Children not only need art, but they understand it much more than most adults. They still have the urge to create and imagine without limitations. Too many adults have given that up somewhere in their adolescence. One of our primary goals is to ensure there is a steady stream of creators, artists and inventors entering the adult world. We cannot allow entire generations to sit back and rest on just consuming things because it is easier, faster or less expensive. You need to connect with your children and show them the importance of creating things (both tangible and intangible).
Ideally you’ll participate with them in the act of making, but at the very least don’t put roadblocks in the way of their creativity. I’m not saying anyone would do that intentionally, but the routines and stress of life can let many things get rushed or fall by the wayside. Be intentional about the art of creating with your children. And if you can, schedule some specific time for making something with your children near by. You will inspire your children to create more just by being an example of someone that creates.
Sometimes we forget that as children our daily world was full of creativity. Many lost it along the way because school systems didn’t seem to prioritize creativity (at least not after a certain grade or age level). I’m very lucky to count myself among the few kids that not only kept my creativity but actively developed it; even in a school system that did not value creative outlets. I grew up in a school system that first made Art, Music and Foreign Language optional. However, the funding for those classes was always the first to be cut if a school levy didn’t pass.
Why am I bringing that up? You shouldn’t leave your child’s creativity only in the hands of a school system. I’m not categorically knocking schools. In fact many schools are now embracing the Education Technology (or EdTech) movement. This movement is all about using technology in ways to really connect with your children (believe it or not, we all learn differently). This approach to technology is making room for those who learn differently or aren’t as extroverted to connect with their teachers, classmates and their own creativity.
So how do you as a parent help your child stay engaged with creativity? Small steps. Every child has tons of creative potential, but it needs nurtured. Remember that your expectations for their creativity may not be what you expected. Perhaps they like drawing or listening to music. I want to stress that “creativity” is not limited to artistic pursuits, rather it is a way of approaching and solving problems. Every new experience a child encounters helps them view problems from new perspectives (art, music, foreign language, science, sports and cooking among others will help shape how they approach thinking).
Here are a few interesting ways to help your child connect with creativity:
- Duolingo – a free app / website to help your child learn a variety of foreign languages in a practical approach.
- LittleBits – technology kits that are a combination of Lego-like fun meeting science and programing (a great STEM / STEAM product)
- GoldieBlox – construction and engineering toys focused on getting more girls interested in engineering (another great STEM / STEAM product)
- Drawing Desk – an app to draw and color (has a specific “Kids Desk” feature)
- Loopimal – create music in this app using animals as musical instruments (definitely hilarious!)