I don’t think anyone ever denies that creativity is a good thing (except us mom who sometimes has to deal with the end results of our children’s creative messes and other disasters).  But often times there’s the question of how to foster it.  Summer is great time for kids to have more chances to be creative.

The thing that I’ve learned over time is that first and foremost, kids need the free time in order to be creative.  With few exceptions, most of us don’t operate with the idea of this is now “creative time” be creative.  Okay, we can do somethings, but most likely it’s not going to be our best work.  It most likely happens spontaneously.  Often if we don’t seize the moment (or at least take time to work with the ideas a bit) the ideas tend to fade into oblivion.

Second, kids needs some model or some initial ideas or basic skills.  This may sound a bit counter intuitive.  Why do they need some preset things in order to be creative.  Well, if they don’t have at least some working knowledge of somethings, they may be the most creative people who would have invented the wheels eons ago, but what’s the point.  They can take the preexisting things and upgrade them to something better.  Also, lets take art.  There are some basic skills that can open their door to greater creations if they are at least fluent in those skills.  Or maybe basic wood working skills which would enable them to design and put together more complex things.

Of course they would also need materials.  I have come to the conclusion that even if it’s just a phase, if my kids want materials to work on a project and the materials are not outrageously expensive, I’ll get it for them.  Of course I do not want to foster the idea of jumping from one thing to another and never finishing what they start, so this is a judgement call.

Finally, remove mindless distractions especially the super passive kind.  I’m not opposed to electronic entertainment such as movies and games.  But in order for creative juices to flow, they cannot be preoccupied by all these distractions.  So there is a time and place for these things, but they are best turned off for the most part.

My mom was right.  Kids need time to get bored so they can become creative.  So let them explore some new skills this summer, but also give them time to develop those skills and put them into new and creative uses.

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