7 Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking
As mentioned in our previous blog post, creativity is not based purely on art, but involves the way people perceive and process information. Creativity can manifest in creative thinking, allowing kids to become better at solving problems due to their adaptability. Here are some ways to promote creative thinking in kids:
Kids should be encouraged to ask questions, as it makes them become more interested in the world around them and gives them an opportunity of discovery. Asking them questions such as how they think their pencil works or how something is made can trigger a sense of wonder. Explaining these topics to them or doing research with them enhances their imagination and ability to figure things out.
Expose them to knowledge and information
Besides sparking their curiosity on how the world works around them, exposure to culture, media and current events gives them more chances to discover, discuss and digest. Parents and teachers should encourage kids to look beyond the things they are familiar with and encourage them to stay up to date or learn more. For instance, environmental issues is a relatable topic they can do research about.
Don’t just teach one way to solve a problem
Kids usually don’t realise that there’s more than one way to solve a problem. Introduce them to different perspectives and approaches, be it a homework problem, emotional problem or just problems they encounter day to day. Discuss it with them. Let them learn how to evaluate the pros and cons of each solution and what they think is the best approach. Even if the solution does not work out, they will know that there are other ways to solve it.
Promote reading for fun
Screen time has replaced reading time, but too much screen time can restrict a child’s imagination and thought processes, as they are just fed information and visuals to remain entertained. Reading not only boosts language skills, but helps kids work on their imagination by presenting dramatic scenes they can visualise in their mind. They also get to read stories told from the perspectives of characters, which opens them up to different ways of thinking.
Give them time and space
A packed schedule is good to keep kids occupied, but it is important to also include some time for kids to play. Allow them to indulge in whatever activities they enjoy (one that requires active participation, such as art or reading, instead of passive activities such as watching videos). Giving them the freedom to pursue projects or just roam around and having fun is a good way to boost their creativity.
Avoid rewarding creativity
If your child is being creative or expresses a creative thought, avoid rewarding them. Extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation is something that we have mentioned before. Building intrinsic motivation to think creatively is vital, as kids need to find the thought process fun and exciting.
Let them express themselves
Creative thinking is a process that takes time to develop. Kids need ample opportunities to express it. Taking interest and being supportive over the creativity they have is crucial to keep them motivated. To find out how to help kids express themselves, check out our points under ‘Ask questions’ and ‘Share your own thoughts’ in this post.
Creative thinking is not an innate talent and can be nurtured in a supportive environment. Try these tips out, and be surprised at how creative some kids can be!