Creativity Made Easy Simple Steps to Flex Your Child's Creativity

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Parents are often looking for ways to build their child's creativity. This article offers simple, easy to follow steps for including creativity and imagination in everyday activities. These tips are free and fun, need no products or special time slots, and will help parents and kids increase creativity in their daily lives.

Aardvark Learning Center, the public outreach arm of Aardvark Adventure Stories, has outlined some simple steps for increasing children's creativity. Studies have shown that increased creativity leads to better problem-solving, is positively correlated with empathy and adaptability to change, and is an asset in education and the professional world. However, many parents express frustration that they are not given any instructions on building creativity as a skill.

Experts remind parents that creativity is like a muscle -- in order to build strength parents and children must work gradually and exercise their creativity often. A common experience that many parents share is that kids get discouraged early if their efforts are not immediately successful. Parents are encouraged to model a relaxed and non-judgmental attitude towards their child's creative endeavors. Children will sense their parent's disappointment, it is important to emphasize the process of creativity, rather than the results. Just by trying to be more creative, your children are succeeding.

Stephanie Walsh, of the Aardvark Learning Center, has worked with children and adults to improve their creativity. She recommends these simple exercises that can be added into any family event. But she cautions: "Creativity is an attitude as much as an event -- look at every situation as an opportunity to flex your creativity, rather than making 'use your imagination' another on a list of chores."

  •      Ask for creative solutions to everyday problems (could we use an elephant to clean up the spilled macaroni?).
  •      Play along: let your child lead the play sometimes and really get down there with them.
  •      Encourage curiosity and solution-finding. Sometimes the best answer to a "how" question is "Hmmm ... great question! I wonder where we can find an answer to that?"
  •      Explore possibilities. Ask questions like "would you rather ride a rocket ship or a horse to school?" or at the end of a favorite storybook "I wonder what happens next?" This will remind your child that "the end" never is, and that many problems have multiple solutions.
  •      Admire process without judgment or comparison. Rather than "what a pretty picture!" (they may have been trying to make something ugly, or just some blobs) say "I notice you used a lot of colors on that one".
  •      Reward reasonable risk-taking. A lot of creative solution-finding is trial and error. Don't be disappointed if the first (or second) try doesn't work. Show active curiosity "I wonder why that didn't work?" and encouragement "I wonder what else we can try".

These simple tips will not only encourage your child to flex his creativity, but they'll also build your creative muscles.

About Aardvark Learning Center (ALC): ALC is the public outreach and education project of Aardvark Adventure Stories. Aardvark Adventure Stories (http://www.aardvarkstories.com) encourages reading, creativity, positive self-esteem and connection through family with our unique photo-personalized children's books where the child stars! By photo-personalizing each book, Aardvark Adventure stories are unique and individual, just like the children they delight. Aardvark Adventure Stories maintains a commitment to fun, healthy learning and all of our products are free of commercial tie-ins or violence.

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Drew Freeman

Stephanie Walsh
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