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Encouraging Kids to Be Creative Part 2

What comes to mind when you hear the word creative? Maybe you imagine a beautiful painting, or maybe you think about telling the story of our Founding Fathers with ambitious rap and hip-hop driven music as they did in the hit musical “Hamilton.”

You wouldn’t be wrong, though creativity is more than artistic expression. It is finding new solutions to problems and creating a message that will stick in the minds of the listeners. It is connecting to remote groups and bringing hope to the hopeless.

Creativity is what is needed to bring lasting change to our world. In fact, we would go as far as to say that creativity is the new intelligence.

Let’s take Steve Jobs, for example. His genius was in his ability to see things differently than everyone else around him. According to Rick Tetzeli, executive editor of Fast Company and the magazine’s resident Jobs expert, “Everyone else in the industry insisted on selling computers by their specs — by how fast it was, by how powerful it was and how cheap it was — and Apple always understood that that wasn’t the way to sell.”

Steve Jobs wasn’t the technological genius behind Apple; he was the visionary. Jobs could see the future through the eyes of the average Joe. “He got power into the hands of people, and people can do amazing things with these tools,” Tetzeli said.

Creativity is imagination, and imagination is the secret ingredient of any kind of achievement. “If a thing cannot be imagined first — a cake, a relationship, a cure for AIDS — it cannot be. Life is bound by what we can envision,” said author Nancy Blakey.

Creativity and imagination are the keys to the future. They will solve our energy crisis. They will continue to make our lives and work more powerful.

The article goes on to talk about how so many things in the Jetson’s cartoon have become true. Without imagining things, we can’t create. You can read the rest of the article here.

Parents work to boost our kids’ test scores by hiring tutors or enrolling them in special classes. We also can go a little nuts to give our kids a leg up in their sports by paying for private lessons and coaching. It’s important to look at creativity, not as an innate personality trait, but as something that can be encouraged, too. Yesterday, I wrote about tips to grow our children’s creative spirit. You can read that here.

I was talking with my son about how fortunate they were to grow up without much screen time. We had an iMac but it was before everyone was on the internet and iPhones didn’t exist. We had several disks with kid friendly programs and most often the computer was used to watch DVDs. My son said he was grateful to be born prior to iPhones. He said he thinks kids today never get the same connection to their parents because there’s always a screen in between them. I was more worried about parents posting every second of their children’s lives on social media and how that affects kids today. Children may view every moment as a posed event and they get quite good at posing. But my son’s comment made me look at how my life has changed since I’ve had an iPhone. I can barely remember a time without it or when it’s not within reach.

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I wish I knew what they were pretending with all their friends.

Maybe it’s time to cut down on my screen time to work on my own creative spirit.

What suggestions do you have to boost creativity in our lives?

 

 

Jenni Stahlmann and Jody Hagaman are the pioneers of the homeschooling method “Cradle to Calling Education.” They travel the U.S. and Canada speaking to parents and homeschoolers. For more information, go to fromcradletocalling.com, visit the Cradle2Calling Facebook page or follow them on Instagram @cradle_2_calling.

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How to encourage creativity in our kids

christmas 2I’ve been reading about creativity in children and it made me reflect on how I raised my kids.  I’ve always considered creativity to be an innate talent, but according to science it’s a skill that can be fostered. As parents, we can promote the creative spirit by allowing space and time for creativity. That means allowing messes, free time–and getting out of the way.
I’d let my kids have a tub of large chalk and draw all over our patio. It drove my husband crazy to come home from work and see our kids and their friends drawing all over our back yard. It hosed off, though. Also, I’d buy a roll of butcher paper and let them paint or draw across the patio, hoping they’d keep it on the paper.
At the beach, they’d build villages with drip castles and loved to play chef at a restaurant. I’d patiently taste each creation (pile of wet sand) and tell them how delicious it was.
I remember taking my kids to a photographer for Christmas pictures. I had them all dressed up in their matching red and green Gymboree outfits. My daughter was a baby and my son three. My son moved all the chairs and benches into two rows all facing forward. We asked him what he was doing and he explained he was building an airplane (the two lines of furniture were the seats and aisle.) The photographer was extremely patient as I tried to put everything back in it’s place.
My mom was big on creativity and she allowed us to destroy our living room with forts of card tables and sheets, dig to China and build a pond for polliwogs. I remember making dozens of puppets with Woolite bottles as the heads and swatches of fabric for the clothing. Mom did get annoyed with me for chopping out a chunk of fabric from the center of all the yardage of fabric in her sewing room!
What exactly is creativity? Here’s a definition:
noun
  1. the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.
    “firms are keen to encourage creativity”
Here’s an excerpt from Greater Good Magazine 7 Ways to Foster Creativity in Your Kids by Christine Carter:

Many people assume that creativity is an inborn talent that their kids either do or do not have: just as all children are not equally intelligent, all children are not equally creative. But actually, creativity is more skill than inborn talent, and it is a skill parents can help their kids develop.

Because it is a key to success in nearly everything we do, creativity is a key component of health and happiness and a core skill to practice with kids. Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes them more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as take advantage of new opportunities.

Many researchers believe we have fundamentally changed the experience of childhood in such a way that impairs creative development. Toy and entertainment companies feed kids an endless stream of prefab characters, images, props and plot-lines that allow children to put their imaginations to rest. Children no longer need to imagine a stick is a sword in a game or story they’ve imagined: they can play Star Wars with a specific light-saber in costumes designed for the specific role they are playing.

Carter has a bunch of tips of things we can do to promote creativity that includes giving  kids space and resources for creative play. Also she says it’s important to allow our kids to make mistakes and fail. If they’re afraid of failure their creativity will be stifled. Limiting screen and TV time will give kids a chance for art and reading. Another bit of advice is to not tell our kids what to do. For example, I made my daughter take piano lessons for years against her will. She would have been much better off following her own passions like making mosaics and painting. For years she made gifts for her friends by getting a few supplies from Michaels and using her creativity. For a complete list of her tips, read the article here

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Tips to Rekindle Your Creative Spirit

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Inspiring view along my morning walks.

I’m reading a few pages a week from Julia Cameron’s books. Who is Julia Cameron you ask? She’s a writer, musician and artist who encourages creativity for the rest of us struggling along our jumbled paths. I read something in the book Walking in This World  that helped me out and wanted to share it.

What’s ironic is that it’s the same thing I write about in my parenting tips for SwimSwam. Why don’t I take the advice I shout out to the rest of the world? Who knows?

It’s all about performance pressure and focusing on results rather than the process. When our kids focus on times, or we add performance pressure on them, they will struggle to improve. Likewise, if we are too focused on the number of “likes” and “clicks” on our writing, we lose sight of our creative spirit. We’re more worried about what people think of our work–rather than losing ourselves in the process and creating art.

This results in writer’s block, frustration, second-guessing our work and losing passion for what we’re doing.

What is Cameron’s solution to this? In her books, she has a number of suggestions that include writing morning pages, walking and making time for an artist’s date with yourself. Also, she suggests trying something artistic outside your chosen field. For me it’s getting out a sketch book and drawing from time to time. When I was a little kid, I wasn’t worried about what people thought about my artwork. I drew for hours on end. I found it scary at first to try and sketch again, but I reminded myself that nobody is looking at it. I won’t be looking at the number of “likes” and “retweets.” It’s a creative outlet just for me.

Another suggestion of Cameron’s to rekindle the spirit of creativity, is to use your talents to help someone else. Make a gift for someone, teach, volunteer, or do something for your community. It does make you feel enthusiastic after helping someone else and getting the focus off yourself and your end product. 

Thank you to my BFF Cindy for giving me The Artist’s Way five years ago and encouraging me on my current path.

Julia Cameron has been an active artist for more than thirty years. She is the author of forty books, fiction and nonfiction, including her bestselling works on the creative process: The Artist’s Way, Walking in This World and Finding Water. Her work has been translated into more than thirty-five languages and has sold more than four million copies worldwide. Also a novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet, she has multiple credits in theater, film and television.

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I find inspiration from my view.

How do you rekindle your creativity if you’re discouraged or reached a block? Do you have any tips to share with us?

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