The holidays are knocking and the wonderful, magical experience of Christmas is beckoning. I would like to wish all members of our community a happy, safe and holy Christmas.
Over the next 6 weeks there will undoubtedly be times of boredom. Times when your child will ask, what are we doing today? Perhaps the answer should more often be nothing.
We need to give our children opportunities to get creative. Throw them into a time zone where we have not rescued their boredom. Let them explore time and come up with something new.
Jenny Brockis (Medical Practitioner, speaker and author) wrote in a recent article, Creating Creative Kids, some tips for us to explore.
Top tips for fostering creativity:
- Give permission for freedom of expression. It’s not about you or what you think is the right way to create something. Encourage your child to explore, and create on their own terms while having fun.
- Encourage play Encourage active unstructured play that takes them away from the TV, tablet or computer for a while.
- Celebrate your child’s creative expression. That’s what fridge doors, whiteboards, and the kitchen table is for! It’s not to reward the masterpiece itself (that’s a quick way to stymie any future creative activity!), but to celebrate the process of exploration and discovery.
- Foster originality by being accepting of difference. While some rules are important to keep our children safe, being allowed to do things their way when developing ideas, is what helps shape their individuality.
There are four main ingredients required for creativity:
• Mucking in together
Creativity is messy
So the kitchen looks like a bomb has gone off, the lounge suite has been completely disassembled and the dog is wearing an outfit that looks mysteriously like your best jacket! But, all that activity has resulted in that first cake being made, the princess’s castle being refurbished and the dog being an active participant in a rehearsal for that very important play.
Creativity is full of mistakes
If we don’t get things wrong, how can we tell when they are right?
There is no room for perfectionism in creativity. Allowing our kids to get things wrong and discover what doesn’t work is just as important as discovering what does. It teaches them to deal with failure and to realise that finding out the wrong answer matters far more than never starting to look in the first place.
It was Thomas Edison the inventor of the light bulb that said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.”
Creativity is make-believe
Stories are a great way to transport our children’s minds to far off and magnificent places. It allows them to create their own visual images of the people, characters and places. Manufacturing creative artistry allows saucepan lids to become cymbals, modelling clay to become teacups and saucers, boxes and tin foil to become knights on horseback, and colourful artworks the latest masterpiece destined for the fridge door.
It’s not about a pretend reality; kids know the difference. Their make-believe world allows them to explore possibilities and options.
Creativity is mucking in
Creativity can be a solo performance but is often a collaborative piece. Joining young minds together amplifies the creative process. Mucking in is about using an array of different (and sometimes unusual!) materials that can be repurposed or used to create new objects. Whether your child is six or sixteen, managing their creativity starts with sharing the value we hold for the arts and new ideas. It’s about taking trips to an art gallery, a science show or museum. It’s about travelling to different places, trying different foods and learning about different cultures. It’s about reading and sharing books, and talking to our kids to encourage an ongoing sense of wonder and curiosity about their world.
I hope at some point these holidays you can make a mess, make mistakes, make-believe and muck around with each other.
Let your light shine