Are you creative? Can you draw? Paint a picture? Do you hold a patent for a new invention that will change the way we live?
Creativity is often defined in relation to artistic ability but creative thought reaches far beyond the arts and has profound implications in all parts of our lives. Creativity is about thinking outside the box, bringing fresh insight to established patterns of thought, rules and relationships. Creativity is a process of personal expression and playful pursuit, but creativity is also a highly sought after commodity, in business as well as the arts. Creative ideas may produce a work of art or music, it can lead to breakthroughs in science and engineering, increased personal satisfaction and career success, even solutions to highly complex social issues.
We are all capable of creative thought, but like other skills, it requires development. Countries all around the world have made the development of creativity a priority. However, while the United States has been a world leader of innovation in the past, increased emphasis on standardization, testing and cuts in arts programs, means we are no longer developing creativity and innovation in our students. Yong Zhao, author of Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization shares insights on the dangers that lie ahead if these trends continue. Zhao firmly believes “Creativity is no longer a choice for a select few; it has become an essential quality for all.” Click here to read the article.
So how do you help your child develop their creativity? Now that school is out and testing is over, saturate them in creative play and skill development. Sign up for art, music and dance classes. These types of structured classes will help them develop thought patterns and technical skills that are essential to the creative process. But along with structured experiences, be sure there are plenty of opportunities for open-ended imaginative play. Turn off the TV and break out the sidewalk chalk. Provide a variety of arts and craft supplies, baskets of costumes and dress up clothes and plenty odds and ends to build and invent with. Spend extra time in the kitchen, go hiking and biking, swimming at a lake or quarry, pack a picnic and head out to explore together.
Make this a summer of adventure, imagination and creativity.