With gadgets taking over all our spare time, we’re not able to enhance our children’s creativity like we used to before. However, gadgets don’t need to be the be-all and end-all. In this article, we tell you five things you can do to push your children’s creative muscles without an iPad or a computer.
Creativity is the most important faculty of the human brain. Einstein is said to have said that it is not knowledge that drives human progress but imagination. Giving your child the gift of creativity and letting them understand the value of imagination is perhaps the best thing you can do for them. It may sound difficult to do in our age of gadgets, but you’re not altogether helpless. Here are a few ideas.
1. Embrace the outdoors
Choose pastimes for your children carefully. Instead of allowing them to laze around and watch YouTube videos, take them out into the outdoors. Get them to run around in the sun. Sit on a swing and feel the wind in their hair. Wade into the sea and feel the water, or build sand castles on the beach. For more intellectual stimulation, you can take them to museums or interactive plays that will awaken their minds.
2. Encourage them to work with their hands
Whether they’re building a mud idol or fashioning a figure of an elephant out of plasticine, kids learn by touching. The more work they do with their hands, the more their brain is processing all that tactile stimuli, and deeper it is growing. In order to encourage them to do this, as a parent, step outside your comfort zone and get into the pit with them. Sit down to do some craft work, some scribbling, some idol-shaping. It may spark some of your long-dead creativity too!
3. Have storytelling sessions with your children
One thing about kids is that almost without exception, they love stories. Have a set time every day where you are telling stories to your children, complete with emotions and intonations and lots of hand-waving and eye-popping. Reading to kids is a separate activity that you can either incorporate into this storytelling session or not, but make sure you do both, because listening and reading activates different centres of your child’s brain.
4. Start a diary
Encourage your kids to write to express themselves. The easiest way to do this is to instil in them a habit to keep a journal or diary, where they record their emotions and experiences from time to time. Writing has a wide variety of benefits: it helps their grammar, it makes them more articulate, it forces them to think and practice empathy etc. Inform them that their thoughts will not be read by anyone unless they want to show someone, so that they’re not bogged down by thoughts of ‘what will people think?’
5. How about some music?
Make music, singing and laughter part of your daily life. With your child, encourage them to sing and laugh without inhibition. If possible, see if you can play a musical instrument together as a routine, say three times a week. If you awaken your child’s musical tastes, it will hold him in good stead well into adulthood.