How to inspire creativity in your kids

The benefits of creativity for kids seem endless. Creativity improves your child’s self-esteem, motivation, problem-solving skills, ability to deal with difficult feelings, view of the world, chances of future success, and more. Thankfully children are born with strong imaginations and a natural instinct for creativity. That creativity wanes, however, as they grow older and we expose them to more conventional, structured, and standardized ways of living.

Unsure where to start encouraging your child’s creativity? We compiled this list of 10 tips to help inspire your child’s creativity and keep it a priority in your home. Read on and then reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to share how you spark creativity in your own home.

Download the Jellies App

No unboxings. No ads. Just good, quality videos for kids.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

Introduce Your Child to a Variety of Creative Activities

You never know what will appeal to your child. Encourage your child to try singing, dancing, telling stories, drawing, and playing dress up help nurture their imagination and creativity. If you need some ideas, Dr. Priscilla J S Selvaraj of Parent Circle lists fun and creative activities you can do with your for kids like catwalk, cloud kaleidoscope, puppetry, role-play, and more.

Don’t Force Your Child to Do an Activity

Embrace what your child shows interest in rather than pushing them toward something they don’t want to try. For example, if your child enjoys coloring, prompt them to try similar activities like drawing or painting. If your child isn’t interested in playing music, forcing them will likely only make them stressed and less interested in the activity.

Encourage Your Child to Ask Questions

This is where a digital assistant, like Alexa, could come in handy, as we know how it’s difficult to keep up once the floodgates open. If your child isn’t naturally inclined to ask, turn the tables and ask them! “Why is the grass green?” “What makes a car move?” They might amaze you with their imaginative answers as they think about the world around them.

Nurture Your Child’s Problem-solving Skills

Demonstrate that there’s more than one way to use an item or solve a problem. For example, a pencil isn’t just for drawing and writing. A pencil can make a great drumstick or a hole punch or a pole for a mini fort. This teaches your child to consider different perspectives and look at everyday items in new ways.

Give Them Time to Be Bored

These days there are so many ways to keep your children busy. Between pre-school, chores, screen time, extracurriculars, and more, there’s little downtime. That downtime is critical, though, as it pushes children to think of new ways to entertain themselves. More than boosting creativity, boredom makes children more motivated, interesting, and psychologically sound, according to Mark Oliver of

Dedicate Space in Your Home to Creativity

This doesn’t need to be a full room. A corner or a desk or chest filled with play items works just as well. Abby of Abbynture recommends filling the area with things your child would use for imaginative play like old clothes, construction paper and crayons or other artistic supplies, building blocks, and more.

Schedule Time For Creativity

Regular, dedicated intervals of creative play help your child develop motor skills, concentration, and communication. They also make sure creative play is a priority in your family’s hectic life.

Make Sure All Screen Time Benefits Your Child

Choose kids apps like Jellies that commit to educating and inspiring your child’s imagination. For example, you’ll find lots of creative kids videos in Jellies like arts and crafts, dancing, drawing, amazing art, and balloon animals. What’s more, Jellies’ educational, exploration topics take your child across the world, into space, and under the sea. There’s a lot to see, learn, and do.

Give Your Child the Freedom to Make Mistakes

Jacqueline of Deep Roots at Home says that parents should celebrate creativity and talk to their children about their ideas and feelings instead of pointing out errors. When you focus on correcting mistakes, play becomes more about perfectionism than exploration and imagination. Do it too much and you might make your children afraid to try new things and express themselves.

Be Creative Yourself!

Show your child you value creativity by example. Start a new creative activity at home like cooking, sculpting, or painting. Surround yourself and your family with creative things by hanging art around the house, stocking your shelves with storybooks, and taking your child to plays and musical shows. The more you demonstrate creativity in your own life, the more important it will seem to your child.

PSAT Preparation Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

Whiteboards Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

Video Instruction Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

16 Hacks for Teaching Students to Solve Math Problems That Include Decimals and Fractions

Summative Assessment Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

Reluctant Readers Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

A Guide To The Core Components Of Reading Instructions For English Language Learners (ELLs)

Vocabulary Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

Video Content Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

17 Hacks for Teaching Kids to Use Steps to Solve Math Problems

How to inspire creativity in your kids

Do not fall into the trap of believing some children are just more creative than others. Creativity can be nurtured (or hindered) by parents and teachers. And, your children will need to be creative to be successful in the future. As Carolina A. Miranda explains, “Today’s toddler faces a universe of rapidly evolving technology, an ever-shifting global economy, and far-reaching health and environmental challenges — scenarios that will require plenty of creative thinking.” Let’s look at how you can inspire creativity in your children.

Turn Off the Screens

Technology is a beautiful thing – until it isn’t. While there are many benefits of technology, your children will benefit for limiting screen time. Designated screen time limits in your home. These rules will present opportunities for your children to be creative with the things around him/her. Free play is essential for creativity, and allowing limitless screen time eliminates these opportunities for free play.

Go Outside

All the most creative artists will tell you nature inspires them. This is also true for children. Children can explore their backyards to learn about nature. A walk in the woods can become a magical adventure. As children freely explore the world around them, they will be inspired.

Encourage Imagination

Encourage your children to use their imaginations regularly. Teach them to play pretend and took for magic amongst the ordinary. Give them opportunities to solve problems in imaginative ways. Set up a costume trunk and let them get into character. Show them that using your imagination is fun by allowing them to see you use your imagination. Tell them imaginative stories and pretend alongside them.

Make Some Messes

Creativity is messy. Just accept it. If you do not have a designated space for creative ventures in your home, then just have times when you make some messes. Science experiments, cooking, and art are just some of the creative activities you can do to inspire your children – and they are all sure to be messy!

Open Up the Books

Books open up the world of imagination. Read aloud with your children every day. Choose books that are full of fun characters and exciting adventures. Not only do books encourage your child to use imagination to visualize characters, setting, and events, but they also teach children ways to solve problems.

Embrace the Arts

Show your children that there are other forms of entertainment outside their screens. Take your children to see plays and dance performances. Then, encourage your child to participate by taking dance, art, or theater class.

Allow Room for Mistakes

It is hard to be creative when you are striving for perfection. Therefore, give your children room to make mistakes. Do not expect their artwork or performances to be perfect. Instead, teach them to find the beauty in their mistakes.

Inspire creativity in your children. Begin by recognizing that each child is unique and gifted with different talents. However, no matter how your child is naturally gifted, you can still nurture creativity in this area of his/her life.

7 Ways to Foster Creativity in Your Kids

Many people assume that creativity is an inborn talent that their kids either do or do not have: just as all children are not equally intelligent, all children are not equally creative. But actually, creativity is more skill than inborn talent, and it is a skill parents can help their kids develop.
Because it is a key to success in nearly everything we do, creativity is a key component of health and happiness and a core skill to practice with kids. Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes them more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as take advantage of new opportunities.

Many researchers believe we have fundamentally changed the experience of childhood in such a way that impairs creative development. Toy and entertainment companies feed kids an endless stream of prefab characters, images, props and plot-lines that allow children to put their imaginations to rest. Children no longer need to imagine a stick is a sword in a game or story they’ve imagined: they can play Star Wars with a specific light-saber in costumes designed for the specific role they are playing.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

Here are some ideas for fostering creativity in your kids:

How to inspire creativity in your kids

Provide the resources they need for creative expression. The key resource here is time. Kids need a lot of time for unstructured, child-directed, imaginative play –unencumbered by adult direction, and that doesn’t depend on a lot of commercial stuff (see this post about unstructured play).

Space is also a resource your kids need. Unless you don’t mind creative messes everywhere, give them a specific place where they can make a mess, like room in your attic for dress-up, a place in the garage for painting, or a corner in your family room for Legos.

Next time someone asks for a gift suggestion for your kids, ask for things like art supplies, cheap cameras, costume components, building materials. Put these in easy-to-deal-with bins that your kids can manage.

Make your home a Petri dish for creativity. In addition to creative spaces, you need to foster a creative atmosphere.

Solicit a high volume of different ideas, but resist the urge to evaluate the ideas your kids come up with. At dinnertime, for example, you could brainstorm activities for the upcoming weekend, encouraging the kids to come up with things they’ve never done before. Don’t point out which ideas aren’t possible, and don’t decide which ideas are best. The focus of creative activities should be on process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.

Encourage kids to make mistakes and fail. Yes, fail – kids who are afraid of failure and judgment will curb their own creative thought. Share the mistakes you’ve made recently, so they get the idea that it is okay to flub up. Laughing at yourself when you blow it is a happiness habit.

Celebrate innovation and creativity. Cover your walls with art and other evidence of creative expression. Tell your kids all about your favorite artists, musicians, and scientists. Share your passion for architecture or photography or that new band you want to listen to all the time. Embrace new technologies like Twitter so your kids grow to find change exciting, not over-whelming or intimidating.

Allow kids the freedom and autonomy to explore their ideas and do what they want. Don’t be so bossy. (If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, who knows what is.) Stop living in fear that they are going to be kidnapped or not get into a great college. Statistically, the odds are very low that they’ll be kidnapped, and I’m here to tell you that I’m not a happier person because I went to an Ivy League school.

External constraints—making them color within the lines, so to speak—can reduce flexibility in thinking. In one study, just demonstrating how to put together a model reduced the creative ways that kids accomplished this task.

Encourage children to read for pleasure and participate in the arts. Limit TV and other screen time in order to make room for creative activities like rehearsing a play, learning to draw, reading every book written by a favorite author.

Give children the opportunity to express “divergent thought.” Let them disagree with you. Encourage them to find more than one route to a solution, and more than one solution to a problem. When they successfully solve a problem, ask them to solve it again but to find a new way to do it (same solution, different route). Then ask them to come up with more solutions to the same problem.

Don’t reward children for exhibiting creativity: incentives interfere with the creative process, reducing the quality of their responses and the flexibility of their thought.

Allow children to develop mastery of creative activities that they are intrinsically motivated to do, rather than trying to motivate them with rewards and incentives. Instead of rewarding a child for practicing the piano, for example, allow her to do something she enjoys more – maybe sit at her desk and draw or take a science class.

Try to stop caring what your kids achieve. Emphasize process rather than product. One way you can do this is by asking questions about the process – Did you have fun? Are you finished? What did you like about that activity?

© 2008 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

Become a fan of Raising Happiness on Facebook.

Follow Christine Carter on Twitter

Subscribe to the Happiness Matters Podcast on iTunes.

It’s easy to get caught up in your everyday homeschool curriculum, focused on academics, and then forget the importance of creativity. If you’re stuck in a rut and need some new, creative ideas for your homeschool activities, you’re in luck! Here are five easy ways to inspire creativity in your kids.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

How to Inspire Creativity in Your Kids

Ditch the Tech

Technology is essential in homeschooling, but sometimes it can hinder creativity. Limiting screen time is a surefire way to encourage your children to be more creative. In addition to allowing your kids to think more freely without endless knowledge and entertainment at their fingertips, instilling screen time limits will also encourage your kids to play freely and use their imagination on a more regular basis.

Make a Mess

Creativity is often messy, so encouraging your kids to make a mess is another simple way to help them be more creative. Whether you pull out the finger paints during art time or conduct a messy science experiment, having a little messy fun once in a while is an easy way to encourage creativity. In addition to allowing your kids to use their imagination, allowing your kids to make a mess once in a while can be a freeing way to encourage your kid’s creativity.

Read Every Day

Books are an easy way to introduce your kids to new places and interesting people, making it simple for them to think creatively on a regular basis. Reading is a great way to help your kids use their imagination to visualize the characters and events in the stories, on top of helping your kids expand their mindset for future creative play.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

Inspire Creativity in your Kids – Allow Mistakes

Giving your kids the chance to make mistakes will help them hone their creative thinking skills and allow them to let their imagination run freely. Temper your expectations on your kids’ artwork and craft projects and praise their efforts over perfection. On top of allowing mistakes, it’s also important to give your kids creative latitude. Whether they enjoy drawing purple dogs or painting the sky green, allowing
your kids to create with their imagination is a simple way to encourage their creativity.

Give Them Space

Make it easy for your kids to be creative by providing them with a space especially designed for creative play. Stock the space with everything your kids need to be creative, including paint, crayons, markers, paper, scissors, pipe cleaners, beads, and any other craft supplies your kids enjoy using. Then, make sure the space is easily accessible so your kids can use it any time they feel a creative urge.

Childhood passes by so quickly, as we all know. Give your kids a chance now to exercise their creativity in positive ways so that they can grow up with a lifelong love of learning and ability to think creatively. God created us to follow His example and also be creative, so don’t be afraid to express that and let your kids have fun with it!

Check out all more parenting ideas here!

How to inspire creativity in your kids

How to inspire creativity in your kidsSara is a homeschooling mom of three girls. She writes at Heart and Soul Homeschooling, sharing ideas for learning that encourage creativity, curiosity, character, and connection. She is an author, speaker, and homeschool consultant. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon author page.

Grab our latest book for just $1

How to inspire creativity in your kids

Ditch the Modern Parenting Gimmicks!

Learn what the elite prep schools and royal families do (to raise children who have strong character and the motivation to do great things!)

How to inspire creativity in your kids

As an adult it is easy to see the benefits of being creative. Creativity can help when you are in tight situations or when you’re dealing with limitations and restrictions. In addition, creativity helps to bring out the individualist in yourself which can be a very rewarding experience. For these reasons and others, it is a good idea to inspire creativity in your kids.

How to Do It…

While you may agree that inspiring creativity is a good thing, you may also have questions about how to accomplish that goal. Not to worry, the team at Package From Santa has some tips and ideas that will help. Keep reading to learn about some ways to give your kids a nudge towards their creative instincts.

Make creative resources available to your kids

This can include everything from having a well-stocked craft box handy to being open to gathering a collection of such things as ‘dress up’ clothing and accessories. It’s also a good idea to ensure adequate time for unstructured activities/playtime.

Be supportive

Being supportive of your child’s creativity can help him/her feel more confident about making choices and using their own ideas. For instance, when coloring in a typical coloring book it is expected to color grass green and skies blue. But why not let your imagination determine the colors to use? Why not have purple grass and orange skies (or any other color)?

Encourage creative activities

While kids enjoy and need down time, it is also important for them to have times when they are active. This is a great time to help inspire creativity. For example, encourage your kids to put on plays or to write poems or songs.

Teach kids to look for the other way to find the same solution

When solving a problem of any kind, there is always more than one way to resolve the problem. This can relate to having a ‘plan A’ and a ‘plan B’: two plans that are designed to accomplish the same goal. This could be associated with clothing choices. Plan A may be clothing for a sunny day and Plan B may be used in case of rain and so it could include a raincoat or umbrella. A simple math problem can be analyzed to understand more than one way of getting the same answer. For instance, “Instead of adding 3+2 to get 5, you can add 4+1.”

Being creative can help you ‘be yourself’ in unique ways. It can be helpful in making the best of a less than perfect situation and it can even lead to enjoyable career paths. Please share your ideas about ways to encourage creativity in kids.

thoughts about parenting and life from below the surface

How to inspire creativity in your kids

I’ve been reading about creativity in children and it made me reflect on how I raised my kids. I’ve always considered creativity to be an innate talent, but according to science it’s a skill that can be fostered. As parents, we can promote the creative spirit by allowing space and time for creativity. That means allowing messes, free time–and getting out of the way. I’d let my kids have a tub of large chalk and draw all over our patio. It drove my husband crazy to come home from work and see our kids and their friends drawing all over our back yard. It hosed off, though. Also, I’d buy a roll of butcher paper and let them paint or draw across the patio, hoping they’d keep it on the paper. At the beach, they’d build villages with drip castles and loved to play chef at a restaurant. I’d patiently taste each creation (pile of wet sand) and tell them how delicious it was. I remember taking my kids to a photographer for Christmas pictures. I had them all dressed up in their matching red and green Gymboree outfits. My daughter was a baby and my son three. My son moved all the chairs and benches into two rows all facing forward. We asked him what he was doing and he explained he was building an airplane (the two lines of furniture were the seats and aisle.) The photographer was extremely patient as I tried to put everything back in it’s place. My mom was big on creativity and she allowed us to destroy our living room with forts of card tables and sheets, dig to China and build a pond for polliwogs. I remember making dozens of puppets with Woolite bottles as the heads and swatches of fabric for the clothing. Mom did get annoyed with me for chopping out a chunk of fabric from the center of all the yardage of fabric in her sewing room! What exactly is creativity? Here’s a definition: noun

  1. the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.“firms are keen to encourage creativity”

Here’s an excerpt from Greater Good Magazine 7 Ways to Foster Creativity in Your Kids by Christine Carter:

Many people assume that creativity is an inborn talent that their kids either do or do not have: just as all children are not equally intelligent, all children are not equally creative. But actually, creativity is more skill than inborn talent, and it is a skill parents can help their kids develop.

Because it is a key to success in nearly everything we do, creativity is a key component of health and happiness and a core skill to practice with kids. Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes them more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as take advantage of new opportunities.

Many researchers believe we have fundamentally changed the experience of childhood in such a way that impairs creative development. Toy and entertainment companies feed kids an endless stream of prefab characters, images, props and plot-lines that allow children to put their imaginations to rest. Children no longer need to imagine a stick is a sword in a game or story they’ve imagined: they can play Star Wars with a specific light-saber in costumes designed for the specific role they are playing.

Carter has a bunch of tips of things we can do to promote creativity that includes giving kids space and resources for creative play. Also she says it’s important to allow our kids to make mistakes and fail. If they’re afraid of failure their creativity will be stifled. Limiting screen and TV time will give kids a chance for art and reading. Another bit of advice is to not tell our kids what to do. For example, I made my daughter take piano lessons for years against her will. She would have been much better off following her own passions like making mosaics and painting. For years she made gifts for her friends by getting a few supplies from Michaels and using her creativity. For a complete list of her tips, read the article here.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

What are some of your children’s favorite creative things to do?

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” Neil Gaiman

As I write, we are enduring a windchill of -21 and our 3rd snow day this week. The Polar Vortex 2019 they are calling it. The perfect weather for creative indoor projects. My boys have been relishing this extra time to pour themselves wholeheartedly into their Lego projects. We also baked birdseed cookies to hang on the trees outside.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

My 9-year-old is currently making a full set of armor out of cardboard. He LOVES cardboard. He wields it like a blacksmith forms metal and with it can create just about anything.

I hear him humming a Star Wars tune. The snow is blowing fiercely outside and I can’t see my neighbors’ house. But inside it is warm and there is creative clarity. He is full of energy and passion as he works out his full artistic vision for this cardboard wonder.

Creating this armor with his hands… cutting, coloring and taping is satisfying and joyful work for him.

Creativity is important. And not just because it helps our wellbeing or can elevate our mood. It is also entwined with how we learn and how we express our unique personality. It is a key part of what makes us human. And it is a skill that we can help our kids hone and sharpen as they grow.

Cultivating creativity helps us on our way to becoming flexible thinkers, problem solvers, innovators and idea generators. Nothing new will be invented without creativity. Creativity is a highly valuable skill needed for life and work. Educators and employers are realizing more and more the importance of having this skill.

“The principle goal of education should be to create people who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done … who are creative, inventive, and discoverers.” – Jean Piaget

As I was thinking about cultivating creativity in our home, I thought of a few simple things that have helped us along the way. Maybe you will be inspired to give them a try too.

1. Offer blank paper

Giving kids a stack of blank paper without lines is like giving them freedom. They have to engage the creative side of their brain when presented with an empty “canvas”.

I can’t tell you how much my boys drawings delight me. It is like a window into their minds. You will find out how they are interpreting life, what they are learning, their biggest dreams, fears and what they are interested in.

We buy paper in reams. If you can find it in a roll, even better. My kids love BIG paper. My husband was telling the boys one day, “If you are going to take paper out of the printer, you needed to use the short size. The long paper (what we call legal size in our house) is too expensive.” Tyler looked longingly out of the window and said, “When I grow up, I am going to buy myself some long paper”.

That year we wrapped up a ream of legal-size paper for him for Christmas and he was delighted.

You will also want a selection of creative tools. Pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, scissors and tape. Lots and lots of scotch tape. Buy it in bulk. I don’t even know where it all goes, but they are always asking for more.

If the word “creativity” brings on visions of a thousand snips of paper on the floor and scrubbing glitter glue out of little mops of hair, I get it.

Sometimes the everyday mess of dishes and crumbs and laundry and diapers is already too much. Inviting your kids to come and make another mess for you to clean up sounds ridiculous and exhausting.

If you are in that season of motherhood right now, then think simple. You do not need to offer googley eyes, glitter and paint to give them the opportunity to grow in creativity.

Start with paper and color pencils. There is something to be said for how creativity can really blossom when faced with limitations.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

2. Offer simple instruments

My husband has all the musical ability between the two of us. I love listening to him play his guitar. Music has a way of inspiring my paintings like nothing else.

A few years ago, he set up a keyboard in the play room. His hope is that they would use it to play, explore and create. And it has proved to be a wonderful tool.

They regularly try to play songs they have heard and make up new ones. Lately, my youngest has been strolling around the house, serenading us with his harmonica. Having simple instruments around is a great way to inspire musical creativity in your kids.

3. Expose them to beautiful art

My favorite way to do this throughout the years has been through children’s books. Snuggling with my boys under a cozy blanket with a pile of new books from the library is my favorite way to connect with my boys. You will be amazed at the variety of beautiful and diverse styles of art you will see. And the stories themselves will inspire creativity and imagination.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

4. Listen while you work.

When you are not reading them stories, why not listen to them? My boys love to build or draw while listening to a good story. There is just something about engaging our mind in an imaginative story while working with our hands.

Maybe it fends off the negative and perfectionistic thoughts that kill creativity? Or maybe using our imagination to bring the story to life keeps our minds in that creative place? I’m not sure. But something about it is really special for us. Maybe it will be for you too.

5. Be the model

We teach best what we model. Show your kids that making time for your own creative project is important. It will speak volumes.

Once I started painting more regularly, I saw my boy’s creativity really take off. Getting excited about painting inspired them to take on their own creative projects and feel good about it.

6. Go on a curiosity hike.

Go for a nature hike and make the goal to stop often and explore. Let your little ones guide you. Leave plenty of time, and bring water and snacks.

Stop and touch the moss, collect leaves and sticks. Smell the wildflowers, listen for woodpeckers and watch the squirrels.

Children are wonderful teachers of wonder. They naturally delight in the smallest of things and find treasures everywhere.

It is a gift they can give us if we allow them. And giving them the gift of time for exploring, is a way we can honor this natural sense of wonder they possess. I often find that after a curiosity hike we return home refreshed and full of inspiration.

Chances are, you are already fostering creativity in your kids in a variety of ways. What ideas do you have that have worked well for you? I would love to know. Is there a new idea that you would like to try soon?

Let’s inspire this generation together to be the creative thinkers, artists, engineers, musicians and innovators of tomorrow.

Creativity is a valuable skill, and there are common strategies teachers can use to help students develop it.

How to inspire creativity in your kids

Creativity is the most difficult thinking skill to acquire, and also the most sought-after. We value it in our music, entertainment, technology, and other aspects of our existence. We appreciate and yearn for it because it enriches our understanding and can make life easier.

Creativity always starts with imagination, and history shows that many things we imagine are later actually created. Gene Roddenberry imagined the Star Trek flip communicators in 1966, and Motorola produced them in 1996. In the mid 1800s, Augusta Ada King envisioned a language for computing machines that didn’t even exist; today she is honored as the founder of modern programing languages.

When Benjamin Bloom identified what he called the taxonomy of the cognitive domain, he ranked synthesis (creativity) as one of the most difficult skills to master because a person has to use all of the other cognitive skills in the creative process. Since, according to Bloom, creating is the highest order of thinking, it should be in the forefront of all learning environments and an end goal. When students create what they imagine, they’re in the driver’s seat.

Creativity in the Classroom

When designing learning experiences, teachers can plan and frame curriculum and provide tools that give students options, voice, and choice in order to enable them to be creative. In my work in schools, I’ve found four things that successful teachers do to develop creativity in their students.

1. Set up learning activities that allow students to explore their creativity in relevant, interesting, and worthwhile ways. Classroom example: Fourth-grade students are presented with a sample of rocks. They are to devise tests to determine what kind of rocks they have based on the definitions they’ve studied. Students find their own ways to determine differences in hardness, color, and shapes.

Another classroom example: A kindergarten class creates a new illustrated book each week that celebrates a different member of the class or an adult at the school. Each book is full of pages drawn by each student. They have the full liberty of depicting what the person likes and how they perceive him or her.

2. Value creativity and celebrate and reward it. Classroom example: Third-grade students are learning about polygons and to see if they know the concept, the teacher takes them outside and gives each student a sidewalk chalk. Each student is given the task of drawing several examples of polygons on the driveway.

Once the students have accomplished this, the teacher tells the students to transform those shapes into something they love. The students want to show everyone their geometric-based kittens, robots, and dragons and then have an opportunity to explain to the whole class why they liked them.

3. Teach students the other skills they need to be creative. Classroom example: A second-grade class is learning about the concept of freezing. The teacher asks one question to get them started, “Does only water freeze?” The students then design an experiment to determine what other things freeze. The limit is that they can only use what they have in the classroom at the time.

The students come up with a list of things that they will leave outside to see if they freeze: water, juice, vinegar, glue, glass cleaner, toothpaste, and paper. Some suggestions they decide are already solids and shouldn’t go outside: pencils, erasers, and books (but somehow paper stays on the test list). The next day, they discuss their findings and have engaging conversations about why the paper is stiff and the vinegar has not frozen.

The initial discussion among students about what might freeze fosters skills such as advocating for one’s ideas and compromising. The follow-up discussion encourages deductive reasoning and active listening.

4. Remove constraints for creativity and give the students space and a framework in which they can be creative. Classroom example: A sixth-grade class produces Halloween costume plays. In order to wear costumes to school, the students have to write a play that incorporates each of their characters into a plot and then present the play. For instance, they have to come up with how a giant soda can and the superhero Wonder Woman will interact. The students love the challenge.

We Learn by Doing

Imagination and creativity are the traits that fuel the future. Both serve to inspire students and should be integrated into every part of learning. In planning and designing learning for students, this we know: Teaching students how to think is more important than teaching students what to think.