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Creative Thinking and Character Building in Kids

February 13, 2017By SmartFeed

 

Thinking Outside the Box

By: Christine Peck

We are all creative in our own way. At some point, as we become educated, a large portion of us start believing that creativity is something that is solely associated with the arts. But it's not. Creative thinking comes in all forms and across all disciplines. Creativity is an element of being human that not only improves the life and work of the person showcasing it, but rather, businesses, schools, communities and society at large.

One application of creativity is something called Divergent Thinking. This is the ability to be creative and to approach a problem by exploring many solutions. This type of creative thinking, when tested, can yield a genius level of thinking in as many as 98% of kindergartners, according to the longitudinal study by George Land and Beth Jarman. THAT is great news! However, the same study shares with us that 4-5 years later, the same level of creative thinking has decreased to 32%. This downward trend continues as kids age and that isn't great. But how can we keep our kids creative and keep them thinking in obscure ways as we continue to educate them?

As parents whose kids are enrolled in an educational system that has an ever-present focus on rigid academic teaching and standardized testing, I believe we can create opportunities to foster the traits that may be getting taught out of our kids. One of the ways we can do this is to keep minds exploring ideas in new ways and to help our kids develop a strong sense of themselves so they are confident continuing to explore their creativity and innovative thinking, and to do so through PLAY. Character skills or Non-Cognitive skills are being swept wayside, but we as parents can help bring them into a prominent position in our kids' lives. 

Studies show that kids with strong character skills like Grit, Creativity, Communication, Optimism and Empathy actually perform better in school, and on the playground. Open-ended play is crucial for kids to develop interpersonal skills as well as confidence in their own abilities and interests. They are able to learn from their playmates as well as explore new ways to express themselves and to think. This leads to more creative kids. There are tons of games and activities that can help you and your kids to flex your creative muscles and facilitate creative growth opportunities. Notable among them is Silly Street, a line of award-winning, Character-Building games and puzzles, founded by Christine Peck and Meghan DeRoma. Their mission is "to give kids, families and communities access to the benefits of play." The Silly Street game just got chosen as one of the best family board games of 2017 by Family Fun Magazine.

                                       

                          

Here at SmartFeed too, we have some excellently curated resources to inspire the strong character skills of CreativityConfidence, Empathy and Perseverance.

Go Play On, let your creative juices flow!