There has always been a debate on who is more creative, children or adults. According to an expert in child brain development, the answer is what most of us expect – children are definitely more creative because they use about two-thirds of their brain in imaginative play.
While we appreciate creativity, as we become adults, we slowly lose sense of the whole process. We start assuming that there is a certain subset of people who are creative while others aren’t. This limiting thought arises from the wrong belief that as adults not everyone can think creatively.
Ursula Le Guin, an American author has once said, ‘The creative adult is the child who has survived’. How true! The reason most adults don’t explore their own creativity is owing to the fact that creative imagination is often associated with art, music and books. Artists, dancers, musicians, authors and poets are seen as creative people, because they possess certain talents. This also leads to the impression that those without these talents aren’t creative.
However, creativity applies in every field and every aspect of life. An oncologist can be creative, a management executive can be creative and a school principal can be creative in their respective fields.
An oncologist could come up with a possible new cure by applying his creativity to whatever knowledge he has. A management executive can come up with the right advertisement that captures attention and a principal can introduce creative activities in the school for both students and teachers.
While we’re discussing creative activities for teachers, check out this list of suggestions for teachers to bring out the best from the class:
- One common tactic to inspire creativity is to imagine yourself as an employer and the kids as employees. How would you motivate your employees?
- We often implement rules in the classroom that are rigid and unchangeable. But make sure to have debates and other interactive sessions where more than one viewpoint on a subject is encouraged. This is a sure-fire way to spark creativity.
- Ask open questions that have amazing possibilities for creative thinking. A good example would be – ‘What invention would be most useful after fifty years?’
- Read books to your students. It’s not only a welcome change from their curriculums, it is also the best way to stimulate creative thinking as well as an interest in writing.
- Most important of all, provide focused freedom for creative expression. Creativity isn’t about setting someone loose and asking them to find amazing things. It’s about offering a topic or one focus point and then let the students explore it.
Imagination can be the best tool to complement knowledge and experience in the field to come up with better ideas and unique solutions, the kind that cannot be obtained through logical and practical thinking alone.
Why do we lose our creativity as we become adults? One of the main reasons is that we lose practice. This can happen for many reasons, particularly because the society expects adults to behave in certain ways and playing or fooling around with stuff you love can often be seen as immature or silly behavior.
You can’t change the way the society thinks but you can definitely make a choice to be more creative and not let external forces limit your imagination. While there are many tools, techniques and programs available to boost creativity, the actual process takes one simple step: pretend you’re a child again.
Spending more time with kids is one way to explore your own creativity. Listen to what they have to say, watch what they do with a piece of clay or a pencil and paper and you’ll draw inspiration. If you love playing or making things, doing it with kids is not only a great stress buster but also a sure shot way to draw inspiration for your own creative projects.
There’s a reason why creativity is not only good but actually essential. In this hectic life where we spend a good part of our time attending to work emergencies and family commitments, it is creativity that can help you preserve your sanity. Even a simple game of Frisbee, building a bird feed or trying out a science experiment with your kid can all help you be creative. Remember, of course, that the whole point of creative play is to let your brain juices run freely. Don’t worry about learning or inferring important lessons or wisdom from the process.
Let your imagination run wild when you’re looking for a solution to a problem. You never know what creative solution is hiding in the dark recess of your brain waiting to be found! Even the famous scientist Albert Einstein has said that ‘to stimulate creativity, one must develop a child-like inclination for play’.
Give yourself the permission to enjoy the delights of creativity and relive your childhood!
Rama Ramesh is a creative writer and has been writing for children for about 6 years. She has published stories/features in different Indian children magazines. She has also co-authored a series of books on nanotechnology for kids. She has a post graduate degree in biotechnology and has interest in all science topics.