Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting Creative - This Summer and Beyond

Two more weeks 'til school's out!

Are you ready?

It's the time of year when kids are looking forward to year-end field trips, parents are thinking about daycare and activities to keep little hands (and minds) occupied, and teachers are propelling themselves toward the finish line and...summer break!

Summer is a great time for parents to encourage kids to be creative -- to let go of the constraints of assignments, expectations, and the limitations of each school day.

While summer is an ideal time for this, actively using each day throughout the year to foster creativity is even better.

When we encourage our young children to follow their interests, to be silly and playful, to take chances and not worry about making mistakes, we inevitably help them learn how to be creative.

Leading creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson, defines creativity as "the process of developing new ideas that have value." If we think about it further, creativity is what leads to improved problem solving skills, gray area thinking, and the ability to be visionary adults.

Who doesn't want that for their children?

For kids, creativity gives birth to a world that is filled with possibilities, options for making choices both now and when they grow older. It brings into being a sense of flexibility and hope, which our children will need to surmount life's smaller challenges as well as its major obstacles.

There are many good reasons beyond this, and ways, to foster creativity at an early age. Dr. Stanley Greenspan writes about this in his book, Great Kids: Helping Your Baby and Child Develop the 10 Essential Qualities for a Happy, Healthy Life.

Yes, creativity matters no matter what path your child takes someday. In his funny and passionate talk at this year's TED conference, Sir Ken Robinson discusses this as he makes a moving case for reforming our educational system, placing creativity at the top of the priority list for our children. Watch him here: