When my little nieces came along, there was one thing I found myself wanting for them…the ability to embrace creativity.
As a lifelong creative thinker and passionate designer, I can honestly say that creativity has "saved" me on multiple occasions and allowed me to see the world. Right back in fifth grade, I remember kids coming to me and asking me to graffiti their books, give pen tattoos or fold paper panes which soon evolved and after senior year I had begun teaching kids art classes once a week for a private provider. Looking back on my creative developments and reassessing where kids are at today, I strongly believe that creative education is just as important as English, maths, and history (which all can work hand in hand)
Watching my little nieces pick up the paintbrush instead of a PlayStation and turning to the sky instead of the screen is honestly, the most warming thing to see. I have always had a strong desire to be a mother myself but as my life passes me by, I have come to the realization that that may not happen which makes me even more passionate about fostering creativity within the kids closest to me. In today's society, it is easy for the word "creativity" to be attached to only those who have artistic endeavors but let's shift that sterotype and cultivate creativity in all.
So why is creativity important in kids? and why do I think (as a creative professional) creative thinking helps with personal development even more so than mental development.
- Encourages a child to embrace the natural world and interact with the environment
- Allows for expression of emotions, thoughts, dreams, and aspirations (without even realizing)
- Helps to tap into their likes, dislikes, preferences, interests, and problems
- Teaches them to express ideas whilst being resourceful and requiring minimal "technology"
- Helps to foster environmental awareness
- Positive outlet to emotions
- Fosters teamwork and collaboration
- It turns "problem" solving into more "process" solving which is important in any profession
- Foster's curiosity and helps them reflect
- Emotional Development and expression
- Social engagement and interactions
- I could keep going!! But I hope these touch the surface
OK so let's say you would like to encourage your child to think more "creatively" Below are a few tips to get you started
- Make your home a creative haven! Dedicate a small space in your home to creative activities and allow it to be a place they can go to express their ideas. Make this space exciting, vibrant and positive
- Prepare ahead - get your kids keen about a creative activity by starting to discuss it a week ahead and encourage them to start collecting resources such as egg cartons or leaves and sticks
- Celebrate all things creative! Pop posters in their rooms that are creative and fun and let them know that they too could make their own posters. Take the kids to the free workshops that community organizations hosts (bunnings put on some awesome kids workshops!)
- Hold back from saying "no" when it comes to making things because its "messy". Find a way to use different materials, find an outdoor space or even embrace the messiness and then make clean up an important part of the process
- Try to stop rewarding or encouraging the final "achievement" and focus more closely on the process itself and make it all about the creative journey
- Make or put together a creative chest or toolbox for their birthday! A box that hosts all of their own creative pieces. This will make them proud to have their own tools and also encourage them to look after their equipment
- Give them a space to pot a plant or grow a garden and while you are outdoors watering, encourage them to look at nature and draw inspiration. While you are at it... also emphasize the importance of growth! If you water something, nurture it and be patient then it will grow (just like creativity)
- Get them to create scavenger hunts with a hand-drawn map (this will help them bridge the gap between reality and creativity whilst showing them that a message can be communicated visually)
- Get them to make a "robot" or "contraption" that helps with a certain task, chore or problem that needs to be solved. For instance, constructing themselves their own treasure chest to collect important things or for older children perhaps make their own money box to help them save a little bit of pocket money.
- Embrace "touch" and s"smell" by bringing attention to everyday items or things (this will get them asking "why" it feels or smells like it does and also teach them that feeling is an important part of creativity and emotional connection + response + memory) how does it make them feel? scared? hungry?comfortable?
Now they are just a few to get you started! Now here are a few things you can have handy
- Waterbased paints
- Their own art easel or table (let them sticker bomb it)
- Apron (get them to pain their own apron with fabric paint)
- Cardboard (recycle from food packaging)
- Stamps and stickers
- Recycled household items (collect with them all the time)
- Masking tape (soft types)
- Pencils (with sharper to show them it's important to keep tools in good shape)
- Sponges (cheap from the household section at the supermarket)
- Playdoh (make it with them!)
- Fabric, wool, felt
- Newspaper + homemade glue for paper mache
- Their own scrapbook or journal (let them make a cool cover)
- Coloring pages and books for inspiration
- Gardening gloves
Happy Creating ❤️ Ebb xx