For most kids, being creative and imaginative is no problem. It seems to come naturally through play, exploration, and curiosity. You can probably even remember back to your own childhood and how effortless it seemed to come up with creative, fresh ideas no matter what you were doing.
However, research has discovered that children may become less creative as they get older. One study found that creativity scores from children at age 5 were 98%, while at age 10 they dropped down to 30%. Adults that were given the test came in with an average 2% creativity score.
Unfortunately, the creativity crisis seems to be getting worse. There’s a huge focus on high-stakes testing, education, and narrowing visions in our country. Parents are less likely to encourage their kids to take risks, and they’re more likely to want them to focus on school. As a result, test scores might be going up, but creativity is going down.
Without creative minds, however, kids are less likely to try new things or want to get involved in certain activities and hobbies. So, what can you do to help your kids build their creative muscles? How can you keep their creative minds alive?
Helping your kids to be more resourceful is a win-win situation. You can spark their creative process and do something good for the planet, all at once. Do you have any leftover materials around your house that could be repurposed or recycled?
Leftover pieces of wood from a project could be used to build a birdhouse or garden bed. Pieces of PVC pipe could be turned into:
- A dog/baby gate
- Industrial shelving
- A water/sand table
- A clothes drying rack
- A water cannon
Even things you find at a thrift shop or yard sale can be repurposed with a little bit of creativity. Turn it into an adventure with your kids and go “treasure hunting” for used materials or already-made items. Working on a renewal project with them will help to spark their creativity and help them see that they can accomplish anything if they’re willing to think outside the box.
You can also use repurposing as a way to inspire them to take care of the planet, and to find creative ways to do so.
Bring Science to Life
When some kids hear the word “science”, they might roll their eyes as they think about long lectures and periodic tables. But, science can be a lot of fun and useful in everyday life. By putting together some creative experiments at home, you can get your children to use their imaginations while educating them on how/why things work the way they do. Even more, you might spark an interest in STEM education at an early age, which can encourage more exploration down the road.
You don’t even have to be a scientist, yourself, in order to try some creative experiments. In fact, you could even find ways to show how science can be used in everyday situations.
For example, consider having your children help you with creating homemade cleaning solutions. This is another way to benefit the planet, of course, but it will also teach them about different substances, what they’re made of, and why they work in a cleaning formula. Something as simple as mixing vinegar and water together can be an effective cleaning tool, so use it as a way to teach your kids about the acidic properties of vinegar and why it’s strong enough to kill bacteria but harmless to the people living in the home where it’s used.
There’s always the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment, too! It’s a fantastic way to teach your children about chemical reactions while creating a “volcano” in your house.
Turn Creativity Into a Habit
There’s no reason you can’t foster creativity in your kids every day by instilling imaginative habits. The benefits of raising creative kids are endless, but they include things like:
- They’ll have greater self-esteem and confidence.
- They’re more likely to be optimistic.
- They will see things from multiple perspectives.
- They will learn how to overcome challenges through problem-solving.
Thankfully, developing habits that foster creativity is easier than you might think. Do you read to your children every night? That’s a great start! Reading is a fantastic way to get your children’s imagination going, so you should encourage them to read on their own as much as possible, in addition to making “story time” part of your regular routine.
Additionally, show interest in what they’re doing. If they’re building with blocks, coloring, or they’re outside making up a game, encourage them with your curiosity. Let them be kids, and be an example of a creative adult, so they know they’ll never have to let go of their imagination. Make time to play with them and experience things with them. It’s even okay to let them go through failures and hardships. It’s all part of the creative process.
When these habits become “the norm” in your household, you won’t have to focus so much on specific ways to spark creativity. Instead, you can encourage it in your children on a daily basis, just by letting them be who they are.
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.