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Why Raise Creative Kids
Raising creative kids is a good thing! If you hear, “She’s so creative!” it’s a compliment. It means she can do or make something unique or special, and we all want others to think of our kids as unique and special.
Even better, raising creative kids has other advantages. Here is a short list. Let me know in the comments if you think of others.
- Making and doing things that are unique to you builds confidence and self-esteem.
- Overcoming the challenges that come while being creative develops general problem-solving skills.
- Learning to deal with failures gives experience for handling setbacks in life.
- Being able to see creative possibilities fosters optimism.
You can find plenty of advice out there from many groups on raising creative kids. Here you will find the perspective of a father whose kids are now young adults – some observations and advice. I’m not saying I always followed this advice! Instead, these are the things I would do more often if I were raising kids all over again.
1. Read to Them
2. Let Them Be Kids
Let them play! Kids can be pretty creative, so provide stuff to play with and time to play. They will practice creativity on their own. Any toy can stir creativity, but some seem to have creativity as their goal. Legos are a good example. Our kids spent plenty of time creating with plastic bricks what they imagined in their mind. We also had a Lego game we enjoyed called Creationary. In Creationary you take turns using the Legos in the box to build what you see in a picture on one of the game cards while everyone else has to guess what you are building. We had some pretty wild designs at times!
But toys don’t have to be actual toys. Old clothes for dress-up, old dishes, a device to take apart, and even a large cardboard box can be tools to spark creative play. Taking things that already exist and finding new uses for them is a creative skill. As Thomas Edison once said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” So give them the tools to invent!
Are you throwing anything away that you could repurpose as a tool for creativity?
I’ve been reading about Scrappy Circuits, recently – a good example of finding new uses for common things. A couple of smart people used items from the dollar store to make a kit for learning about electricity. (More about this in a later post.) As an added bonus, by making the kit they learn that they don’t always need a prepackaged kit to learn or solve a problem. How many of life’s problems do you solve with a prepackaged kit anyway?
3. Let Them Struggle and Even Fail
4. Show Interest
Kids need to know that what they do has value. If you don’t care, they won’t either. You can show you value their creative work by providing them with the materials they need. That can mean art supplies, parts, kits, tools, or other things. When they are done, ask them to tell you about their piece of creativity. Tell them what you like about it.
If a child needs tools or special materials, get good ones. Be aware that cheap tools are often frustrating to deal with and can ruin a desire to do something creative. You will have to decide your own balance between quality and cost, but spending a little more for quality can mean a more rewarding experience for your child.
5. Be an Example
Does this need to be said? If you’ve read this far, you are probably already the type of person who would set an example. Just remember that much of what your kids learn is “caught not taught.” They are watching you and take a cue about what’s important from what you do. So, practice your own creativity. Perhaps start a hobby. Have and use creative things around the house – art, music, books, hobby supplies/tools.
What creative thing do you do in your free time? Are you looking for suggestions? Take a look at MakerLlama.com for creative ideas for yourself and your kids. Let us know how we can help with raising creative kids.