“Are you the creative type?”, someone asked me recently. I was too embarrassed to say “yes”. We were talking about painters, and I got all tongue tied. I am not a painter, photographer, or a sculptor, and I rarely do crafts, but I do consider myself to be creative in some ways. I don’t really even have the vocabulary to say what my creative skills are, but beautiful art, music and nature are crucial to my happiness. I’m never happier than when I’m unleashed with some fresh food and the chance to create something delicious. And, there is rarely a problem I can’t solve given the time to mull over possible solutions.
It turns out that creativity is on the decline in the U.S. (http://ideas.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/american-creativity-in-decline/), and schools are increasingly boxed in by test standards into teaching the material and then asking for it back in test form. No creativity required there. And yet, won’t creativity and problem solving be necessary in almost any job that we would hope for our children? Not to mention the supreme satisfaction for creating something unique in any area of life.
So give yourself and your children credit for whatever creativity you and they possess. Say it out loud, so they can internalize it. I’ve found in my consumer research that plenty of parents and children are puzzled by toys that don’t have rules. Creativity can’t be rushed. Give kids time to play with no rules.
Here are some things to think about:
In what ways are you or your kids creative?
Are there any jobs that don’t require creativity?
Does schoolwork require creativity?
How can kids and adults develop creativity?
If you’d like to be creatively inspired, try some of these ideas: