When it comes to education, parents, teachers, and school systems are looking for the core skills that make students successful. Many experts agree that the highest-achieving students excel in creativity and innovative thinking. Because of this, parents are looking for the best ways to cultivate these skills in their kids. Here are several ways to help your kids develop develop and improve their creativity and innovative thinking.
Why Creativity and Innovation Matter
Creativity and innovation are the keys to advancement in nearly every industry, which is why fostering creativity and innovation at an early age is so valuable. The more students are able to practice developing these skills, the more likely those learners are to be able to push their chosen career paths forward into new areas. The use of different systems, such as makerspace, helps students not only learn but practice the skills that they need to master creativity and innovation. They can learn these skills through extracurricular programming and other learning-based experiences.
One of the most effective ways to help kids learn new skills is through live demonstrations that model specific skills and behaviors. Everyone learns differently, but all of the available methods start with mimicking the skills that they see. If parents want to help their kids be more creative, then one of the best options is to begin modeling creative thinking and ideation techniques. This includes letting kids try to copy those skills in a consequence-free environment.
When students learn, they follow a pattern that lets them master new skills. It often begins with a lecture about the specific topic, moving into a real-world demonstration of the concept. Although it has been shown that following a progression is the most effective way to learn, most learning opportunities stop after the lecture. For kids to learn to be creative and innovative thinkers, they need to experiment with different ways of thinking about and approaching a topic with some help from their instructors.
Since experimentation and copying skills are an integral part of improving creative and innovative thinking, parents can create spaces where their kids can practice those skills freely. One way to do this is to participate in a program called makerspaces. Makerspaces are workshops where students practice the skills that they have learned in an environment that is conducive to innovation. While there are structures in place to help guide students, much of the work is done without rigid limitations. Students are free to find their own ways of creating a project and fixing any problems. The result is increased learning and a unique understanding of course material.
Going on a field trip, especially to arts and STEM-related sites, means that students have access to a place where they can explore their ideas and learn from experience. Instead of being limited to what’s available at home, kids and their families can travel to different places that are already setup to teach kids a variety of inspiring topics and activities.
Field trips can prove to be very effective since the environment that kids visit is more authentic to the related activity. Parents should use this to your advantage to expose kids to new environments and ways of thinking that can spark creativity and innovation.
Robots are at the forefront of how people think about innovation and is something that kids can start enjoying at a young age. Anyone can learn more about robotics since there are resources for every age group, even young toddlers. Camps and extracurricular programs are great for this since they make new equipment available for experimentation to kids without parents having to purchase any of their own robotics tools.
Outside the Box Exercises
The phrase “think outside the box” is an accurate description of how creativity is taught. Use it to guide how you help kids learn to be more creative. An effective way to do this is to switch to outside the box exercises that do not have clear instructions or answers. They are designed to get kids thinking in ways that subvert expectations and use the materials that they are given to solve problems.
You can do this by creating a set of items that have a clear and specific purpose, such as spoons, forks, bowls, and plates. Then, have a group of kids try to complete tasks using that set of items without using them in the way that they were intended. In the case of dinnerware and cutlery, how else can kids use these items not with food? This forces participants to change how they think about the items and their relationship to each other. The best part of this method is that the exercises can be restructured to make them more challenging to adjust to changes in skill level over time.
Finding ways of improving your kids’ creative and innovative thinking is not something that you have to do alone. There are programs that you can join that will give you everything you need to get your kids started. The key is knowing where to look and focusing on your kids’ interests. KidzToPros has programs that are designed to help kids find new, better ways of thinking. Contact us to find the right program for your family today.