Blog: Creating Creative Kids

February 17, 2020
Blog: Creating Creative Kids

Creativity is defined as the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. It is something that seems to become much harder for us to do as we get older. As we play with our children how often do we find ourselves going back to concrete ideas such as teaching them about the way things work and why?

As therapists we often need to integrate creativity into our sessions in order to engage the child and to spark curiosity in their play. We might pose statements to our children such as, “I wonder if elephants can fly? Look my elephant’s trunk is also a magic wand!” These ideas allow the child to imagine another world that is different to the world they are currently in.  They paint a picture in their mind and play a mini movie about what it could look like if that statement were to be true.  

There has been a well-researched link between children gesturing with their hands and an improvement in children’s creative thinking. Gestures help people to think and can help problem solvers generate new ideas.

A study [1] published in the journal Physiological Science, found that children who gesticulated came up with more ideas than those who did not. In the study researchers explored the relationship between children’s spontaneous gesture production and their ability to generate novel uses for everyday items (alternative-uses task). There was a significant correlation between children’s creative fluency and their gesture production, and the majority of children’s gestures depicted an action on the target object.

In Experiment 2, the children were encouraged to gesture, and this significantly boosted their generation of creative ideas. These findings demonstrate that gestures serve an important self-oriented function and can assist creative thinking. 

The benefits of creativity:  

  • Promotes flexibility  
  • Encourages problem-solving skills  
  • Encourages one to start and finish a task 
  • Promotes expressive language and sharing ideas with others 
  • Develops Theory of Mind (understanding another’s perspective) 
  • Encourages sharing one’s imagination with another  
  • Creates opportunity to practice formulating a plan and executing it. 

A few ways to get creative:  

  • Let your child be bored 
  • Model yourself being creative and flexible in everyday tasks 
  • Only talk with your hands 
  • Play Charades 
  • Make a one-word story each taking it in turns to say a word 
  • Draw a picture taking it in turns with each pencil stroke 
  • Make up a story with figurines and film it on the iPad 
  • Make up a new recipe from scratch  

Goodluck getting creative with your child! Remember there is no right or wrong way to get creative.  

We would love you to share your ideas and experiences with us.  

[1] Elizabeth Kirk, Carine Lewis. Gesture Facilitates Children’s Creative Thinking. Psychological Science, 2016 DOI: 10.1177/0956797616679183