Youth Focus

Youth Focus
Children's Creativity A Natural Resource

Children's creativity needs to be conserved, nurtured, guided, and that starts with adults. They need to understand how to identify and cultivate creativity in children.

Creative people are perceptive. They are sensitive to their environment and open to experience. Aware, observant, able to see and hear things others frequently miss are other characteristics of creative people.

Little children have these capacities, while most adults have lost the ability to really see and hear, let alone smell, taste and feel all the delights of the world around them. Yet, people who use their senses to the fullest are able to get so much more out of living. Many beautiful and exciting experiences and rich sources of pleasures are open to people who are aware. Do you pay attention to your surroundings?

Creative people are playful. They are, in some ways, perpetual children � able to enter fully into an experience, flow with spontaneity, to become more open and keenly aware of the many possibilities around them. Almost all major developments and breakthroughs in science and human development have come about because people have put things together in new and different ways.

Creative people are original thinkers and have novel ideas. Creative children generate new ideas like sparks. Many of the ideas may be offbeat or silly, but some are surprisingly good. One test of creativeness asks children to list all the uses they can for a common object such a brick. Creative kids may think of 35 or 40.

Creative children are often fiercely independent, showing a lot of autonomy and self-reliance, preferring to do things on their own. The self confidence they gain through doing things on their own gives them freedom in self-expression and creativity. Sometimes this leads to resistance of what they think are unnecessary rules and controls. This can result in conflict with adults.

Creative youngsters have active, delightful, vivid, humorous imaginations. They are dreamers, have vivid fantasy lives, and an enormous amount of curiosity. The creative child will ask even MORE questions than the average child and different kinds of questions! Many will be penetrating or off beat � enough to annoy a busy parent or teacher who does not understand this special kind of intelligence.

Creative children wonder about everything and do not take things for granted. The wide-eyed wonder is characteristic of most young children � unless they have it slowly eroded away by adult disinterest or discouragement. What are you going to do to save our precious natural resource?

For more information, contact your local county Extension office.

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