Why Children Should Be Creative Thinkers and How to Make It Happen

Recently I asked CSers on the Facebook page what topics they’d like to hear more on. One reader requested a post on creative thinking and fostering it in children. I thought it was a great idea!

A few days ago, the LA Times released an article on a similar topic. It described how an education system that encourages rote learning for test taking in turn smothers creativity and critical thinking skills. Imagine schools churning out children into a workforce who can’t think and create independently because they’ve been trained to memorize and go “by the book.”

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. – Albert Einstein

The thing about it is, children – and the way in which they grow and develop – are naturally creative. That’s why I’m a strong advocate of play. So why not continue to foster that?

Here are a few things you can do to ensure the thinking caps of the children and teens around you are on, and stay on:

  • Be positive in responding to their ideas and foster their self-worth. Would you tell me a great idea that you have if you knew I’d immediately bash it/you, whether with my body language or words?
  • Ask open ended questions, i.e. questions that do not have yes/no answers. You can do this anywhere and at anytime. For instance, if you have a young child and you’re out and see another young child smiling, ask your young one why they think the other child is smiling. This will encourage them to think about what is going on for that child. You can also ask off-the-wall questions like, “What do you think would happen if birds couldn’t fly?” to get them to consider why things work the way they do.
  • Similarly, for teenagers, have them appropriately question assumptions they or others have by considering and evaluating alternatives. For example, I’ve had long conversations with teenagers about their perceptions of events by asking them questions that get them to think about what has happened from all possible angles. Questions like “What do you think everyone else may have been thinking?” and “If things could have gone differently, what would have happened?”
  • Use humor and puns to keep their minds sharp. This can be done even with little ones. For instance, when I meet a young child, I always ask how old they are (because at that age, they’re proud of how old they are). I typically follow with “You’re not [age]! You must be at least [something ridiculous like 20]!” This typically gets them to laugh and figure out how to convince me that they’re really that age (“No! I’m 4! I don’t go to work, I go to school!” as one boy sassily shared).
  • Encourage creative expression through dance, acting, poetry, etc., whether you enroll your child in a class or find simple activities online.

I found a few websites that I encourage you to check out. They are listed below and contain great ideas and suggestions on this topic.

If there’s a topic you’d like to hear more about, let me know! Send an email to childspaceblog@gmail.com or connect via the CS Facebook page.

See More:
TED Talks- Tim Brown: Tales of creativity and play
Children’s Creative Development chart (Ages 0-6)
How to Promote Creative Thinking
Encourage Creativity in Young People & Adults

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Traci S. Williams-Nurse

Dr. Traci Williams-Nurse is a licensed psychologist who specialized in child, adolescent and family psychology. Her interests include child development, family functioning, video games and food. She was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
This entry was posted in Academic Performance, Art, Attention, Behavior, Communication, Development, Mental Health, Parenting, Play, Social Skills and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Why Children Should Be Creative Thinkers and How to Make It Happen

  1. Reblogged this on Life & Career Coaching with Marie Wetmore and commented:
    I love this article. Great, actionable ideas to encourage creativity in children.

    But as a life coach, I’ve got to say that we need to think about creativity in all phases of our lives. This means we adults need to support our own creativity, as well the creativity of our families.

    It’s easy to think that creativity is just for creative professionals: writers, graphic designers, artists etc. But for anyone who wants to create a life full of meaning and authentic happiness, we’re talking about a creative process.

    You have to listen to your inspiration and do your own thing.

    So how do you think you could apply these ideas, not only with with children, but also with your own life?

    PS To my regular subscribers, sorry about the blooper in yesterday’s article title. I have tendinitis in my arms, so I use voice recognition software – and sometimes a wacky mistranslation happens (and I miss it). It’s corrected now!

  2. Ms. Nine says:

    It’s man’s nature to create. Don’t confuse the learning process with the creative process. Although they intertwine, they are different.

  3. Margarita says:

    The model for teaching our children is Henry Ford’s assembly line. Cutting edge technology at the beginning of the 20th century when a good factory job was the most likely, and lucrative, future, not so much in the 21st century when it’s really all about what we are able to create for ourselves: jobs, communities, opportunities… Creativity is, and has always been, critically important. It’s also a hindrance to large corporations who rely on unimaginative, cowed work forces to make their humongous profits. Something to think about. Thanks!

  4. I recently stumbled upon Waldorf edcucation philosophy and fell compelled to implement aspects of it into our homeschooling lives because it is so creative. Singing, dancing, storytelling, learning through arts and crafts in so many ways. I feel it has opened my eyes to a new way of being a parent by giving me so many more ways to be creative with my kids.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the links! More resources the better.

  5. ZoharMorag says:

    A lovely post !
    of course rote learning smothers creativity !!

  6. Marty S. says:

    How nice to happen upon your website, Traci, and this timely post. We can’t do enough to encourage creative thinking in children. I saw that Times article myself, and I will check out your links.

    Marjorie, my partner in our company Jr Imagination, just had her article posted about kids and game play at Creativity Portal.
    http://www.creativity-portal.com/articles/marjorie-sarnat/creative-talent-comes-out-to-play.html
    She also posted about it today, as a matter of fact, on our blog. (I think you click my name and it’ll take you there.)

    @lifecoachmarie Agreed we must be creative in all phases of our lives. It’s important to kickstart creative thinking in children so they have those skills for their lifelong journey.

    @Marlene Our son goes to a Waldorf school. (He likes to call himself a Waldork.) Terrific school, with so many hands-on classes and people who care deeply about all the students growth and education.

    Traci, again, thanks for the post and now I’m going to explore your site some more.

  7. Pingback: Creative Thinking App- Jr Imagination | Child Space

  8. Mauricio says:

    What’s up, this weekend is nice designed for me, as this time i am reading this impressive educational article here at my house.

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