As parent of two unschooled teens, creative director, and author, my most valued creative advice is: Don’t be a parent roadblock to natural curiosity! Curiosity fuels imaginative ideas, solves problems, and stimulates creative thinking. Understanding this idea can make the journey of homeschooling rewarding, help you identify when your child is thinking creatively, and open the road. Parents can become roadblocks to creative thinking without even knowing it. My expertise is in teaching creative visual arts, but my advice can be applied to almost any creative homeschool activity like cooking, building, crafting, homesteading, gardening, entrepreneur skills, pet care, and even basic life skills. Homeschooling and teaching has taught me valuable lessons about how curiosity is the link to creativity.
How do parents roadblock creativity?
For a number of reasons, parents often roadblock curiosity without truly understanding the value it has for stimulating creativity. Some parents may think exploring curiosity results in a messy house. Curiosity driven exploring may seem like a disorganized task to certain parents. Parents may feel problem-solving may not be as efficient as memorization. Or the child’s solution to a problem is different than what the parent had in mind or expected. Parents lacking the patience for curious exploring can create roadblocks to future creative thinking and independent problem solving. Having an open mind and understanding how parental roadblocks happen can help your child’s creative process. I’m not saying let your children run free and ransack your home by turning it into a science lab of daily experiment messes, just be aware of parent roadblocks to natural curiosity and creativity. Allow your children age appropriate challenges for problem-solving you are comfortable with managing. Or have the patience for your child to be challenged or curious and come up with their conclusions. Life can get very messy and misplaced when allowing children to explore and make mistakes, but over time these types of experiences are good.
Natural curiosity fuels creativity.
Children can come up with original solutions by developing their own, even erroneous, understanding of how things work. Children allowed to make mistakes and learn from them benefit from this experience of independent thinking. Creative thinking provides innovative solutions. Without curious exploration, creative thinking can’t happen.
Cultivating the principles of curiosity, creativity, and child-led – the 3 C’s – can help a child hold on to their inward creativity and supply imagination. Many ask me why my own children and students are so creative and how to make their children more creative. I get very nice compliments that I’m a very gifted teacher. Well, I’m here to tell you the secret of my talent. I simply nurture the natural structuralism of the child, and provide the environment and opportunities to keep curiosity flourishing. The 3 C’s are my answer to what stimulates visual art creativity. These are the elements that mold creativity, imagination, and artistic skills within a child.
Childhood curiosity shouldn’t be taken for granted. Yes, children are curious by nature, but parents need to value their children’s creative pursuits and do what we can to protect their imagination and encourage their creativity. This idea aligns perfectly with the child’s holistic nature. Our curiosity about what lies beyond the stars and galaxy has driven innovation and technology beyond our wildest imagination. Curiosity fuels today’s amazing three-dimensional structures, scientific innovations, digital animations, and computer technology. All visual art communication is fueled by imagination and curiosity.
In Of Children, Guy R. Lefrancois writes, “One of the few variables that successfully predicts later creativity is the presence of imaginary play, which tends to be more creativity than those who are not allowed play in this fashion.”
Learning to identify when naturally occurring curiosity is leading a child to real learning is essential to nurturing. Playful curiosity can lead a child into deep levels of understanding. The action of art-making can be a playful and curious experience. I have observed thousands of young children painting with curiosity driving most of the imagery and playing. I’ve witnessed deep thoughts and curious actions leading to more painting exploration by the same children. Open the road to your child’s natural curiosity and creativity!
Spramani Elaun has home educated her daughter (15) and son (13) since birth. All live in San Diego, CA. She is a designer + mommy + homeschooler + art teacher + art supplier turned author, and founder or Nature of Art For Kids Earth-friendly art supplies and art school. Learn all about her new books, products and art events at her website, EcoKidsArt.