While research on creativity is still incomplete, cognitive psychologists agree on a few important findings. The first is that most people can develop the ability to think creatively. The second is that creativity can be improved through practice. In addition to these key findings, researchers have demonstrated the following:
- The ability to think creatively increases as our knowledge base increases. A child who is a dinosaur expert, for example, can be more creative when working within the realm of dinosaurs than he or she can in topic areas that are less familiar.
- Creative geniuses typically have something in common – they schedule a regular time each day to be creative. In other words, they practice at thinking creatively on a very regular basis.
- Exercise has been linked to greater success in creative or “divergent” thinking – reasoning that requires coming up with a variety of solutions to a problem.
You can unlock the creative genius in your child by having a creativity kit on hand that is stocked with a variety of craft supplies and by setting aside time each day or week to practice solving problems, building unique structures, and making one-of-a-kind art. Practice making up stories with funny and wacky endings, where everyone in the family adds a different element or detail to the story or talk about the different ways you can solve a math problem. These fun and mind-building activities will hone your child’s ability to, and interest in, coming up with clever, useful, and interesting ideas.