A common misconception is that the best way to spark creativity in children is to take the step and let them be creative. Kids are naturally curious but need support to develop their creative skills and reach their full potential.
The critical task is not to “teach” children to be creative but to create a fertile environment where their creativity can take root and grow.
Give examples to inspire ideas
Blank pages, blank canvases, and blank screens are intimidating. A collection of examples can spark your imagination. When conducting a scratch workshop, I show a sample project. This is to give you a taste of what is possible (inspirational projects) and ideas on how to get started (starter projects). Yes, there is a risk that children imitate or copy the examples they see. That’s fine for beginners, but only for beginners. Please encourage them to change or modify the criteria. Suggest adding your voice or personal touch.
Most people think imagination is born in the head, but hands are just as important. To help children develop project ideas, we often encourage them to play with materials.
Make various materials available
The toys, tools, and materials around them strongly influence children. Ensure your kids have access to various drawing, building, and crafting materials to get them involved in creative activities.
Welcome all types of making
Different children are interested in various types of handicrafts. Some children like to build houses and castles out of LEGO bricks. Some children enjoy creating games and animations with Scratch.
Emphasize the process, not the product
When your kids are working on a project, emphasize the process, not just the final deliverable. Ask children about their strategies and sources of inspiration. Encourage experimentation by treating failed experiments with the same respect as successful ones.
Increase project time
Children need time to work on creative projects, especially if you’re constantly creating, experimenting, and exploring new ideas.
Play the role of intermediator
Many kids want to share ideas or collaborate on projects but don’t know how. You can act as a go-between and help children find other people to work with.
Get involved as a partner
Parents and mentors may get too involved in their children’s creative projects or reach for the keyboard to tell them what to do or show them how to solve a problem. Parents and mentors do not interfere at all. In between, there is an ideal point where adults and children work together on a project.
Ask genuine questions
It’s great to have kids immersed in a project, but it’s also essential to take a step back and reflect on what happened. Asking questions about the project can make children think.
Share your thoughts
Most parents and teachers are reluctant to talk to their children about their thought processes. They may not want to reveal that they sometimes feel confused or insecure about their thoughts. It’s the best gift.