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Learn: Foster Creativity in Children

Upon the death of Steve Jobs, I repeatedly read in articles, blogs and tweets that creativity is integral across the boardregardless of the field in which a person works. That's the ideology: that innovation and progress depend on creative thinkers. What's the reality in our society, though? What skills does society value? Generally, is creativity valued as much as technical skill? When it comes to creativity, does reality match the ideology?

In my experience, many adults seem to be trying to learnor relearnthe creativity that was a part of daily life throughout childhood. Childhood is all about creativity: playing make believe, drawing, coloring, painting, crafting, inventing games, building with blocks, telling stories, and on and on. When does this infusion of creativity dissipate? When do children begin to lean toward the concrete/technical and away from imagination and creativity?

And what can I do to help children hang on to that vital creativity?

Pondering this question, I have concluded that the most natural place to start is with my own children. Right now that means providing drawing materials to my almost-12-year-old to encourage her interest in sketching. It means, as much as is practical, allowing my daughter to plan her own birthday Allison's illustrated to-do listparty. It means taking a comment like "school buses don't have rainbow windows" and revising it to "your bus's rainbow windows look colorful." It means meting out an extra ounce of patience to wait for my 8½-year-old to finish drawing colorful flowers along the bottom of her to-do list.

What this might mean in my children's futures might best be illustrated in this fascinating animated sketch (via Brain Pickings) in which psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist explains the significance of a "whole-brained" perspective, giving both sides of our brainsthe left/technical and the right/creativebalanced attention.

 

What do you think? Do we do enough to teach our children to use their whole brains? What else can we do to help foster creativity in children? Leave a comment or contact me via twitter.

 

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