Creativity. That is something in very high demand today. All employers want creative employees, all modern problems need creative solutions, all machine makers need engineers who can develop creative designs and all parents want their children to be creative. What is it, that makes creativity so important today? Why has ordinary or being normal become stale? Why does everyone fear that they will too, become mediocre? Why are the youth and children today regarded as the sunshine of tomorrow? All this chaos and the answer for everything lies in creativity. So what is this creativity that everyone is talking about?
Creativity And imagination
- Creativity is the ability to think and act in a way that is different than the usual. It is the capability to see and perceive things in new ways and then act on it. Google, describes creativity as a phenomenon to use imagination and original ideas and use them to create something extraordinary.
- But, what is imagination and how does it act as a stepping stone to being creative? Imagination is the ability of a human mind to think things that are generally not tangible and do not exist in reality. The human mind is a powerhouse. It has the capability to go to places, feel experiences, think of the most bizarre and out-of-the-box things by just staying inside the brain and when you decide to act upon these ideas you become creative.
- If you have ideas but you don’t act up on them you are just imaginative and not creative. That is why you need imagination to produce creativity. You need to take actions to let your mind speak.
- Children are like small little buds. Just like how buds need a little sunshine, water and a long resting period to bloom into beautiful and colourful flowers our children need love, empathy, a mutual understanding and a lot of space to become the best versions of themselves. Creativity in children is a means of self-expression for them. As they do not talk a lot, their creativity is reflected in the things they do, the way the do it and how they perceive a set of things. It is their escape, their safe space where they go to learn about the environment about them, feel their emotions and comprehend things in their own way. It is a source of self-exploration for children as they are freely able to express their side of sentiments.
- Creativity in a child is not the end product but the whole process. The way your child reacts in a particular situation, the words he uses to communicate, the drawings he makes or the paintings she does, the strokes, choice of colours and so much more is a reflection of his imagination and when he brings that imagination to you in any form, that is his creativity.
- Every child is different. Every child has his own individuality and hence every child has their own take on things. We as parents want the best for our children. We enrol them into the best schools, bring them the most qualified products, put them in a hundred camps and classes for handwriting, speech, swimming and the list keeps running. We expect them to make a life for them that is perfect and they are settled in it in the far distant future, but in all this competition that the world is running in we forget to embrace the child.
- It is said that a kid, when is small and young is super imaginative and explorative but when he grows old he has to compromise because dreams do not pay bills. We want our kids to be different and stand out in the crowd but how will that happen if all we want for him is to settle in his life and not live a life by his choice.
- That’s when you need to empathize with your child. Not fear about their future but help them mould their present so beautifully that their future bears fruits of happiness. You need to empathize with your child if you really want him to a showstopper, because only imagination is not suffice for building creative minds. When you empathize with your child you stetch yourself into their thought process and try to understand how they are feeling .
- And in creativity you stretch yourself into imagination to try and feel how the other side of a certain thing could be. So, you need to empathize with your child for him to bring out his absolute best self. In a judgement free zone with a lot of space for him to manifest his ideas and thoughts and feelings.
- As stated earlier, it is a process and you being a parent play an important role in it. You don’t have to stick to the societal norms of age based activities for a child. You know the best for your children and quite proudly should embrace them in all their creativity.
- Children need opportunities to express their creativity. It can be in activities as simple as drawing or painting or into something more complex like building a pillow fort and playing a game out of it.
- You need to think of ways to get your children slowly and steadily out of their comfort zone and open them to a treasure of opportunities. Offer them a variety of art supplies, outdoor experiences, indoor experiences and the slightest of things that you think will keep your child engaged.
Here are some ways by which you can help your child to develop their creative skills
This is the easiest and simplest, but a very effective tool to enhance the creative side of a child. You have an abundant number of activities that you can do with paints, crayons, paper, glue, glitter and so on. You can ask you, child, to make new paints by mixing two or three paints and just wait for them to start the artwork, you can try colouring to the music beats, vegetables to make patterns and use of their body parts to make different designs and so much more. Or you can just give them the supplies and watch what they do. Splash in paints, scribbling , drawing it will just be a delight to watch.
This technique is as easy as pie. Just listen to your child. When he is telling you about something when he is mumbling by himself, when he is singing in the shower or when he is just talking with his toys and giving them a voice. Observe his tone, his level of excitement about particular things, his laughs and his cries. Listen to him when he is telling you his dreams or his mind cooked stories cause it is all what he imagined and do not try to make changes in his story because it belongs to him. He just wants you to know so that it is appreciated and somewhere might want you to be a part of it.
This activity makes me so happy. It is so much fun and light and filled with enthusiasm. If my parents did this with me back in my days, Oh, I would have been an excellent actress today. Do pretend play with your child. Allow him to pick his favourite story and then assign a role amongst yourself according to the characters in the book. You can have a little fun here by leaving the character allocation in the fate of tiny chits so your child doesn’t get to be the hero all the time and you end up being the villain. You can then dress up like the characters and start enacting the story. Try imitating the sounds of the characters in the book and walk or talk like them. Observe how your child participated here with any role that he got. Try recording this and then watch it together later. It will make both of you so happy.
What a flow of incessant knowledge and a plethora of ideas. It gets your child thinking, be it the simplest of their books. Invest in good quality books. Although a lot of books today come with a lot of visuals it still gets your child’s brain to kickstart the thinking process. He starts to imagine a series of things which takes him from one place to another. He starts to put himself in some situations mentioned in the story and brood over how he would have done things differently. Books are so important because no matter how old they are, they never go out of fashion.
Celebrate all the possible festivals you can. Try to engage your children with different ethnic groups so that they learn about the diversity in cultures, languages, traditions and ethics. Try demonstrating the festivals and emphasizing the importance of celebrating them. For instance, on Diwali you light up candles and lights. Make your children do that with you and then teach them the significance of doing it. If your child has friends from different ethnic groups you can make them celebrate festivals with each other. Get all colourful in Holi, light up the tree for Christmas, and hoist the flag for Independence. Introduce them to their native and regional languages as a part of their cultural upbringining
It is probably the greatest teacher of all. Try taking your children outdoors for how much ever you can. Let them observe the tranquillity of it. The sounds it whispers, the energy it transfers, the colours it holds and the phenomena of it. Teach them about seasons by the pattern of leaves on trees, the day and night , the clouds and grass. Nature alone has the capability to enlighten your child and make him dive into oceans of imagination.
When you are indoors try coming with small challenges and games for your children. For example, you can build pillow forts and ask your child to come out without moving or dropping anything. See how they figure their way out. You can try giving them a thing like a single ball of clay and ask them to mould it into ten different things. All these activities help you to analyse their thought process.
Being creative means being able to think and act different. In today’s world, it is called being themselves. Every individual is different and if you simply own up to your loving beautiful self you are already different. As parents, we obviously want to see our children with the finest of everything. But we have to let them do that in their own independence cause restrictions and creativity never make a good pair.
Do not restrict your child to conventionalities because they are beyond that. Don’t limit them to a certain gender, religion, caste or ethic, because there’s when limitedness begins. It limits their thinking because they start to believe that anything beyond a certain point is unacceptable. Give them the courage to do it their way. This is the reason why the youth and children of today are the builders of a better tomorrow. They have the courage of owning up and expressing themselves for who they are and what they stand for. This does not mean you support their capricious behaviour because there is a difference in being disciplined and creative and in being unruly and notorious. So let’s hope for the best for our children and celebrate them in all their flaws, imperfections and innocence cause that’s where their creativity lies.