Creativity and Youth
Scientific studies conducted by educators and therapists repeatedly prove what we all know intuitively, that creativity diminishes with age, that the older we get the more effort it takes for us to think out of the box. The bright side of this equation is that the younger we are, the easier it is to use imagination, original thought and invention to facilitate creativity: proper stimulation of the child’s mind can foster emotional, mental, social, physical and even spiritual benefits. It’s never too early to encourage a more colorful interesting and expressive world for them.
Imagination Through Decoration
One of the first and simplest thing you can do to infuse creativity-stimulating experiences into your child’s life is to focus on their home, particularly, their bedroom. This is where they wake up every morning and shut their eyes at night, the first and final visual sensations of each day. Why not turn the four walls of their room into a fertile ground for artistic growth and inspiration. Here are a few simple things you can do to get started:
1) Design the room with vibrant art and furniture.
Most people do this naturally, but why not a reminder. Place objects in the space that evoke feelings of joy, excite imagination, and suggest humor and play. Don’t worry if one item or another doesn’t match perfectly with the others, or with the décor of the rest of the house. Years later, when your grown son or daughter has expanded their mind and potentiated their capabilities, they won’t think back on whether or not fabric swatches in their room matched the den.
2) Give the child ownership of their space.
When they reach the age of personal preference, ask them what they would like to see. Take them out to shop or help them craft items specifically to go in their room. If they are young, have them watch you as you decorate, to the degree they’re able participate in the process. Keep in mind that this is a kid’s environment. The more they sense “ownership” in the way it looks, the better. They MAY actually be more inclined to clean it as they get older—but don’t count on it:)
3) Play games that relate to their room.
For example, if you hang a piece of artwork, ask them to tell you everything they see in the painting. They can identify colors and shapes and identify ‘hidden meanings.‘ They will probably see a lot of things you don’t—use their imagination to stimulate discussion! Create a nightly ritual around talking so they can practice opening their brain to the endless number of ways to think about the same thing. You can do this while reading picture books or looking at photos as well. 4) Keep the room ‘clutter free. Feng Shui principles advise that all rooms remain clutter free. This creates a calmer atmosphere and an easier place to sleep, play and live. Even though “Feng Shui” may seem like more of a grown up concept, kids are sensitive to their surroundings and can be easily affected by a messy space.
5) Bonus Step! Set a theme for the room.
Themes are wonderful because they are easy to follow and each can become a subject a child identifies with. As they grow up, you can encourage them to look for items that match their theme or make their own art pieces that are consistent with the animal or nature, toy, color or pattern that dominates their room. A simple baby picture of dolphins can lead to a lifelong interest in the sea and all the creatures living there.