encourage your kids to make music. They can use their voices, bang on things or whistle – it is all good.
Be patient with your kids’ musical creativity. I have a 13-year-old son who plays and writes music and I can tell you it is very easy to kill creativity if you cannot stand it when your kids practice. Learning something new requires exploring, trying and making mistakes and with music, it sounds horrible sometimes.
As you can see from this series, there are many different ways to boost kids’ creativity. I hope my ideas will spark your creativity as a parent and you will come up with your own ideas to do more. When you do, please come back and share your ideas here by posting a comment.