There are tons of ways we can do this, but I’m going to take us back to three words that I mentioned when we were discussing hindering creativity: explore, experiment and play. These three words should be our guide when it comes to promoting creativity and creative thinking.
Firstly, let’s explore the more popular ways of fostering creativity. When creativity is discussed it is often linked to the arts, to activities like painting, drawing, sculpture making, or drama and music. These are all great ways to encourage self-expression. We can foster this in our home by having the relevant materials on hand and in reach of our children. Encourage art work rather than television watching. Display their art work on the fridge or in our child’s room. Encourage them to create things for family members and friends.
But how about promoting creativity without actually using things? It’s important to note that although there are lots of great toys and activities that can be purchased to promote and encourage creativity, you probably have many things around your house that can be used ; you do not actually need things to promote creative thinking skills.
Start by encouraging your child to use their imagination with everyday tasks. Ask them questions that spark this part of their brain. You might ask them questions similar to ‘what might happen if….or if not’, ‘an you imagine…, Do you know how we could do this in a better way? These questions can be brought into many of your daily activities with your children. For example, when baking muffins, you may ask what would happen if we put in more flour or more milk? Can you imagine what would happen if we put rice into these muffins? Do you know we could make these taste better?….oh yes, raisins. Would you like to add some raisins?
Next, try and have your child generate more ideas. When making a project, ask questions such as how else might we do this? Ask them for reasons why things are the way they are? Have them list or tell you ten things that you can do with a certain object, story or shape.
Along the same lines as generating more ideas, try encouraging your child to expand on what they already know. Ex. What might we add, what might we change, what might we do another way?
After expanding on and generating more ideas, add some judgment of tasks. Add a reflective period. When your child has completed a task or solved a problem, challenge them to think about how they did it and if they would do it the same way in the future. For example, what is good, what could be improved, what is interesting about that…what should or could we do next time?
These are some ideas to get you going with your older children on promoting creativity. However, I’m sure if you spend some time to observe your children, especially when they do not know you are watching, they may already be oozing creativity! A child with a box of crayons and a big piece of paper is likely to let their imagination run wild. The same is likely to be found with a set of Mega blocks or Lego. Challenging your child with such questions will promote creativity and practice important skills that are crucial to their personal and academic development.