Think of three things you can make with a box full of sticks. Anything that comes to your mind. Absolutely anything. No rules or restrictions.
‘Twas super fun, wasn’t it? What you just did was get your creative juices running.
Creativity is to life what Chandler is to F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Without it, life would become dull and boring. But why is it so important? Creativity comes from the Latin term creō, meaning “to make”. It makes you expand the boundaries of your mind, your imagination, and come up with new things or new unique ways to do something that already exists. It pushes you to exercise your brain and juggle with the existing resources to come up with innovative ways to use them.
Creativity is the essence of being human, of our existence. It is the single most important thing that has given birth to countless innovations, beautiful artworks, memorable movies, and has brought the world to where it is right now. And it is going to be creativity that will also take it forward.
Creativity in the 21st Century
Creativity is a very big deal in the 21st century. So much so that it is one of the famous four C’s of 21st-century learning. Creativity is considered to be imperative to get the kids thinking and encourage them to become innovative learners and transform into tomorrow’s changemakers. This is the reason why it is being given paramount importance while talking about STEM education. It has become one of the most important aspects to be kept in mind when incorporating STEM in schools or introducing children to STEM at home.
Here are some ways with which parents and teachers can encourage children to tap into their inner creator:
Let Them Make Mistakes
Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds the world has had the fortune of witnessing, has rightly said that –
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Creativity is open-ended learning. And in open-ended learning, children are bound to make mistakes. But it isn’t something to be ashamed of. Making mistakes encourages to introspect and come up with new ways making sure that you avoid those mistakes. The key here is to not get disheartened and give up.
Encourage them to Jot Down Their Ideas
No matter how sharp your memory is, ideas do not stay with you for long. Artists, scientists, and writers are known to often carry small diaries to capture the ideas that pop to their minds before they fly away. Encourage children to do the same.
Encourage them to Ask Questions
Everything starts with a question. If Newton hadn’t asked why the apple fell from the tree, we would still only be marveling at the magic that makes the apple fall while being oblivious to the truth. Hence, ask. Encourage children to ask as many questions as the can. Why’s the sky blue? Why do stars twinkle? Why is sunset red?
Research Experts in the Field
There are countless makers and innovators in every field in whose veins runs creativity instead of blood. Reading about them, how they work, what they have created is a good place to start. Not only the famous experts, but one can also research other creative makers such as those found on websites and portals dedicated to creativity, DIYing, and innovation such as STEMpedia and Instructables.
Brainstorm Solutions to a Common Challenge
With access to computers, tablets, Smartphones, and the Internet, today’s generation is more aware of the world than its previous generations. They know what is going on, who said what, and what are the current problems. Discuss the problems with them and encourage them to come up with solutions to them. E.g. what are different ways to recycle plastic?
Encourage Creative Risk-Taking
Trying out something new involves risks; some may be big, others small. But doing anything new means taking risks. The idea might scare them but encourage them to go ahead no matter what for what is at the end will be worth the risks taken.
Fear is a destruction of creativity.
Jon M. Chu
Encourage children to do something creative, every day, for 100 days and ask them to document their progress. It may look easy but there’s more to it than meets the eye! Read more about the #100DayProject here.
In a Nutshell
Creativity defines us. It helps us open our minds and adds meaning to life. In today’s world, apart from just adding meaning, it has become an integral part of learning, one of the most important skills of the 21st century. It is time that instead of being spoonfed everything, our children learn to use their own minds so that they can become the changemakers who will innovate today for a better tomorrow.