Is there a secret to raising creative kids? There’s a lot of talk about what not to do, like limiting daily television, but what can parents do to instill a passion for creativity?
According to some researchers and therapists, the key may lie in early exposure to creative activities. Harvard University psychologist, Shelley Carson, author of “Your Creative Brain” notes, “Exposure to creative pursuits early in life is key to helping children get motivated to do creative things themselves.”
Creativity in the NEK
So, how do parents go about exposing their kids to creative pursuits in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom? Reading to little ones is always a great start, and guidance often suggested by schools and pediatricians, but there’s so much more to do here in the Kingdom. Here are some ideas:
1. Encourage children to ask questions that invite discussion or are open-ended questions, like “what?” “why?” and “how?”
2. Encourage children to explore their environment–of course, safely and as appropriate for their age. For example, if a child seems interested in cooking, welcome them into the kitchen. Let them “feel” and compare ingredients and textures, like flour, sugar, rice and cornstarch. And, watch their eyes light up when you let them practice cracking open eggs!
3. Create a stimulating, encouraging environment. You don’t necessarily need to abolish the television or create a by-the-book Montessori or Waldorf environment, but you can encourage creative development by keeping stimulating, challenging activities within reach and eyesight. Examples include puzzles, blocks, silk play scarves (great for building tents or using as capes) or even empty shoeboxes and basic arts & crafts supplies like crayons and tape.
4. Come to view the world as a classroom. Nearly everything in the environment around you and your child can be used for a learning moment or to spark discussion. Go for a walk together. Ask your child thought-provoking questions as you engage in day-to-day rituals, like grocery shopping or fetching the mail.
5. Be a role model. Pursue your own passions. What is it you like to do? What do you dream about doing? Maybe it feels like forever since you thought about your own interests. However, there’s no better time than today while there are still little footsteps to be heard in the house to develop or follow your own creative energy.