Imagination is a wonderful way we can learn, grow, and create. We live in a world full of inspiration and which offers a great springboard to imaginative expression.
But, we also live in a world that has the habit of pushing conformity, striving for perfection and squashing true creative freedom.
So how can we help our children embrace their creativity and let their imagination soar?
We offer them a chance to create free of judgement, free of order and free of comparison.
Free of Judgement
When a child colours a picture, creates a drawing or completes a craft it is important for us to appreciate the work. It doesn't matter if the colours aren't 'accurate', if the eyes aren't in the 'proper' place or if the details are 'correct'. It is not our place to judge, our job is to appreciate. Maybe in your mind trees are not multi-coloured, but in the creative mind of Dr. Seuss there were so many possibilities - why not in the mind of your child?
Free of Order
As adults many of us have the tendency to make sure things are accurate, just right or even perfect. But when we impose these thoughts onto the creativity of a child we are limiting their imagination, stagnating inspiration and making them feel like they either can't do it or aren't good enough.
It is okay if the eyes don't line up on the face (it worked for Picasso!). It doesn't matter if things are disproportionate and it is quite alright not to recognize the art.
Instead of insisting on them doing things 'in order', suggesting where things go to 'make it right' or complaining things don't look 'the way they are supposed to', take the opportunity to ask your child about what they created. Let them tell you how they see it, how they interpret it and what the story is behind it. Imaginations are our gateways to dreams, inspirations and all things impossible. If we try to control and organize it we are taking away its freedom and flow.
If we always hear "not like that" how will we ever learn to trust our way of thinking or to think outside of the box?
Free of Comparison
It is important to remember that everyone learns and grows their own way and at their own pace. When you add in comparisons you are creating expectations that can cause the child to think they are doing something wrong, or think they can't do things. I belong to a painting group that has many members following the very same tutorial to create a painting - yet all the paintings turn out differently. Of course it isn't that one is better than any other - it is that each person has a unique artistic ability that is shining through in their work. It is important to honour this unique ability in a child, to appreciate them at the level that they are working at and to acknowledge their creativeness, whether it is something you understand or not.
Creativity is a very personal thing - a person is inspired by specific emotions and experiences - things that other people may not connect with. These expressions in whatever art form they take on are unique and amazing and we should always remember to honour them.
Book recommendation: Help inspire creativity in your child with the book Let Your Imagination Soar. This book is filled with paintings and lessons to inspire creativity in the form of art and storytelling.
It is available in hardcover format through Amazon.com