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How to foster creativity in kids during pandemic

To foster creativity in your children, try out these seven ideas from Christine Carter, PhD who heads the  Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

  1. Provide the resources they need for creative expression. The key resource here is time. Kids need a lot of time for unstructured, child-directed, imaginative play – all this minus any adult direction. Space is also a resource they’d need. Give them a specific place where they can make a mess – a room for cosplay, a set table for crafts, etc
  2. Make your home a petri dish for creativity. Solicit a high volume of different ideas, but resist the urge to evaluate the ideas your kids come up with. Brainstorm activities for the upcoming weekend, encouraging the kids to come up with things they’ve never done before. Don’t point out which ideas aren’t possible, and don’t decide which ideas are best. The focus of creative activities should be on the process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.
  3. Allow kids the freedom and autonomy to explore their ideas and do what they want. External constraints like making them colour within the lines (for instance), can reduce flexibility in thinking. In one study, just demonstrating how to put together a model reduced the creative ways that kids accomplished this task.
  4. Encourage children to read for pleasure and participate in the arts. Limit TV and other screen time.
  5. Give children the opportunity to express “divergent thought”. Let them disagree with you. Encourage them to find more than one route to a solution, and more than one solution to a problem.
  6. Try to stop caring about what your kids achieve. Emphasise process rather than product. One way you can do this is by asking questions about the process – Did you have fun? Are you finished? What did you like about that activity?

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