Holiday Presents, Children and Creativity
An article in Newsweek stated, For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. It was reporting the latest results from the Torrance Tests of Critical Thinking which evaluates the CQ,creativity quotient,of Americans. This test has been ongoing with children since the 1950s. “Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance’s tasks grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers,” write Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, authors of the Newsweek article. “The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.”
This brings me to how important it is that children be given time to use their imagination in what some parents might see as non-productive ways. Do you remember saying to your little friends let’s pretend xyz or as my friends and I said, playlike xyz? Children need time to pretend and older children need time to daydream. Ideas often come when we are doing nothing! Much of TV does not encourage pretending nor do video games. Parents arrange (and often manage) play dates and sporting outings.
An active imagination is at the heart of thinking creatively. So instead of buying all the canned entertainment/technology for holiday presents, be creative yourself and think about what you could give your child that encourages an active imagination. Dance lessons? A book on magic tricks? Tickets to a play or a symphony? A telescope? A box full of old jewelry or clothes for dressup? An art kit? Games that require thought? Enrich their environment.
Teach your children to think out of the box. Laugh at crazy ideas’and listen to them without being judgmental! Talk to your child about creative children. Tell them it’s okay to be interested in things that don’t interest their friends. One successful author said, My elementary school experiences were awful … if (only) somebody had told me back then that I was ‘creative’ I would have had something to hold on to. All I know was that I was different.
Copyright 2014, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
P.S. Please see my other column SmileNotes.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.