7 Ways to Foster Creativity in Your Kids (2022)

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By Christine Carter | September 16, 2008
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Many people assume that creativity is an inborn talent that their kids either do or do not have: just as all children are not equally intelligent, all children are not equally creative. But actually, creativity is more skill than inborn talent, and it is a skill parents can help their kids develop.
Because it is a key to success in nearly everything we do, creativity is a key component of health and happiness and a core skill to practice with kids. Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes them more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as take advantage of new opportunities.

Many researchers believe we have fundamentally changed the experience of childhood in such a way that impairs creative development. Toy and entertainment companies feed kids an endless stream of prefab characters, images, props and plot-lines that allow children to put their imaginations to rest. Children no longer need to imagine a stick is a sword in a game or story they've imagined: they can play Star Wars with a specific light-saber in costumes designed for the specific role they are playing.

7 Ways to Foster Creativity in Your Kids (1)

Here are some ideas for fostering creativity in your kids:

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    7 Ways to Foster Creativity in Your Kids (2)

    (Video) Creativity for Kids | How to Foster Creativity in your Home | Raising A to Z

    Provide the resources they need for creative expression. The key resource here is time. Kids need a lot of time for unstructured, child-directed, imaginative play –unencumbered by adult direction, and that doesn't depend on a lot of commercial stuff (see this post about unstructured play).

    Space is also a resource your kids need. Unless you don't mind creative messes everywhere, give them a specific place where they can make a mess, like room in your attic for dress-up, a place in the garage for painting, or a corner in your family room for Legos.

    Next time someone asks for a gift suggestion for your kids, ask for things like art supplies, cheap cameras, costume components, building materials. Put these in easy-to-deal-with bins that your kids can manage.

  2. Make your home a Petri dish for creativity. In addition to creative spaces, you need to foster a creative atmosphere.

    Solicit a high volume of different ideas, but resist the urge to evaluate the ideas your kids come up with. At dinnertime, for example, you could brainstorm activities for the upcoming weekend, encouraging the kids to come up with things they've never done before. Don't point out which ideas aren't possible, and don't decide which ideas are best. The focus of creative activities should be on process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.

    Encourage kids to make mistakes and fail. Yes, fail – kids who are afraid of failure and judgment will curb their own creative thought. Share the mistakes you've made recently, so they get the idea that it is okay to flub up. Laughing at yourself when you blow it is a happiness habit.

    Celebrate innovation and creativity. Cover your walls with art and other evidence of creative expression. Tell your kids all about your favorite artists, musicians, and scientists. Share your passion for architecture or photography or that new band you want to listen to all the time. Embrace new technologies like Twitter so your kids grow to find change exciting, not over-whelming or intimidating.

  3. Allow kids the freedom and autonomy to explore their ideas and do what they want. Don't be so bossy. (If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, who knows what is.) Stop living in fear that they are going to be kidnapped or not get into a great college. Statistically, the odds are very low that they'll be kidnapped, and I'm here to tell you that I'm not a happier person because I went to an Ivy League school.

    External constraints—making them color within the lines, so to speak—can reduce flexibility in thinking. In one study, just demonstrating how to put together a model reduced the creative ways that kids accomplished this task.

    (Video) 7 Tips To Foster Creative and Innovative Thinking audio script

  4. Encourage children to read for pleasure and participate in the arts. Limit TV and other screen time in order to make room for creative activities like rehearsing a play, learning to draw, reading every book written by a favorite author.

  5. Give children the opportunity to express "divergent thought." Let them disagree with you. Encourage them to find more than one route to a solution, and more than one solution to a problem. When they successfully solve a problem, ask them to solve it again but to find a new way to do it (same solution, different route). Then ask them to come up with more solutions to the same problem.

  6. Don't reward children for exhibiting creativity: incentives interfere with the creative process, reducing the quality of their responses and the flexibility of their thought.

    Allow children to develop mastery of creative activities that they are intrinsically motivated to do, rather than trying to motivate them with rewards and incentives. Instead of rewarding a child for practicing the piano, for example, allow her to do something she enjoys more – maybe sit at her desk and draw or take a science class.

  7. Try to stop caring what your kids achieve. Emphasize process rather than product. One way you can do this is by asking questions about the process – Did you have fun? Are you finished? What did you like about that activity?

  8. Related posts:

  • The Power of Play
  • Let Your Kids Fail
  • Teaching the Growth Mindset

© 2008 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

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    Comments

    Great parenting advice as always, but isn’t it time for an outside-the-box idea that could really make a difference?
    Trying to identify, round up, and change the parenting of every adult who needs intervention is an impractical way to improve the quality of parenting in a community.
    Often parents don’t realize they have poor parenting skills, may not be motivated to change their behavior, face serious psychological and practical obstacles, and have already damaged their children. Instead of being reactive, we should be proactive and teach kids best parenting behaviors and practices so they’ll be prepared for the most important job they’ll have as adults.
    The parenting education could take the form of permanent and evolving public service announcements on radio, television, billboards, print, and the internet designed to teach every young person how to engage in parenting that supports the healthy physical, emotional, and intellectual development of children, and reject parenting that disrupts the healthy development of children. I can envision engaging school age spokespersons delivering these messages.
    I represent Parenting Ed for Young People. We believe that teaching kids how to parent could, in one generation, transform communities struggling with child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, and other forms of violence.

    David Dooley | 9:27 pm, September 16, 2008 | Link

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    (Video) 10 Activites To Encourage Creativity In Children

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    FAQs

    What are five 5 strategies for helping children to become more creative? ›

    5 Simple Strategies for Promoting Creativity in Children Today
    • Encourage Questions. Every parent knows children ask a lot of questions. ...
    • Foster Problem-Based Learning. ...
    • Help with the Process but Not the Answer. ...
    • Provide Free, Uninterrupted Blocks of Time. ...
    • Tap into an Alternative Educational Strategy.
    25 Jul 2018

    What are 3 ways parents can encourage their children's creativity? ›

    Parents and caregivers can encourage children's creativity in many ways. Imagination and creativity are important parts of a child's life.
    ...
    Encourage art activities
    • making a house, fort, boat, spaceship, etc. ...
    • coloring a picture.
    • drawing.
    • making something with modeling clay.
    28 Apr 2021

    What two things are helpful for fostering creativity? ›

    There are several ways that we can foster creativity at a time when creativity is not always rewarded or easy.
    • Finding Your Creative Space. ...
    • Find Your Creative Times. ...
    • Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. ...
    • Read Across Genres. ...
    • Let Yourself Be Bored. ...
    • Fellowships and Collectives. ...
    • A Last Note — Practice Self Care.
    31 May 2019

    What do you mean by fostering creativity? ›

    According to the Encyclopedia of Children's Health, creativity is defined as the ability to think up and design new inventions, produce works of art, solve problems in new ways or develop an idea based on an original, novel or unconventional approach.

    How do you motivate a child to be creative? ›

    8 Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking in Children
    1. Make Children Question Things. ...
    2. Provide Opportunities to Express Their Intelligence. ...
    3. Teach Them Multiple Ways to Solve Every Problem. ...
    4. Trigger Their Curiosity. ...
    5. Engage Them With Activity Boxes. ...
    6. Encourage Children to Read for Pleasure. ...
    7. Give Them Free Time & Space.

    What types of activities promote creativity and imagination? ›

    Try some of these fun activities to fuel imagination and creativity, while keeping the kids busy and entertained.
    • Build a Fort. Forts are a favorite for all ages! ...
    • Not a Box. ...
    • Create Your Own Gym. ...
    • Bake Together. ...
    • Sidewalk Chalk. ...
    • Have a Picnic.
    3 Apr 2020

    What are creative activities? ›

    Creative activity is the on-going production of art forms, artistic performance, or other creative effort undertaken to explore the medium of such forms, performances, or efforts.

    What are some ways to be creative? ›

    1. Draw, paint, doodle, watercolor. ...
    2. Do something physical. ...
    3. Embrace boredom. ...
    4. Watch a TED talk or listen to a podcast. ...
    5. Generate way more ideas than you think you actually need. ...
    6. Make time for play. ...
    7. Journal. ...
    8. Get outside.
    24 Aug 2022

    What factors might limit children's creativity? ›

    being too busy and getting too involved with a problem.
    ...
    More blockages and barriers come from:
    • Stress. ...
    • Chaotic environments. ...
    • Restrictive routines/boredom and monotony. ...
    • Beliefs. ...
    • Fear. ...
    • Self-criticism. ...
    • Ego. ...
    • Negative people.

    How can students build creativity? ›

    How can you encourage creativity in the classroom?
    1. Choose a flexible classroom layout. ...
    2. Follow a classroom theme. ...
    3. Create a classroom library. ...
    4. Visualize ideas and goals. ...
    5. Create opportunities for reflection. ...
    6. Display inspirational quotes. ...
    7. Enliven your virtual classroom. ...
    8. Take your teaching outside.

    Why do we need to foster creativity? ›

    The notion of creativity suggests innovation and originality—the ability to see old problems in novel ways and to devise new ways of thinking, analyzing, and doing. Creativity is critical to organi- zational success as it helps people and organizations to respond to new challenges and opportunities for change.

    What are some conditions fostering creativity? ›

    Fostering Creativity in Children
    • Create creative spaces. A creative atmosphere empowers children to 'think outside the box' and generate different ideas. ...
    • Provide creative resources. The key component of creative resources is time. ...
    • Freedom and Autonomy. Don't be a boss. ...
    • Don't reward. ...
    • Encourage divergent thinking.

    What is the teacher's role in fostering creativity in children? ›

    It is a truism that teachers play a critical role in the development of student creativity. How teachers respond to their students' ideas, views and suggestions during lessons can be expected to have an influence on the students' subsequent effort and inclination in coming up with new ideas, views and suggestions.

    What are social creative activities? ›

    Sharing a creative activity is also a great way to help build friendships, and strengthen bonds between you and your child as well as with friends. Activities including singing, dancing, acting, drawing, creating models, nature trails together are all great ways to help friendship and bonding.

    What can schools do to nurture children's creativity? ›

    To nurture creativity through social interactions, educators can: Plan activities where children work with one another and see different viewpoints. Involve youngsters in solving real world problems and ask them open-ended questions. Encourage children to come up with their own ideas, answers and interpretations.

    How do you plan a creative activity for kids? ›

    Planning Creative Art Activities for Multi-age Groups
    1. Choose materials that appeal to different ages. ...
    2. Encourage age-appropriate exploration. ...
    3. Choose materials that are safe for all ages. ...
    4. Supervise well. ...
    5. Create time or space for “big kid” art.
    15 Aug 2019

    How do you nurture the child's imagination and creativity? ›

    10 Ways to Nurture Your Child's Creativity and Imagination
    1. Provide a Creative Home Environment. ...
    2. Have Creative Resources To Hand. ...
    3. Invest In Open-Ended Toys. ...
    4. Inspire Big Thoughts. ...
    5. Have Unstructured Time. ...
    6. Reduce Screen Time. ...
    7. Mix Up The Creative Environment. ...
    8. Role Play.
    28 Dec 2019

    What age are children most creative? ›

    The world of the preschooler is one of imagination and magic. For many children, their creativity will reach its peak before the age of six, after which it will begin to decline with the onset of formal schooling and the developmental drive towards conformity.

    What is Creative Arts for kids? ›

    Creative arts are activities that actively engage children's imagination through music, visual arts, movement and dance, and drama and storytelling. Creative arts engage children across all domains—cognitive, language, social, emotional, and physical.

    What are 10 ways to be creative? ›

    10 Ways to Boost Your Creativity
    1. Step outside. And go for a walk. ...
    2. Step out of your comfort zone. ...
    3. Create psychological distance. ...
    4. Read (widely) ...
    5. Listen to music. ...
    6. Write (or draw) ...
    7. Make a healthy snack. ...
    8. Break your routine.
    2 Nov 2018

    Can you force creativity? ›

    Creativity is a natural process that can be nurtured, harnessed, and cultivated. Forcing creativity rarely works. Staring at a blank page will not only stress you out, but it's highly likely that you won't be able to come up with anything useful. Nothing special comes out of forcing creativity.

    How can I be more creative everyday? ›

    Creativity in Everyday Life
    1. Make your immediate surroundings as beautiful or eccentric as you can. ...
    2. Go somewhere new-as close as a restaurant you've never tried or as far as China. ...
    3. Spend 10 minutes a day dreaming out the window.
    4. Don't censor yourself.
    5. Do something new or something old in a brand new way.

    What is the teacher's role in fostering creativity in children? ›

    It is a truism that teachers play a critical role in the development of student creativity. How teachers respond to their students' ideas, views and suggestions during lessons can be expected to have an influence on the students' subsequent effort and inclination in coming up with new ideas, views and suggestions.

    What can a teacher do to support children's creativity? ›

    Develop your students' creativity in the classroom
    • Create a compassionate, accepting environment. ...
    • Be present with students' ideas. ...
    • Encourage autonomy. ...
    • Re-word assignments to promote creative thinking. ...
    • Give students direct feedback on their creativity. ...
    • Help students know when it's appropriate to be creative.
    17 Dec 2018

    What can schools do to nurture children's creativity? ›

    To nurture creativity through social interactions, educators can: Plan activities where children work with one another and see different viewpoints. Involve youngsters in solving real world problems and ask them open-ended questions. Encourage children to come up with their own ideas, answers and interpretations.

    Why is creativity important for fostering? ›

    Importance of the Creative Process

    A child's creative activity can help teachers to learn more about what the child may be thinking or feeling. Creativity also fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

    What is creativity in the classroom? ›

    Teaching creativity introduces a variety of approaches to learning and promotes concepts, ideas, and facts as fresh insights rather than obstacles. Design thinking programs embrace the practices that allow students to think past experience and learn to discover beyond the known—in short, to create!

    How will you develop creativity in your students? ›

    Check out these 8 ways to foster creativity among your students!
    • Use prompts to get students thinking. ...
    • Add art challenges to your curriculum. ...
    • Give your students choice. ...
    • Throw a task party. ...
    • Embrace student mistakes. ...
    • Promote curiosity. ...
    • Add art traps to your classroom. ...
    • Make sure to reflect upon the creative process.
    13 Feb 2019

    What are creative activities? ›

    Creative activity is the on-going production of art forms, artistic performance, or other creative effort undertaken to explore the medium of such forms, performances, or efforts.

    What are 10 ways to be creative? ›

    10 Ways to Boost Your Creativity
    1. Step outside. And go for a walk. ...
    2. Step out of your comfort zone. ...
    3. Create psychological distance. ...
    4. Read (widely) ...
    5. Listen to music. ...
    6. Write (or draw) ...
    7. Make a healthy snack. ...
    8. Break your routine.
    2 Nov 2018

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