In today’s world, parents are constantly battling - against technology, conformity, distractions, the majority of school systems - to promote creativity in their children. At a young age, it is instilled in children that there is one right, or best, answer. This then spills over and affects their creativity, leaving our children unsure that what they’re dreaming up or thinking about is right or wrong, instead of simply creative.
Creativity isn’t just about drawing a better picture or painting something unique. Fostering this skill in our children will allow them to approach life’s challenges in a creative way. Arts and crafts can nurture this lifelong skill so that your child doesn’t get stuck in the pitfalls of mainstream, linear thinking. According to researcher James Moran, there is a 25% drop in creative attempts over the course of elementary school, a high percentage that is not matched until college years. Therefore as parents, we must learn how to combat this conformity coming at our children from all angles and foster a spirit of creativity, imagination and individuality.
By encouraging the use of arts and crafts to teach our children creativity, we can hope to:
Between the ages of 8-10, children start to think that they should be like everyone else. The clothes they wear, the things they say, the toys they play with - conformity starts to take over as they lose their sense of self, instead molding into a version of their circle. As a parent, we need to promote their young independence as much as possible, whether that’s with painting, sewing, drawing, building, or imagining. Think of what your child is truly interested in, and foster that skill, regardless of whether their friends or peers are interested in it too.
Living in the world of tomorrow is going to require adaptation and invention as human beings continue to evolve, so start fostering the ability to create and invent now. Our children are the future, and they will be the ones who start new-age businesses and develop cutting edge technologies. By breaking them out of the traditional thinking mold, we allow them to think and create differently than their peers. Next time your child picks up a pencil crayon and starts drawing, encourage them to draw outside the lines and discover new ways of expression.
Experiments are a great way for your child to wonder and invent theories before testing them out. Asking open-ended questions and allowing your child to fill in the blanks encourages them to keep asking, wondering, dreaming. As messy as they may be, allowing your child to complete trial and error activities is a great creative learning tool, and will teach them how to problem solve and test theories in the future.
Just like experiments, asking questions allows your child’s brain to expand and their perspective to change. Kids will often believe anything they hear, so continue to explain why you do things, why this happened, why that occurred. By teaching them to question their surroundings at a young age, we will help create a curious population who ask for proof, instead of blindly agreeing.
Adults make mistakes too! Don’t hide these or cover them up - instead, express to your child what happened, and try to come up with a creative solution together. Creative problem solving is a key skill for children to develop, whether one of their toys is broken or they can’t find the missing piece. By showing them that making mistakes is ok, you are encouraging them to keep trying rather than give up at the first sign of a problem.
Think about how much new information you take in on a regular day. Now, think about how much new information a child takes in on a regular day. When you’re a kid, everything is new and exciting, but it’s a lot to process. Whether your child is seeing something for the first, second or tenth time, they need time to think about what they’ve just observed and categorize it. Arts and crafts are an excellent way for them to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe, reflective way.
Support Creative Thinking, Expression & the Overall Process
By exposing your children to unique experiences, different processes and freedom of expression, you will foster the ability to look at the world and solve problems in unconventional ways. Allowing your child to express themself in ways that aren’t deemed ‘right’ or ‘best’ shows them that it’s ok to be different - in fact, it’s encouraged! If they receive this positive reinforcement now, perhaps it will carry over into adulthood and promote a life of free expression and individuality.
Arts and crafts are naturally linked to creativity, and what kid doesn’t love to create something with their own hands? We have four educational craft kits that are the perfect at-home creative activity for your child to tackle, whether they like sewing, experimenting or crafting.
Check them out!