Creative thinking is the most sought skill of modern times. Your child is born with abundant creativity. Like any other skill, creative thinking can also be nurtured, right from early childhood.
What exactly is creative thinking?
The art of creative thinking is the ability to use imaginative ways to express our thoughts. This can also be seen while approaching a problem from multiple angles to arrive at an efficient solution.
An example of creative thinking might look like,
Your child is trying to put pompoms in a bottle.
On the surface it may seem like your child is just playing, but your child will be working on crucial skills such as problem-solving using logic (convergent thinking), approaching the problem step-by-step (lateral thinking), trying and testing different approaches (inspirational thinking) or analyzing the aesthetic properties of the ball (For instance, color, texture, etc.,) they are playing with (aesthetic thinking).
What are the benefits?
Thinking out-of-the-box Improves cognitive function as it involves the functioning of various parts of the brain together (whole brain development).
Expressing creativity Boosts self-esteem, reduces stress, and improves the overall mood.
Children who can think creatively are better at emotional regulation as they can express themselves effectively.
Ways to boost creative thinking in children
Encouraging your child’s creative thinking can be done on a day-to-day basis, without the need for any hard curriculums or creativity-boosting toys. Here are some simple ways through which you can bond with your child and cultivate creative thinking through play.
1. What if?
This is a super fun activity that you and your child can enjoy with lots of imagination. It is also an excellent language-building opportunity and promotes out-of-thinking ability. To play this game, think of a scenario and add a little twist to it. Ask open-ended questions to your kids.
What if you can touch the cloud one day?
What if you can drive an airplane? Where would you go?
What if cows can fly?
Art is the most expressive medium to bring out creativity. All you need is some watercolors and blank paper to bring your child to the world of art. You can also give them sponges, crayons, sketch pens, and brushes to paint and draw.
For younger kids, stick the paper to a table or on the floor with tapes and let them explore their creativity with their fingers.
Toddlers can use mix up the colors, make it into an experiment and enjoy making a mess.
3. Dramatic play
Take that pile of clothes and ask your children to dress up the way they want. They can use all their imagination and come up with a new avatar, maybe a superman firefighter.
For older kids, you can extend this dress-up into a drama by role-playing. Let them weave their own story with imagination and take turns with the dialogues.
You can also give them story prompts such as, ‘Superman helping firefighters’ and how ‘Princess saves the dog’ to help them come up with the story. Your kids will enjoy making up scenarios that will exercise their creative muscles and spark their creativity.
4. Encourage more pretend play
Children love to pretend play. They are wired to think creatively and explore their imagination. Give them random things like animal figurines, kitchen utensils, clay, etc.,
Just sit and observe how well they are interconnecting completely unrelated things and play with a flow. This is a win-win situation for both of you, as you can get that much-needed break, and also your child can enjoy playing on their own.
5. Name it
Ask your child to look around and point to things that are ‘BLUE’ in color, as an example. Give them different sets of things to look out for. This activity will strengthen their problem-solving ability and attention to detail around the environment.
You can do this activity anywhere when you’re out for a walk, in a mall or even in your living room.
6. Cut and paste
Just take some paper, scissors, and glue. Ask your child to cut the papers in any form and paste the papers with the help of glue on a sheet. They can create any object they want, with bits of paper.
You can also provide them help, by outlining a cat(or any object they prefer ) and asking them to fill in the details with the paper.
Apart from these, you can play classical or any instrumental music in the background, involve them in cooking, have some fun with dance party which can help them to think freely and come up with new solutions.
As Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun!”. Let your kids have that fun along with play.