Creating Creative Kids

Creating Creative Kids

We’ve all heard the complaint that, because of government and state education policies, teachers are being forced more and more to “teach for the test.” That leaves them little time for engaging children in more creative forms of learning.

For their part, parents are often overwhelmed by the responsibilities of balancing work and family time, making it harder to put their energies into encouraging creative pursuits by their offspring. Plus, kids themselves are overbooked with after-school sports, clubs and homework, giving them little unscheduled time to let their imaginations take flight.

Of course, while there are technology-related tools that require lots of creativity (programs and apps for art, music and more), many kids are hooked on the more mindless types of video games or are addicted to texting in its many form—another way that they’re losing out on free time to pursue creative expression.

At North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, we incorporate many activities that encourage creativity, which is crucial to healing emotional trauma and also fostering happiness and self-esteem.

“In addition to talk therapy, we use many creative outlets to encourage kids to express their emotions,” says Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of the Guidance Center. “We have two organic gardens that engage children’s senses, and we also have a Nature Nursery which is primarily designed for our early childhood population of children under 6 years of age. It  features a variety of ‘tools,’ including a rock and water garden, herbs, shells, pine cones, wind chimes, pots and pans and more, all designed to help children explore the sights, sounds, smells and touch of nature. It’s a great way to foster creativity, and creativity promotes emotional, social, cognitive and physical development.”

Here are some tips on how to promote creativity:

  • Expose your child to the big wide world with trips both far and near—parks, museums, concerts, etc.
  • Use one of the best resources for any parent: your local library. Most have many free workshops for kids and teens, from learning to make bracelets to exploring the solar system.
  • Give your child some free time to play with friends or on his or her own. If they are booked back to back, they’re missing the time needed to use their imaginations.
  • Video games geared toward writing, art, science and even just having fun can be great tools for your child. Click here for 10 recommended games and here for Parents Choice Award winners
  • Keep your radar up for what kinds of things excite your child, and encourage them to pursue their interests.
  • Let your kids be “bored” during the day. They need to be bored in order to stimulate their brains to come up with ways to amuse themselves. Boredom begets creativity!
  • Ask your kids to participate in your everyday tasks, like cooking, raking leaves or doing yoga. It’s not only creative, but a great bonding experience!