Are you raising up a young novelist, poet, biographer, painter, dancer, actor, musician, thinker, programmer, scientist or tinkerer? All of our children have creative capacity, and all fields of knowledge require creativity. But are we helping our children’s creativity to flourish in our homes and in our homeschools? Certainly, this should be a goal.
Here are some great tips to help spark creativity in your child.
Allow for Boredom
“Mom, I’m bored!” How often do parents hear this? The good news is that you don’t have to fight boredom. Boredom promotes creativity. The typical child being raised in America today has a schedule packed with school, activities, sports, and lessons. There’s hardly a minute in the day for dreaming and thinking. If there is no down time, the mind cannot wander. The mind cannot wonder. If every minute is filled, there is no margin for creative sparks to ignite. Boredom forces kids to get creative. Boredom is fertile ground.
Carefully Select "Screen Time” Activities
How many big ideas were hatched when mindlessly scrolling through social media? Or playing a video game? Or watching Netflix? Maybe some, but probably not many. Screen time may be a salve for the boredom problem. But, much of the time, it does not promote creativity. This is not to say that all forms of technology are bad for creativity. Your young child may want to write a play, and he may feel this play is more real if it is typed on a Chromebook. If so, that’s great. The point is that parents should carefully discern which screen-related activities will engage children in creative thinking and creative expression. Encourage the activities that do, minimize those that do not.
Listen to Music
Did you know that Walt Whitman wrote “Leaves of Grass” while he listened to opera? Music can open children’s minds to creative thinking. Many studies have linked music to academic success. And many high achievers and creatives have testified that music, especially musical training, can also help with collaboration, listening skills, problem solving, and connecting ideas.
There’s a saying that inspiration is for amateurs. Creatives show up and get to work. The point here is that lightening won’t just strike your kids with creative inspiration. Children have to be creative on purpose. To be creative on purpose, you have to schedule time for it. You have to set goals. Set a number of words to write every day. Schedule an hour where you’ll draw or sketch or tinker or work on handicrafts. Creativity happens when you are dedicated to it and make time for it.
Keep your eyes and ears open for your children’s passions. When they ask you to help make creative expression possible, say yes. (So long as it’s within reason). If your daughter wants to decorate cupcakes or experiment with baking recipes, say yes. If your son wants you to take him on a photography expedition, say yes. If your child needs help printing and binding a piece they’ve written, say yes. Also, make sure that you are helping them to follow their own passions. If you want your kids to be original, let them pursue their own creative outlets.
Need some help in the creativity department? Our new writing curriculum, Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers, helps you cultivate the habits of some of the world's most creative leaders, writers, thinkers, and citizens.