Inspiring creativity in kids is important to help them grow to be innovative problem solvers and critical thinkers. But it can’t just be taught. You can’t just say, “Okay… it’s time to be creative.”
“The most powerful way to develop creativity in your students is to be a role model. Children develop creativity not when you tell them to, but when you show them.” Robert J. Sternberg in How to Develop Student Creativity
Instead, creativity, inventiveness, and creative problem solving needs to be fostered and encouraged. As parents, we have such an opportunity – our kids are with us – and we can inspire creativity in so many different ways.
Inspiring Creativity with Books
Curling up with a great book is always inspiring, but parents can be intentional about it when trying to foster creativity.
- Choose books about inspiring people. We love the Who Was biography series because the style is inviting and appealing. That series alone has inspired lots of interests in my kids – including encouraging them to choose biographies of great people when we head to the library.
- Share books of inventions like Mistakes that Worked, Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, and An Illustrated Timeline of Inventions and Inventors. Talk about the creativity and inventiveness needed to see things differently and create those things.
Inspiring Creativity in Daily Life
Often, parents think creativity is linked solely to artistic skills, but it’s not. Think about it – creativity is also about being able to look at a problem, research ideas, and develop solutions. Daily life is full of opportunities to problem solve, but think how many times we opt for the quick and easy solution instead to save time.
Parenting can just be so tiring. It’s easier to do things for our kids, or to tell them to stop asking questions. But we need to rethink that. We need to set up our kids for success.
Create situations specifically designed to tap into your kiddo’s creativity.
Silly questions, and ones that make kids think creatively or in a unique way can make all those questions kids ask during the day a fun past time instead. Consider asking your kids questions like these:
- Why don’t we say that we “got pantsed” when we put on our pants in the morning instead of saying we “got dressed?”
- Do you think dogs dream? What do they dream about?
Sound fun? My kids and students have loved questions like these for years, and they lead to really silly conversations.
Set up Play Prompts
Most parents have given their children cardboard boxes and let them turn them into caves and houses. Now, take it a bit further. Give your child a cardboard box and tell him to turn it into an ambulance.
Then, chat about what’s happening. Lead him in play with that ambulance. What’s happening? What is the emergency? Who needs help?
The possibility for play prompts is endless… and once you set up a few, and work through them with your child, facilitating creative problem solving, he’ll be more apt to grab random items and get creative on his own.
Use Helpful Resources
Need help coming up with ideas for inspiring creativity in your kids this summer? There are lots of resources around to help you. Raising Creative Kids: A Collection of Simple Creativity Prompts for Children is a great one to start with.
The eBook is an instant download, so you can get started and be creative with your kids right away. Chock full of more than 70 pages of play prompts, creative questions, and silly celebrations, you and your kids will have a seemingly endless supply of creativity ideas at your fingertips.
Now is the time to be inspiring creativity in our kids if we want them to be world-changers. Model creative play and questioning, and read great books with your kids – who knows what they’ll go on to do.