Practical Tips For Teaching Kids to be More Creative
Teaching kids to be creative is about more than just encouraging them to imagine things. It's about helping them understand the processes and techniques behind creativity, as well as providing them with the tools they need to explore those concepts. Whether you're an educator or simply a parent who wants your child to have a wide variety of opportunities in life, there are plenty of ways that you can help your child develop their creativity. Here are some tips on how you can teach your children to be more creative:
Teach them to question everything
Begin by teaching kids to question everything. They need to learn that there are no absolute truths and that everything is subject to change. For example, the idea that gravity pulls down has been disproven; it's the Earth's rotation pushing things down. Before you know it, they'll be questioning whether or not Santa Claus is real!
Next up: encourage your child to ask questions about anything and everything. This can be done by playing games like 20 Questions or Pictionary (drawing), where they draw an object as best they can while someone else guesses what it is based on their description alone. The more questions they ask during this game, the better!
Show them that creativity can be fun
By showing your child that creativity is something they can enjoy outside of school, you'll convince them that it's worth trying to develop those skills—and once they start to see the benefits of being creative, they'll want to continue doing so on their own. This can be as simple as letting your child use your computer or tablet to play games he enjoys (Minecraft and Terraria are two popular options). If you're not comfortable with this or don't have a tech-savvy child in your house, consider taking him somewhere like an art museum or theater performance. The point isn't necessary for him to appreciate these new things about himself; it's for him to see that his interests aren't just limited by what he's been told is appropriate at school.
Make their work your work
Show your kids that you are interested in their work.
- Let them know that you are listening and want to hear what they have to say.
- Ask them for their input on things that involve their projects or ideas.
- Encourage them to share their work with you, even if it’s unfinished or just a rough draft.
Encourage creative thinking by being supportive of your children's ideas rather than shutting them down before they can even get started! Don't criticize or offer criticism unless asked for it—make sure your child understands how much fun it is when adults get excited about something!
Give them time and space
Think about it: Have you ever seen a creative person in a hurry? No, they're usually sitting on their couch and staring at the wall. They're not rushing through their work; they're taking time to think and consider what's best for their project. That's why even though we hear "think outside the box" all the time, it doesn't make sense until we have time to do so.
So if you want your kids to be more creative, give them space where they can think (and take risks). That might mean letting them sit alone in another room while you work from home or letting them go outside during playtime without constant supervision.
Be a good role model
Your children are watching you, so they should see you being creative in your everyday life. Share your creative work with them. Letting your kids know that you're an artist of some sort and sharing the fruits of your labor will help them identify with it more, which can make them want to explore their creativity even more deeply.
Keep the distraction to a minimum
Your child's brain is like a sponge and it absorbs everything around them, including the things you don't want them to absorb. Set a timer or create a distraction-free zone in your home and at work, so that they can zone in on their projects without being interrupted by notifications coming through their phone or computer screen. If you have kids who are old enough to be online, make sure that they know how important it is not to check social media accounts during homework time. Make sure they understand that if they're ever tempted by something on social media while working on an assignment, they should put down their phone/laptop and get back to work!
Encourage them to embrace failure
It's important to emphasize that failure is a natural part of the creative process. Kids should know that they are going to make mistakes along the way. Instead of discouraging them from trying, encourage them to keep at it! Failure can actually be a good thing—it helps us learn more about what works and what doesn't work for us.
Encourage your child by letting them know that you have faith in their abilities and believe in their potential as an artist or musician or writer, etc. It's also a good idea for parents to model this behavior for their children by talking about times when they've failed at something but still kept on trying until they got it right (or close enough!).
Creativity is more important than ever in today's digital world
Get them interested in photography. If your child has an interest in photography, consider showing them how to edit the photos they take on their phone or camera. You can use apps like Instagram to give your images or GIFs a different look or add effects such as filters or stickers.
Show them how to use social media effectively. While social media is often criticized for being too distracting, it can also be used as a tool for creativity. Teach your child how to create interesting posts or memes that will catch people's attention and encourage them to comment on what they've posted.
Ask your child what type of video game he wants to play next, then let him try something new for a change! If he wants something more relaxed than his usual shooter game, try a puzzle game instead.
There’s no single magic bullet, but all the strategies we’ve looked at in this post can help us raise more creative kids. The most important thing, though, is to try them out and see what works for you. Creativity doesn’t come easy for everyone—but it does come naturally when we give people time and space to explore, encourage healthy exploration through failure or fun activities, model creative thinking ourselves as parents and teachers, give children opportunities to express themselves creatively every day...and so on. When we keep these tips in mind as a family or classroom community, they will help children develop the skills they need to thrive in this increasingly digital world!