In a society that thrives on deadlines and productivity, it’s tough for many adults to embrace their creative sides. And for busy parents, it can be even more difficult to help foster their kids’ creativity between after-school activities, homework and regular life.
We spoke to a play expert, an art teacher and an early childhood specialist at a children’s museum to discuss the importance of creativity in kids’ lives. They offered tips on how even the busiest parent can easily encourage children to observe, explore and imagine.
In a clinical report released in August, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that “the importance of playtime with children cannot be overemphasized” and suggested that play is a key factor in raising “creative, curious and healthier kids.”
Dr. Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College and author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, is also an advocate for playtime. He recently teamed up with footwear company Kamik for its #FreeYourPlay campaign, which encourages unstructured outside play. Gray notes that several factors, including lack of recess and access to playgrounds as well as certain toys, keep kids from fully exploring their creative sides.
“For example, Legos used to just sell you the bricks that kids love to play with to make their little creations … now they sell these kits with instructions on what to build,” Gray said. “The kids are not learning to be creative with that type of play.”
He added, “This whole message of there’s a right way to do it, that limits creativity.” Read more