We are always emphasizing the creativity of children. The process of creativity is what will produce great designers and the next great architect! Unfortunately, every child has not participated in one of our charrettes, and we are feverishly working on a strategic plan to make that happen. In the meantime, we have compiled five ways you can encourage the creativity of your child at home.
- Give them the space to create.
Nothing says, “I support your creativity,” more than providing a space to create. Space could be a physical area or a time of day. In a perfect situation, you could carve out a designated area for the child to create. This could be as grand as a studio or as intimate as a corner in their bedroom. Setting aside a time for creating in a temporary space is just as fun. Family movie night could double as picnic style creativity. Snack preparation could possibility cook up any child’s imagination. The options are endless. Use your creativity to create a space for their creativity!
- Respect their creativity.
Nothing kills creativity faster than other people. The creativity of children (or anyone else for that matter) is theirs. It is not going to look like someone else’s, nor is it supposed to. Respect their thoughts and creative process. There is no wrong way to create. On November 12, 2018, we published a chronicle post entitled, 3 Ways Adults Kill the Creativity of Children. Take a look at that post to see what NOT to do regarding a child’s creativity.
- Ask questions that prompt deep thought.
Check in during their process and ask questions. These questions should be thought provoking and promoting further problem solving. Be sure not to use questions that influence a certain direction. For example, if the child is designing a clubhouse for their favorite super hero, you could ask, “What types of things will your superhero need to do in his/her clubhouse?” Do not ask, “Aren’t you going to have a kitchen in the clubhouse?” See the difference?
- Expand everyday items and activities.
Let me warn you. This will require some patience on your part. Once you open this door, it is a high possibility that the flood gates of creativity will flow heavily. Another aspect of creativity is to see beyond what is visible. Show the child how to see beyond an initial purpose for an item. A shoe box can become a house for small action figures. An old sock can become a dress for a Barbie doll. If you have a child that seems to not have any interest in creating, have them engage in creativity through something they already enjoy. The child that is obsessed with sports might be interested in designing a sports arena. The child that is consumed with video games may want to create their own video game, and they could start with creating the characters, designing the setting and eventually coding the game.
- Have them tell you about what they created.
Listening to children explain their creations, not only reinforces your support of their creativity, but it also strengthens their confidence and public speaking skills. Encourage this as much as the creative process. The ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas with self-confidence is a characteristic that will be beneficial to them beyond their creativity.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is definitely a great commencement to nurture and encourage creativity at home.