Today, creativity is considered one of the most important qualities our children need. In a world where everything is constantly changing, being creative is valuable. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the longest study ever conducted on the significance of creativity. It began back in 1958 and lasted for 50 years. Those who were the most creative as children greatly benefited from it as adults, both in their professional and personal lives. Creativity increased their ability to withstand adversity and adapt to changes.
Creativity as an essential trait
Fortunately, we humans are creative superstars. Intelligent animals like chimpanzees, crows, and elephants can use simple tools, but they have little to compare to our creativity. Creativity is the driving force behind all the art and technology that surrounds us. It is needed in all kinds of professions, from arts to mathematics, language, and science.
The roots of creativity in the brain
However, it is a myth that creativity resides in the right hemisphere of the brain. When we think creatively, brain scans show that the brain switches between two different thinking modes. One activates areas in the back of the brain that we use when we relax, daydream, and unwind. The other mode, on the other hand, activates areas in the frontal lobe, involving working memory and various thinking techniques. Therefore, it is believed that creativity arises at the intersection of unconscious and conscious processes, with both brain hemispheres being involved.
Creativity and knowledge: A symbiosis
Being creative is an active process, and when we are creative, the brain releases the reward signal dopamine in its interior. That’s why it feels good to think that way. Creativity promotes joy and motivation. We can experience it as both thinking outward and inward. In one moment, we see things from new perspectives and associate them with things we know and have experienced. Then, we narrow down and choose a solution. Creativity collaborates with experience and knowledge. Highly creative people are also knowledgeable, and we become more creative as we grow older if we are allowed to develop our creativity while we learn.
Practical tips to promote creativity in children
Always have materials available for creating, drawing, and painting. Explore different materials and techniques together. Good activities include woodworking, knitting, crocheting, sewing, programming, drawing, painting, ceramics/clay, and more. Find books with puzzles to solve. Solve them together. Discuss problems that do not have clear answers. Try to find different solutions. The problems can range from school assignments to challenges in extracurricular activities to societal issues. Explore different ways of cooking. Explore different ways to conduct an experiment. Explore how something can be repaired.
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