With our children’s conditioned schedules and the less time we spend together, we find many of them backing away and isolating themselves in front of screens, mesmerized by video games, and are unable to liberate themselves from those devices.
With our lifestyle, we are encouraging them into becoming victimized robots that are abused by technology. Not that I am against it, but I am definitely against the addiction it creates and the magical attraction it forces on our children as it sucks them out of their creativity and social skills.
What makes things worse is that as a parent who enjoys technology and consumes its advantages, I know that it will be very challenging to make my children aware of the disadvantages and have them make good use of its benefits. I cannot hold them back from it, but I also cannot accept defeat and have them surrender to its seductive nature.
What made me write about how children are losing essential skills due to many factors we are living, is when my boys had their friends over for a play date in the afternoon. Being the type of mom who enjoys playing with her children, I organized a few fun games for us to play all together. To my great surprise, they were not interested in whatever creative conducts I asked them to do, and they could not believe their ears when I finally announced that they can enjoy some time on the PlayStation. The reality hit me like a tornado, and I could see that my children, like those of their generation, are in the process of losing a very essential element which is creativity.
“We often think about creativity as making something, but in fact the root meaning of the word means ‘to grow’.” http://tscpl.org/art/why-is-creativity-important-in-everyday-life.
Having our children grow into beings who are able to embrace life and live it vibrantly is a dream every parent seeks. But how can we help this generation find a milieu between the swiftly scary transformation and the natural, calm, and creative humanitarian nature? These are some of the ideas that I apply and others that I am seeking to implement in order to help my children reach the far horizon and attain a wild creativity.
It is important not to give children too many assembled toys as they help in limiting a child’s creativity. For example, nowadays it is very difficult to find toy telephones where a toddler can use his index finger and dial the numbers by a turning knob. This, for example, reduces a child’s exposure to develop his fine motor skills. As parents, we think that the more toys we offer our children, the happier they will be, yet it is exactly the opposite. Why would I need to buy my boy a pair of binoculars when we can create one out of toilet paper rolls? The market is providing us with ready-made toys which are fantastically attractive, but they are also stealing our capabilities of inventing things on our own. The only problem we have is that we need to have enough time for us to accomplish these things. One good way will be to replace an after school activity with a free play session where our children can create their own games and use their creativity to make it enjoyable for them.
PLAY WITH YOUR CHILD:
Doing some creative play broadens children’s imagination. Here are a few ideas of short but resourceful games which you can do at any time of the day. Have your kids sit or stand in a circle and do the following:
- What is it?: Hold a pen and tell them, “You may think this is a pen, but it’s not…. This is my tooth brush!” and act as if you are brushing your teeth. Hand your pen to your child and have him think of another idea.
- Watch the Ball: This game is similar to the first one but it focuses more on the sense of touch. The mom pretends to be holding a huge ball, suddenly she says, “OH my, I have a ball of fire.” She throws the imaginary ball to one of the children. The child who catches the ball has to give it a new status and throw it to another person, and so the game continues until they don’t want to play anymore.
- Story in an envelope: Place a few toys in a huge envelope. If you have more than one child, you can prepare one for each. Have each child orally create a story based on the items he finds in the envelope.
DRESS UP PLAY:
Providing our kids with old clothes where you have them create their own costumes is fun and creative. On the other hand, buying those assembled beautiful costumes from shops limits a child’s vision. Moreover, in a very short time they get easily bored with them, and they start nagging for another new set. As parents, we wonder why they are never satisfied, and struggle to find ways to make them appreciate and value the many blessings they already have.
Playing with mud and dirt, sitting on the grass watching the ants hurry about fetching for food, observing animal’s behaviour, and running along with other children all of those actions are crucial in expanding a child’s imagination and creativity. I do not know how practical and convenient it is for us to have our children enjoy outdoor playing in Abu Dhabi, but I think we should try to compensate for that during the summer vacation where we can benefit from better weather conditions abroad.
ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO DO ART WORK:
Kids need art so they can explore different textures, paint, and material. Having a creative centre at home where they can choose what they need to do, develops their imagination and nourishes it. Always give a detailed encouragement on what you liked the most in your child’s artwork. For example, “I mostly love the details you made in drawing the car.” This will help in developing your child’s self-esteem and make them confident of their abilities.
One of the activities that I am planning on doing with my boys is the following:
We will read Henri Matisse’s biography and look at some of his art work masterpieces for inspiration. The material you will be needing are scissors, glue sticks, cardboard, fabric and other type of product that your children would fancy. Then, I will have them create their own collage.
HAVE A FEW AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES:
Like video games, after school activities have become a tough and an obligatory act that everybody does. It is true that there are many advantages to enrol our children in after school activities, but we need to make sure that we do not overdo it. Again we are limiting their imagination as we are narrowing them into activities that might not be of their interest in the first place. It is better the child does an activity that he enjoys instead of doing many which he dislikes. Try to talk to your child and find what interests him before forcing him into participating in activities of your choice.
LISTEN TO MUSIC:
I think we all agree that music and singing are essential in helping children express themselves, unwind stress, and foster their imagination. As a matter of fact, music should form a daily part of our lives.
Reading takes children to different worlds of imagination, creativity, and inspiration. The more the child is exposed to reading, the wider the imagination and the more they gain knowledge. Giving the children some time to read before going to bed is essential. This activity can start as early as possible, and the earlier the child relates to books the better the chances are to nurture creativity.
REDUCE TV TIME:
I know that it is impossible to eliminate the exposure to the screen. However, I find it important to stress the fact that watching television is harmful, especially for little children. It is obvious that it stops them from doing something active, and worse the flood of images coming from the screen blocks children’s inner pictures and limits their fantasy and imagination. Furthermore, it makes children get easily bored in life as the images coming from the screen are way too fast from what they see in reality. Knowing all of this, as a mom, I would argue with my children every time I feel that they have exceeded the time of watching television.
In conclusion, creativity helps in developing a child’s self-esteem, critical thinking, and curiosity about the world in general and life in specific. It is a capacity that we are born with, and it is also a skill we can attain if given the chance. The more productively active we are, the more worthy we feel. Therefore, it is never too late to start building our children’s creativity.