As grandparents, we can play a part in contributing to our grandchildren’s happiness and well-being by fostering their creativity. According to author Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., our grandchild’s creativity is made up of several parts, which include originality, self-expression, risk-taking, intelligence, autonomy, collaboration, and imagination. A child’s talent may be of less importance than the encouragement they receive from those around them.
I have three granddaughters and each one is creative in their own style. Every weekend I FaceTime with my youngest granddaughter, Sophia who is 6-years old and already an award-winning artist. Her painting, “Koala,” won first place in the Art Expo, Burbank, CA this year.
I’ve been a cheerleader for each granddaughter by nurturing whatever creative talents they’re building. On our recent FaceTime call, Sophia wanted to draw a portrait of me. So I sat still while she drew my head, face, body, arms, legs, and feet. I loved the image and complimented her on the little details she included: my custom t-shirt that says: “Oh Baba!” and my yoga pants and hoop earrings.
I asked her to teach me to draw something. She taught me how to draw a rainbow. One beam of color at a time. I taught her an acronym to remember the order of the colors in a rainbow — a boy named ROY G. BIV whose letters spell out the order of the colors:
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
In her article on how to nurture children’s creative ideas, Price-Mitchell explains that children six and younger are idea-generating machines. But from kindergarten through third grade, their creative thinking slows down and reaches a plateau.
We can boost our grandchild’s creativity by following some of Price-Mitchell’s suggestions:
- Encourage “possibility thinking.” Ask your grandchild to imagine “what if …” or “what can I do with …?”
- Nurture your grandchild’s interests. Creativity blossoms when children feel invigorated by activities they enjoy.
- Expand your language of imagination. Being able to understand and describe emotions is critical to the creative process.
- Play, play, play! Through imaginative play, children explore their ideas and create meaning about the world around them.
- Foster creativity through art. Home art projects are mediums to nurture creativity not just finished products to be admired.
- Explore the beauty of nature. When children and nature collide, the results are magical!
- Advocate for daydreaming. When kids daydream, they explore associations, make connections, and search for possibilities. Both daydreaming and the use of solitude for reflection are among the attributes of highly creative people.
- Develop 5 habits of the mind. There are five core attitudes of creative people:
- openness to experience
- tolerance for ambiguity
- group trust
- Recognize creativity as a source of joy. When families value and recognize creativity as a source of inner joy, children learn to appreciate their natural, creative gifts as human beings.
If you wonder why schools often get failing grades on developing creativity in children, please watch this poignant 7-minute award-winning film:
Tell us about your grandchild’s talent.