Look at any job description these days and you're almost certain to see 'Creative thinking' listed as being one of the top requirements on the seemingly long list of qualities expected. The ability to convert new and imaginative ideas into reality seems to be a crucial factor in business success today. In this post, we're going to delve deeper into something which is close to my heart – how you can nurture your child's creativity and why it's so important that you do so.
Why Is Creativity So Important?
Well, creativity fuels innovative thinking and problem-solving. Creativity is skill building and fosters mental growth at any age. Creative people are achievers, they will always find a way around that brick wall and will see possibilities at every turn. Ingenuity leads to successes whatever the profession. It's no surprise then, that these 'creatives' are in such demand in the working world.
It's especially important for children to try out new ideas and new ways of thinking and problem-solving. We as parents should be providing our children with opportunities to explore and use their imagination to come up with new ideas and to not only think outside of the box but to invent new ideas for using that box.
Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Children who are encouraged to try out creative activities will also develop attention skills. The ability to sit and work on a project for some time without becoming distracted will become more important as soon as they start attending school or kindergarten for instance.
Creative hands, Creative minds
How your child's creativity aids their development
Develops fine motor skills
Cutting with scissors, holding a paintbrush and glueing are fantastic ways of schooling fine motor skills and dexterity.
They need to plan out a project, choose their materials and maybe even make a special trip to the shops to buy them. They may have to choose a colour-scheme and decide how they want the finished result to look.
How should the finished project look? This also teaches children to follow instructions. By following a simple set of steps, in the correct order, they will complete their craft and therefore their goal. Crafting also teaches your child what the consequences will be if they don’t follow the steps and why they should do things in the correct order first time around. An important life lesson.
I remember a project each of my boys was given in their third year of primary school. They had to write up a set of instructions for a recipe or craft project. The Ingredients/tools had to be listed in order of use and the method/instructions had to be set out in the correct order for getting the job done. This kind of activity teaches children how to communicate projects in a logical manner so that others will be able to understand and follow the instructions themselves.
Which colours, which materials, will be used
Children who are encouraged to think creatively have higher self-esteem and motivation. In choosing materials and colour schemes they will become confident about decision making. Even if they want to make something unconventional, let them do it, it will encourage unconventional thinking.
[click_to_tweet tweet="If anything kills a creative spirit it's the idea of not being good enough! #nurturingcreativity #creativekids #howtonurturecreativityinyourkids" quote="If anything kills a creative spirit it's the idea of not being good enough! "]
It's important for children to create in their own way at their own pace. At our local Kindergarten, parents were often invited to come and help out each time a big crafting project was on the cards at Christmas or Easter for instance. During these crafting sessions, I noticed that there were parents who encouraged their child's creativity and those who stifled it. The parents who encouraged, (of which I was one) did it by doing very little themselves. They were there only for support and to help if help was asked for. On the other hand, there were the 'competitive' parents. These parents wanted everything to look perfect (in their eyes). They took over almost every aspect of the craft often undoing and re-doing the parts which had already been 'finished' by their children!
If anything kills a creative spirit it's the idea of not being good enough! So I say to you now, embrace that wonky Easter basket, and hang that purple lion with pride. Display your child's artwork and make them feel proud!
Creative thinking and problem solving
Your child wants to make this amazing project but you don't have the exact materials needed. How else could they make it? Are there alternative materials which could be substituted? Never tell your child something is not possible. Let them find out for themselves what will work and what will not - in other words, let them try. Who knows, they may come up with a solution you hadn't even thought about!
Learning about colour
Learning about the colour wheel and seeing which colours complement each other or provide contrast. Every set of coloured pencils or pens is displayed in order of colour. All the shades of blue together followed by all the reds etc. Your child will learn that colours come in a myriad of hues.
Creates Positive learning experiences
Your child will acquire information and knowledge, without even realising they are learning. I remember an instance when my mother-in-law and her sister were telling us about an exhibition they had recently visited where the works of a famous German artist were on show for a short period of time. My son, who was five at the time, surprised us all by chipping in with all sorts of information about the artist in question. You see, my son had been attending an arts and crafts class for preschoolers in our village. Unbeknown to us, during the classes, the teacher would tell the children stories about the life of whichever artist they happened to be basing the lessons that month. When we told her what had happened, the teacher was pleasantly surprised. She said that although the children said they enjoyed hearing her 'tales', she thought they forgot them the minute they walked out the door – how wrong she was!
Talking about the craft with your child will extend their vocabulary and they will be able to explain their activities to others.
Teaches simple math (younger children)
Counting out the items need for a project to make sure everything is there or counting out how many colours etc. are needed to complete the picture.
Creates a special bonding experience
Whilst you are crafting, your child has your full attention and sees that you enjoy crafting too. You also get to spend some fun one on one time together.
Coping with feelings
Creative experiences can help children express and cope with their feelings. If your child is troubled about something, they are more likely to talk about it during these 'quiet times' together. If this is encouraged, your child will develop a positive outlook on life because they won't feel the need to repress or hide their emotions.
Did the project turn out as expected? If not how could they do it differently to achieve the desired result? Evaluating their project shows them that improvement is possible. As they practice and become better, it will give their confidence a boost to compare their present and earlier projects and see how much they have improved.
Keeps the brain active
Creativity and crafting gets the brainwaves moving and keeps children mentally active, even if they aren't being physically active. Try to keep some activities in mind which you can use as 'rainy day' activities or which will prevent your child from becoming bored when they have to stay at home e.g. when recovering from illness.
As you can see, 'learning by doing' teaches your child some extremely important skills and life lessons without them even knowing it.
What if my child isn't creative?
Small children are naturally curious about the world around them. The trick is, to find an activity in which you know they are already interested and develop it from there over time. With the right kinds of learning opportunities, anyone can be creative. To start with, you could let your child collect pictures of their favourite things from magazines or newspapers which can then be cut out with scissors and glued onto an A3 sheet of cardstock to make a collage.
A few basic materials are all you need to start with so crafting doesn't have to be expensive at all. Here's my suggestion for must have crafting tools, to begin with.
Drawing pad and/or colouring books or Mandalas
Of course, there are many items which could be added to this list all of which would make wonderful Birthday gifts or stocking fillers at Christmastime. These days you can find creative sets for all sorts of crafts including, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, metal and woodworking, drawing, designing, painting and many, many more.
[click_to_tweet tweet="Children can be inspired by the creative experiences of others so be an inspiration to your child! https://chalkingupsuccess.com/i94i #nurturingcreativity #creativekids #howtonurturecreativityinyourkids" quote="Children can be inspired by the creative experiences of others so be an inspiration to your child!"]
Now you know how crafting can make learning fun for your child, off you go to find out about activities you can do together which can help your child to grow intelligent and smart. Remember, children can be inspired by the creative experiences of others so be an inspiration to your child!
NOTE: During the time it's taken me to write this post, I've watched my eldest son, plan out a project, source and buy the necessary materials, make a template, use power tools to cut a pattern into the wood, make a cover with foam padding and imitation leather and fit the project into his beloved VW camper van (He's been reconstructing a door panel). Yes, he made some mistakes. No, his project is not 100% perfect. He's shown me the imperfections and explained his ideas as to how he will be able to improve them. He is living proof of everything I've talked about in this post – and to think it all started with a wonky Easter basket;)
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