How to Nurture Creative Intelligence in Kids
Imagine, you’re travelling somewhere, your car breaks down, your little ones are restless, and if all that isn’t enough, your phone’s battery gives out just as you are about to call for aid. Stressful? Absolutely! In this situation, how you solve the problem is exactly how one can define creative intelligence; it is the ability to solve problems in unique ways. Right now, different people reading this article would have thought of very different ways to solve this problem.
That is what makes creative intelligence an intrinsic skill, rather than a learnt skill. If nurtured from a young age, children’s innate creativity can lend itself to build unique problem solving skills in the later stages of life.
At a young age, children pick up concepts in very different ways - from patterns and pictures, to sounds, smells, observation and imitation. While a parent doesn’t have to “teach” a child to read, sometimes, children pick up reading on their own. This is the child’s innate ‘creativity’ and ‘intelligence’ working together. For instance, if a parent reads the same story to a child over a period of time, and the child looks at the pictures, words and pages, the child may pick up certain keywords important to the story. Over time, he/she will look at more pictures, hear the words they know and new words, as well as observe everything their parents do. With enough time, the child will be able to ‘read’ a sentence or part on his or her own.
The example above is to show that the child may understand that ‘The bear was big, brown and cuddly’ - through pictures, sound, and as a part of the pic, and therefore will be able to point and say it. However, he/she may or may not necessarily be able to to identify ‘big’, ‘bear’ ‘brown’ ‘cuddly’ as separate words. That doesn’t mean the child can’t read those words; he/she understands them together, with reference to the story. These are the building blocks of creative intelligence and reading too!
Creative intelligence is how you use the information, resources and tools available to you for creative thinking and problem solving. Since creative intelligence is more instinctive in nature, it cannot be taught. However, by nurturing a child’s real creativity from an early age, one can help them with a strong sense of creativity, and creative intelligence.
How to nurture children’s creativity?
Creativity doesn’t come with a label - there are many sides to it. The first thought that most people come up with when hearing the word ‘creative’ is ‘art’, ‘drawing’ or ‘painting’. However creativity also includes movement, music, writing, thinking, and even speaking.
As a parent, how can we nurture our little one’s creativity to help them express their creativity in the best way possible?
- Allow/ make room for questions and curiosity:
It is in every child’s nature to be curious. They are still in a space of understanding the world around them. Every single thing is an option for curiosity and questioning. As a teacher, I had a child who asked me, “Ma’am, how do mosquitoes use the toilet? They are so small.” I was stumped. It made me push my own creativity and imagination to even think of an answer.
Allowing a child to ask their questions, also shows parents and teachers, where the child’s curiosity and creativity lies. The more curious or creative a child is, the higher their creative intelligence could be later in life.
As a parent, some questions that you can ask are “how did you think of that?”, “how could we do this differently?”, “why did you do it like that?”, “what is easy for you?”, “what is hard for you?”. These are questions that help parents understand their child’s inner voice, thinking and mind.
- Create a ‘creative zone’ for your little one:
A creative zone is a space where your little one has all the freedom to express himself/herself. My recommendation for a creative zone is a space where there are art supplies, maybe a part of the wall can be painted with chalk paint, there are different kinds of art supplies, maybe (affordable) music instruments - just a space of dun for your little ones.
If you are worried your little one may make a mess, it’s always a good idea to cover the floor in that area with a rubber mat (or a tarpaulin sheet). Also, this would be a great space to have rules about the boundary (set a space in the house or a balcony), but not have too many rules about what can be done in the space, while always ensuring safety!
- Role Play and Act:
Once in a month, or once every 2 or 3 months, have a ‘family’ evening, where everyone can come dressed up as a character, animal, or something they like. Parents could put on a small play or dance, children could practice and put on a puppet show, or the whole family could dress up as people from their favorite stories and spend an evening together acting like the characters would.
This is a great way to do something ‘out of the box’ - it is exciting, fun, encourages creativity, helps family bonding, and even allows parents to understand their children better.
- Nurture your own creativity:
‘Through others, we become ourselves’, while this quote isn’t always true for an adult, it is one of the biggest truths for children. It is through observation and imitation that children form their views of the world and themselves, in their early years. If they see their parents reading, they are curious about reading; if they see their parents working, they are curious about the work; whatever they see their parents do, they are curious about it and therefore observe and imitate.
Nurturing your own creativity (whatever that is to you) will help your little one in the long run. They will observe you enjoying yourself in the truest sense and build their own confidence to nurture their creative sides. For instance, if you love painting and you paint once every week, your little one will see how much you love painting and how happy you are while you paint. Initially, they may join you and paint (imitation), eventually that will lead them to learn their own creativity and passion (it could be anything!)
There is no recipe for creativity. It is important to keep trying, adjusting, nurturing and embracing the result. While creativity can be nurtured, it is an important step in moulding and bringing out a person’s innate quality and skill of creative intelligence.
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