Let them learn, indulge their hobbies, connect them with Nature and watch how imagination can take over their lives. It’s a beautiful sight!
As a parent, our primary goal is keeping our children healthy and safe, teaching them basic literacy, numerical skills, discipline and manners, and give them insight on our cultural and religious practices. But how many of us believe in developing our child’s artistic learning and encourage them to think in a more challenging and creative manner? In short, how many of us let imagination lead the way?
Many of us assume that creativity is an inborn talent and either your child is born with or without it. In fact creativity is not about doing something better than others; it is about thinking, exploring, discovering and imagining. In children, creativity develops from their experiences with the process, they are least concerned about the finished product. It is not just found in — art, drama, dance and music, but also in science and play. We can help and encourage our children to keep on generating new ideas that foster their creative thinking abilities in their day to day life.
I would like to share some of my real and raw experiences as a mother bringing up two highly creative children who believe in the world of imagination where anything is possible and everything has a little bit of magic. Kindly note practicing creativity is a messy affair & you have to let go of discipline and order at times.
Here are a few things we do, and I have to thank my kids, who have been giving me clues and hints at every stage of development.
1. Read / narrate a story
Read books or narrate an impromptu story that stimulate children’s ability to enter into the adventures of others and recreate scenarios. I have noticed that they relate their personal problems to the characters in the story and come up with solutions to tackle them. Bedtime is the best time to let your imagination go wild, and it’s not necessary the story ends the same way everyday. We can also animate the voices, bring in new characters, build new plots, solve maths, invent something, explore the world and many more things in the same story.
2. Encourage their ideas
No idea is big or small, funny or silly. If your child comes up with an idea of making an aircraft out of paper, believe in them. My son has a toy aeroplane and one day he said he will make a similar one in paper. I didn’t doubt for a second, let him try it out. The way he was going about it, i thought he is working on a 2-D model but i was in for a surprise. After sitting for 3 hours he came up with a 3 –D model of the aeroplane.
3. Give them choices
Rather than telling them to do something I always give them a choice. Right from what they eat, what they wear, what they want to do, etc. Reluctance is low.
4. Play and laugh
Sit down and play with them, laugh out loud at their silly jokes.
5. Pretend play
So what if your child wants to be a superhero on a Sunday, an architect or a farmer on any other day? Try incorporating small lessons in each role they take on. Explain how a farmer works, his role in society, his lifestyle, his tools, etc.
6. Let them help with household chores
My kids have developed a liking towards cooking by just helping me out in the kitchen. It started with shelling of green peas at the age of 2 but today my son can easily cook a dish and oh Boy! He is so creative and bold in his use of ingredients and always invents his own dish.
7. Exposure to different places, settings and experiencing the unusual
Travel with your kids, take them to different places like gardens, farms, zoos, restaurants, lakes, hill stations, beaches, treks, etc. Experiencing different settings will only broaden their knowledge and open their imagination.
8. Let them get bored
At times boredom can make you inventive, we need not provide them with a continuous stimuli with toys, activities and more.
9. Random things to play
For now, my kids find random things more interesting and stimulating than the toys. Packaging material, old newspapers, pebbles and rocks, ropes, buckets, the list is endless.
10. Indulge their interest
Encourage them and provide them with the requirements to indulge in their interests. I believe a child and his imagination can do wonders when he is allowed to indulge in his passion. It could be as simple as drawing or colouring.
11. Limit time on TV and other gadgets
These things can easily take over our lives so be over cautious in exposing your child to TV, iPads, phones, play stations. Let them experience more reality than virtual reality.
12. Time with Nature
There is no teacher like Mother Earth. Let your child spend some time with Nature; there is a lot to observe and learn.
By exposing children to creative experiences, we give them the gift of a rich and memorable childhood while laying the foundation for a lifetime of creative expression – at the same time they are learning important life skills.
As quoted by Sir Albert Einstein – “Creativity is intelligence having fun”