Welcome to part two of the Sprout series on kids’ creativity. Last week we talked about giving your kids the encouragement that they need to overcome the challenges that they will face. This week we are going to talk more about some things you can do to really get the creative juices flowing in your child.
The Source of Creativity
To the ancient Greeks, creativity came from a guiding spirit called a muse. This phrase has been adopted into our language to mean a source of creative inspiration.
Lots of famous artists have a muse. For some of them it is a person. John Lennon had Yoko Ono. For some of them it is a place. Wordsworth had Tinturn Abbey. For others it could be something entirely different.
Finding the muse is one of the greatest quests that any creative person will embark on. But one thing is sure. You can’t find inspiration by sitting in your bedroom.
You will never know what sparks your child’s creativity unless you get out and help them find it.
When I was a kid I thought that I wanted to be an engineer and design cars. I used to draw sleek red sports cars in my spare time. My parents were aware of my obsession and so they arranged for our entire family to take a trip to the Detroit Auto Show to see all the cars. They packed all 4 of us kids into the station wagon, drove for 5 hours, and paid for a few nights at a hotel all so that I could explore my interests.
If your child shows an interest in something help them to explore it. If they like dinosaurs find the closest natural history museum. If they like space then maybe take a trip to NASA. Take them out and get them into places where they can see and experience new things.
There are all kinds of opportunities if you just look for them. Community events and local art shows are a great place to start.
When I was growing up we did not live near many museums or large art galleries. There were no theatres or operas. We had to travel long distances to get to any of that. But my parents still found ways to help us experience new things.
My house was always full of books. My dad had hundreds of western novels and my mom had numerous biographies, auto-biographies, and historical novel. They were always reading something and so we read a lot too. I still remember some of the books that we had on the coffee table. One was a giant illustrated collection of Greek mythology.
I know earlier I said that you can’t find inspiration sitting in your room. That was a misleading statement. It is true that you can’t find inspiration sitting in your room, but you can find it reading in your room. Books can open up new worlds and expose your kids to new ideas that will give them fuel for their creative fires.
Even most small communities have a library. Take your kids for a visit. Get involved in the activities that they have. Encourage them to read about anything and everything.
Let your children explore their interests. The deeper and broader their well of inspiration is the more innovative their creations will be. Picasso’s famous style drew from a number of different influences. He took many of the distinct elements of African sculpture and melded them with his more traditional painting experience to create something entirely new.
The inspiration for your child’s creativity can come from any number of sources and from anywhere. You won’t know what it is until you find it. The best thing you can do to help your children is to expose them to as many different creative influences as you can.