Where would we be without vision, creative ingenuity, and artistic license? Our lives wouldn’t be very happy or exciting. Einstein recognized this, saying, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Both sides of the brain are important. If we neglect one side—like the right brain—we might end up losing our sense of color, texture, and wonder.
Children need to be encouraged to harness their innermost creativity and exercise their imaginations. Whether or not they become a visual or performing artist, or instead, a scientist, doctor, or lawyer, is no matter—every child needs exposure, early on, to imagination and creativity to develop fully.
Why not encourage kids to exercise their creativity and to express themselves artistically, whether creating works of art, writing their own song, book, or doing some other creative activity? Activate their imaginations and don’t box them in or limit creativity with too many rules and “Don’ts.”
An important way of helping children develop and grow in their communication skills, as well as their right-brained qualities, is to integrate books (in different formats—written, audio, and video) into their daily lives. Collect books and magazines as a mini-library and let them choose their favorites. The more they can be read to or read themselves, the more they will learn, develop, and grow. Helping children pronounce words correctly and define their meaning expands vocabulary and helps them become faster learners and better communicators.
Kids are known fidgeters and may not make it all of the way through story time, so make the activities entertaining to accommodate tiny attention spans. Kids can listen to music and/or make their own. Incorporate song and dance to get kids vocalizing musically and moving. Teach them the basics of music, give them instruments to play and the opportunity to make their own.
Let kids tap into their healthy imaginations and explore their creativity with a canvas or blank paper. Let them draw or paint (in any medium) whatever is on their mind or in their heart, and ask them to share the story behind it. Write down what the artists say about their work and ask for permission to share it with the group. Stage an artists’ showcase to display kids’ work, and encourage them to walk around and survey their own gallery exhibit.
Help kids write their own book, e-book, song, or poem, and share their art with others. Make sure you have everyone’s permission ahead of time, since some artists may not want their work included; it’s up to them. Kids can choose to sign their work, create it anonymously, or just initial and date their creation.
How about an informal, impromptu, or well-planned and rehearsed talent show or open mic for the kids? They can write their own program and invitations. Get the crowd excited as you introduce each talented performer and share a fun fact about each one. Kids can introduce themselves, announce what they are performing and tell the audience what they love about the talent they are sharing. Keep it simple, short, and sweet. Prepare them with an “encore” piece in case the audience wants to see more, and reward each performer with a fresh flower and thank them for a great performance afterward.
Offering regular opportunities to perform, whether giving a presentation, reading a book to others, or performing in talent shows or open mics can help kids overcome shyness, make them braver, and build their confidence. Having a positive experience with stepping outside their comfort zone, connecting with an audience, and overcoming performance anxiety can be beneficial for future life experiences.
As adults, our role in parenting, teaching, and mentoring our young ones is vital to their growth and development. I probably wouldn’t be a writer or author today if I had not been encouraged to read books every day as a child. Exposing kids early to freely cultivating their own unique inner creativity can make a positive difference in their lives. Foster a healthy, active imagination and creativity in each of your children. Enable them to live better lives!