Fostering Creativity in Kids and Love Doing it!
When I was a teacher of the talented and gifted we administered the Torrance Tests of Divergent Thinking as one of the admission tests. Points were given if kids expanded some basic squiggles into creative drawings. Kids loved the test and always wanted to do it over. IF they did take the test again, they probably would have done better. Why? Because after the test I had shown them how they scored Therefore, they learned how to score better the next time.
Talented and Gifted Admission: A Good Idea?
A Torrance retest would be a perfect example of learning, but could I use the results to test creativity? I’m not sure. The example showed that creativity is a skill can be developed. So, what about the kids who scored high on the original test? Was that inborn talent or had they had opportunities to develop their creativity prior to testing? Perhaps they had experiences that gave them the confidence to try different challenges where there was no right or wrong answers.
Bottom line is that parents can foster creativity in their kids. Fostering a child’s creativity through art and music is a common idea. However, creativity and problem solving can be seen in all areas.
10 Ways to Promote Creativity in Children
- Give kids lots of unstructured playtime to let their imaginations be unlimited.
- Provide resources to let them explore. (Ex. paper, pencils, boxes, old clothes for dress up, straws, newspapers, blocks, Legos) Let them look around and find things to use.
- Give them flexibility to make choices and think of solutions.
- Help them learn words associated with creativity by asking questions. Ex. What would happen if? What could you do with that? Any ideas that might be possibilities? Let’s think of possible solutions.
- Applaud their creativity! Remembering that there is no right or wrong. Allowing kids to express themselves with acknowledgement helps to build confidence to try new things.
- Allow them to make rules to a game. They’ll experience whether they work or not. When they don’t let them change them again. Problem solving at its best
- The focus of creative activities should be on process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.
- Remind them it’s ok to make mistakes. You don’t want them to be afraid of failure. Adults make mistakes too!
- Encourage divergent (different) thinking. I used to challenge all my first-grade classes to find 100 ways to melt a snowball. It was a struggle, but they always did it. Wow, those kids were creative!
- Show kids creative ideas. In other words, something that will trigger “out of the box thinking”.
The photo attached to this post was taken by my husband on a golf outing. He thought it was unique and knew I would share it with some of my grandkids. But he didn’t know that I would use it as the focus photo of a post on creativity! Who would ever thinking of carving and painting a scene on a tree? So, maybe, you won’t paint on the next tree you see, but I bet you’ll think of this photo the next time you see an entwined tree trunk. Now, you’re being creative.
Thanks to Griffon Ramsey, for the creative inspiration from “Bad Day on the SS Normandie” (2017)