Many parents spend a tremendous amount of resources in improving their children’s academic performance. Greater emphasis is placed on developing the needed technical and functional skills that are thought to get the big jobs in the future. The less tangible qualities, such as communication, collaboration, adaptability, and creativity, are taking the back seat.
Kids are born to be creative. When they play, they think, connect, and create. This creativity offers many intellectual, emotional, and health benefits for them. It helps them become more confident, develop better social skills, and maintain successful relationships.
Nowadays, more and more companies are seeing the importance of soft skills over hard skills when they recruit talent. In fact, according to a survey by Talent Q, nine out of ten employers believe that soft skills are becomingly increasingly important. Even the best academic transcripts may no longer be enough. So how do we foster creativity in children?
Engage the Five Senses in Learning
Learning is multi-sensory. A growing number of studies have shown that we rely heavily on multiple senses to process and retain information more effectively. Thus, it is important to help our kids activate their senses to prepare and expose them to the world.
This does not necessarily mean bringing them to costly and complicated trips. Instead, let them use their greatest assets: their imaginations. Ask them to imagine traveling to faraway places. Let them draw the animals that they would encounter and transform the artwork into new pages from Student Treasures. Simple activities such as these energize the children, stimulate the senses, and help the brain to develop and function at its peak.
Designate a Space for Creativity
The importance of a stimulating and creative space is often overlooked. Children and adults alike need their own space to unlock their creative potential. Employees need secluded places when trying to come up with innovative ideas. Again, this does not mean having to build an elaborate play area for children. A creative space could just be any corner of the house with a stack of blocks and some trucks for an imaginative role play.
Allow Free Time
Many parents feel that it is their duty to keep their children busy. They encourage children to participate in many organized activities and enrichment classes throughout the school year. There is nothing wrong with that. But overscheduling a child and forgetting about free time can often lead to stress and anxiety for both children and parents.
Free time was once the hallmark of childhood. It should continue to be so. It is important to allow children some unstructured time when they can just putter around, play, and entertain themselves without the need for television or a video game. This allows their innate creativity to kick in and come up with games, toys, or simply anything to do.
Research shows that since the 1990s, the creativity quotient scores for many American children have consistently been inching downwards. The pressure for kids to score well on standardized tests has led to them cutting out on play and free time. Ultimately, this will lead to a generation struggling with creativity, ingenuity, and risk-taking.