Google+ Authentic Parenting: Encouraging Creativity in Children

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Encouraging Creativity in Children

Written by Gennifer Albin

One of the most important things to me as a parent is encouraging my children to be creative, because within the creative spirit lies the path of self-directed learning and exploration. I strongly believe that learning is correlated to interest. For instance, how surprised would my science teachers from high school be to learn that I think it’s fun, if intimidating, to read about quantum mechanics now? Believe me, they would be very, very surprised. In high school, I thought science was boring.
Textbooks and lectures were boring. I wonder if a teacher had thought to approach science from a creative perspective, if my attitude might have been different. As a parent, I encourage creative pursuits in the hopes that my children will see the world from that different angle at an early age so that they want to explore and engage with a variety of topics and ideas.

There are three simple things we do in our home to inspire creativity in our children:

Image: San José Library on Flickr
1. READ! It’s such a simple thing, and we certainly hear about literacy and language development and reading all the time. But on a fundamental level, reading encourages creativity. We read a variety of books at home from nonfiction picture books to classic stories to middle grade novels, we try to let the kids choose the books and topics they are interested in.
2. DRAW! My favorite gift to give at birthday parties is art supplies. I don’t think kids can every have enough drawing paper, pencils, crayons, markers, or paint. My five year-old’s wall is covered in his artwork. He draws pictures from the stories he reads, but he’s also creating his own characters now, naming them, and telling us about them.
3. WRITE! It’s never too early to write stories with your kids. Ask them to recount their day and write a story or encourage them to write a story about a topic of their choice. You’d be amazed how coherent even a very young child’s story is. When he was 3, my son dictated a three page/ 3 line story with a complete story arc about a bubble to me. He drew the pictures and we stapled it together.
And of course, there is a lot of singing and dancing and general silliness in the Albin household.
I hope that as my children grow up they continue to look at the infinite possibility in the world, to dream a better world, and to live the life they imagine.

About the author

Gennifer Albin is a recovering academic who realized she could write books of her own and discovered, delightfully, that people would read them. She lives in Kansas with her family and writes full-time. Her debut novel, Crewel, the first in a trilogy, will be published in October 2012 by FSG/Macmillan.
You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook. She also blogs infrequently at and weekly at The League of Extraordinary Writers.
Thank you!



Post a Comment

I love comments! Drop me a line