Many of us believe that creativity and imagination are the kind of talents that we are either born with or without. Just as all the children are not equally intelligent, all children are not equally creative. However, in reality, creativity and imagination are more of skills than talents that the parents can help them develop and improve.
Since creativity is the key to success, it acts as a key component of acquiring a healthy and happy lifestyle. Creativity is not limited only to artistic or musical expressions. In fact, it is useful in fields of science, mathematics, social as well as emotional intelligence. Creative people are better at problem solving, more flexible at adapting to changes, learning new technologies and grabbing new opportunities to secure a brighter and a better future.
The definition of creativity varies from person to person and from toddler to toddler. One definition focuses on the process of divergent thinking that involves,
Breaking up of odd ideas
Making new connections
Enlarging the limits of knowledge/data
Onset of wonderful ideas
By encouraging creative thinking, we help the children to motivate them to maintain their passion for in depth learning. Encouraging the toddlers to keep on generating new ideas helps in fostering their creative thinking ability.
When the toddlers get comfortable with uncertainty, they start developing complex thinking skills. For instance, Raghu, an older toddler, was happy to be invited to his best friend’s birthday party, but he also felt grumpy because he did not receive the same remote controlled car that his friend received as a birthday gift. Toddlers need help in understanding the fact that it is not only possible but also acceptable to hold contradictory/opposite ideas or emotions at the same time.
You can help the toddlers understand that:
Some emotions and desires are the same as those of other people, while some are different.
A friend may want to play the same game as you do sometimes, but not always.
They can do some things right now and some things later.
An idea can be good or bad depending on the situation.
There are always consequences and alternatives to actions.
This kind of thinking leads to sharpening reasoning skills and sparks a toddler’s own creative solutions to problems/conflicts.
In order to enhance your toddlers’ creativity, you need to keep a few things in mind:
An important way to learn about their self worth is by the conversations they have with us.
Be generous with the positive descriptions of the toddlers’ work and their ideas.
Stay focused on the uniqueness of your young one and the challenges to nurture his/her creativity and trust.
Host group meetings where your toddler can freely express his/her ideas, particularly in the area of problem solving.
Questions Without Answers
One of the best ways to get your toddler’s creative juices flowing is by asking open ended questions. Here are a few open ended questions that you can ask your toddler to inspire and stimulate their creativity and imagination:
What would happen if it rained every Sunday?
What if cars never wore out?
If you saw a mouse, chewing on your mommy’s favourite dress, what would you do?
If a cow, a bee and a monkey got together, what would they talk about?
What would happen if the cats could fly?
What would happen if all the shoes in the world were of the same size?
Remember that some of the questions might be too difficult for your toddler to understand due to their limited experience of the world. Be sure to format your questions depending on your toddler’s knowledge, understanding level and experience. Whenever possible, take your toddlers on a field trip or show them videos in order to expand their background of experience.
Dipping Deeper Through Art
Finger painting while listening to classical music, drawing, clay moulding, making prints, slithering cornstarch goop between fingers are just a few of some art activities that promote creativity and are already staples to many early childhood classrooms, aka, preschools. Sensitive observations reveal many creative discoveries to the toddlers. It is a proven fact that arts and crafts help boost the toddlers’ creativity and imagination skills at an incredible rate. Although you need to keep a constant supervision to make sure nothing goes wrong and you also need to clean up after the toddlers are done, it’s a real treat to watch the toddlers unleash their creativity using papers, colours, slimes, clay and other preschooler-friendly materials.
Some toddlers show hyperactive behavior, needing to be in an intense activity at all times. For them, it’s better to encourage them to dance, jump and carry out movement as often as possible. Here’s what you can do when dealing with hyperactive toddlers; divide the toddlers in two groups. Have one group make music by clapping or tapping their feet on the floor while the other group has to listen to the music carefully, understand the rhythm, and dance their hearts out.
Toddlers often find it easier to express themselves using their bodies. They love hopping like a rabbit or moving like a turtle/dragonfly/elephant. Ask them if they can use their bodies to express their emotions using their bodies, such as joy, surprise, anger or sadness.
The Imagination Game
Imagination games allow the toddlers to take off on the flight of their own fantasy world to retrieve information from memory, compare and contrast ideas, make connections between disparate bits and information and build scenarios based on what they know.
You can let your toddler conjure up different imaginary scenarios, like being a cat walking across a footpath or a butterfly flying around a garden. Ask them what they are looking for. Ask them where they would head next and how they would carry out their intended goals. Similarly, you ask your toddlers to describe their day as their favourite animal or creature.
Another interesting game to play with the toddlers is ‘Uses Game’ where you name an object and ask the toddler to come up with various uses for it. Give your toddler the chance to play out their own imaginative scripts with props like towels, tin cans, cardboard tubes, etc. and then enjoy your peek into the window of their creative conjuring.