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4 Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking

Children tend to express creativity in everything they do, and it often catches adults off-guard. People don’t necessarily become less creative as they age, but they do gain more inhibitions.

Fostering creativity is one of the most effective ways to ensure your child’s academic success because it encourages him or her to look at problems from all different angles. Read on for four ways you can encourage creative thinking at home:

1. Do More Than Just Talk About the Future

Adults love asking children what they want to be when they grow up because the answers are almost always heartwarming, insightful and a little entertaining. You can foster creativity by doing more than just asking your children what they aspire to be, though. Take their answer–whether it’s a fireman, ballerina or architect–and do something with it.

For example, if your child wants to be an architect, Parents recommends heading to the local playground and talking about what makes a good park. Then, when you get home, dig out all your craft supplies and help your child design his or her own “dream playground” using pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and anything else you happen to have on hand. Tackling a tangible project that relates to a child’s passion is one of the easiest ways to inspire the motivation needed to pursue it.

2. Read the Paper Together

Your children might not be interested in the election or what’s happening on Wall Street, but they’ll likely enjoy the comics. Read the paper together over breakfast and see which comic strip makes your kids laugh out loud. The next time you sit down together to work on an art project, suggest that you draw your own comics, and watch what everyone comes up with–they may be more creative than you realize. Don’t get the morning paper? There are tons of digital comics online that you can access for free, and of course every Panda Pals subscription box comes with a story about Nikos and his friends!

3. Bring Books to Life

There are so many great children’s books in print that the whole family can enjoy. If your kids have a fairly large age gap between them, check out the Harry Potter series or books by Roald Dahl, so you can keep the older kids entertained, too. Read a chapter or two every night before bed, and when you finish, plan a weekend afternoon where you can bring the story to life.

For example, if you read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, you could organize a quidditch game in your backyard. Just finished James and the Giant Peach? Make a peach themed dinner, complete with mango peach salsa as a starter and peach pie as dessert.

If you incorporate aspects of the stories you read together into your daily activities, your children will start looking for ways to bring the books to life, and they’ll become far more attentive, which will ultimately improve their overall comprehension skills.

4. Learn a New Language

NBCNews explored why children seem to pick up new languages so quickly and determined that it’s easiest to do so between birth and the age of 7. That doesn’t mean it’s too late for adults to learn new languages, though. Studying a foreign language has countless benefits, including improving a person’s grasp on his or her native language. If your child wants to be a writer, being bilingual is only going to help.

Much like reading books, you can encourage your whole family to study a new language by incorporating it into your everyday life. Want to learn Italian? Find a few pasta dishes that you’re eager to try, and go over some new vocab every night at dinner.

Creative people tend to be more successful because they develop strong analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. You can foster creativity in your home on a daily basis, and chances are, your family won’t even realize you’re doing it!


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