Helping Our Sons and Daughters to Develop Creativity
Helping your son and daughter to develop creativity is another way of preparing them to enjoy life. A study showed that people who took different routes to work each day stayed more creative than those who took the same way. Creativity begins with breaking your routine and not being afraid to try out new things. Here are some suggestions on how to jump-start your child’s creative juices.
Listen to all forms of music. The folk songs of America can provide your son and daughter with a sense of cultural and historical identity. Expand your horizons by trying out music from other cultures and ethnic origins; this will also help to rid your child of any tendency toward ethnocentric ism.
Go to plays and live performances of all kinds. Many local theaters or music fairs offer a variety of children’s entertainment apart from their regularly scheduled adult programs. Check your local newspaper for times and locations.
Have a stock of art supplies at home. Be sure to include construction paper, glue, markers, paint, safety scissors, and other odds and ends. Relax, and don’t get nervous about the mess that’s created while a project is being completed. And remember to wear old shirts in case things get a little out of hand.
Show them how to make a fort or clubhouse out of anything on-hand. On rainy days it can be kitchen chairs with blankets draped over them. Outside, it can be discarded planks of wood, plywood or cardboard boxes.
Consider joining a square dancing club or enrolling the family in folk dancing lessons at the local YMCA.
Visit museums of all kinds; try a planetarium and the science institute. Find out if there are any archeological digs or building restorations going on near you.
Encourage your son and daughter to play a musical instrument; especially one you know how to play. Have plenty of sing-a-long tapes or CDs on hand.
Help your child to write a book or story of their own; use a computer or typewriter and help them with the cover art and binding.
If your son or daughter is the outdoors type, help them to plan a backyard or woodlot adventure. Help them to figure out everything they’ll need for “survival.” Invite neighborhood children to share the adventure.
Tim Hansel, president of Summit Expedition, in his book Creative Fathering, recommends developing a backyard or living-room Olympics.
All it takes is a little bit of creativity, a roll of masking tape, a wristwatch that measures seconds, a yardstick or tape measure and a few extra things like paper plates, sheets of paper and felt-tip markers. If you want, prepare make-believe gold, silver and bronze medals to hang around the necks of the winners. It all depends on how fancy you want to be. Your home-style Olympics can include such events as a standing one-foot broad jump, a standing two-foot broad jump, or a discus throw with a paper plate. If you’re in the backyard, use a large rock for a shot put. If you’re in your living room, use a wad of paper. Set up obstacle courses and see who can cover them in the best time.
In conclusion, perhaps movie and screen actor, Alan Alda, said it best when he wrote: “The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” And, that—my friend—is the best discovery of all!
 Tim Hansel (Terrytown, N.Y.: Fleming H. Revell Co.), p. 21.