Gone are the days when being academically advanced meant everything.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Marks don’t even begin to represent a child’s talent or IQ anymore.
In fact, intelligence in today’s world is seen to be spread across different areas of learning, expression, and vocation.
And now more than ever, Creative Intelligence is what’s in demand.
An expert in child psychology, Vidya Ragu, explains to us why creative thinking is important in a child and what we can do to improve and encourage it.
Children as a group, have the most creative ability.
And all we need to do is give them an outlet that facilitates expression of this ability.
Their perception is often a lot more creative than an adult’s. When they see a couple of colours, their minds may immediately think of what colour would be formed by combining the two.
And you’ll be surprised, but they often have ideas about changing the world that is more futuristic than any logical adult would dare to dream of!
Recent studies have also shown that creativity and innovation are the main priorities and is the main focus of organizations in any field.
Which means that it’s important to inculcate this kind of a thinking in kids from a young age.
Creative intelligence and its importance rides on an individual “thinking outside the box” or going beyond thinking about the obvious things that we’re often presented with.
Our expert Vidya continues to talk about the Theory Of Multiple Intelligence by Harvard’s professor, Dr. Gardener, which states that I.Q. is too limited of a measure to assess human ability and potential, which is vast.
There are eight kinds of intelligence in this theory. They are:
– Linguistic intelligence (word-smart)
– Logical-mathematical intelligence (number/reasoning-smart)
– Spatial intelligence (picture-smart)
– Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence (body-smart)
– Musical intelligence (music-smart)
– Interpersonal intelligence (people-smart)
– Intrapersonal intelligence (self-smart)
– Naturalist intelligence (nature-smart)
Which more or less goes to prove — “It’s not how smart you are, but HOW you are smart!”
Children are born with a natural inclination towards these different types of intelligence.
So, if children are born with these various types of intelligence, why do they face difficulty in expressing it?
What stops children from expressing their creativity:
To put it simply, children are often placed in an environment that doesn’t facilitate expression of what they are good at.
The environment us adults create for them is usually based on getting them to improve what they aren’t good at.
If the child doesn’t have a musical inclination, and you’re forcing him or her to excel at playing an instrument, all it’s going to do is put the child in a stressful and frustrating situation.
So what can we do to change this?
We encourage children to move more towards what they’re naturally good at rather than moving them away from it.
No denying that it’s important for a child to learn academic and life skills in order to improve knowledge.
But how we can do this is by changing teaching methods using what the child is good at, to teach them?
Well, here’s an example — for a child that is body smart, which can be recognized by a good hand-eye coordination, and good gross and fine motor skills, they would like to learn by using motor skills.
So teach them math and science using creative games for kids that either require them to move around or by having them do small puzzles that require them to use fine motor skills, which would basically be teaching using the tools of creative education.
Creative kids often get motivated to do their best and retain what they’ve learned a lot better when adults use these techniques to teach them.
While doing this, you could enrol them in a sports class of their choice that would employ their hand-eye coordination. This is something they would enjoy!
Provide opportunities to express their intelligence:
Another important thing to remember is that these types of intelligence can be developed over time even if your child isn’t necessarily displaying their characteristics.
Their natural inclination doesn’t always show. So, give them opportunities to express all these forms of intelligence and pick up on what they do best.
Make them question things:
One of the main ways creative intelligence can be developed is by making your child simply wonder.
Why is the sky blue? Why does the ocean water have waves and not the water in lakes or ponds? How does gravity work? And so on.
This would enhance their imaginative skills and also help them with their problem-solving abilities.
So whenever you spend time with them, ask them questions such as this and explain to them various exciting concepts, be it about the night sky, about natural phenomena or about the human mind.
When you start elaborating on and explaining the little things such as the way electricity functions, your child learns to question other such little things, thereby increasing their curiosity.
To develop the kinesthetic understanding of your child, when you’re watching a sport, ask them about how and why runs or goals are scored.
Talk to them about the skill involved in a game. The physics of it, the planning, the coordination, the force needed, etc.
This would encourage your child to explore movements more. Body movements are important to the development of intelligence, too!
Teach them multiple ways to solve every problem:
Be it a math problem or a problem they’re facing in real life, they need to understand that there are different ways to solve everything, and also different ways to look at everything.
Individual differences make us humans have different perspectives on everything from each other.
But our mind also enables us to look at everything from different perspectives, which is often an important skill in solving interpersonal problems.
Trigger their curiosity:
Children are naturally curious beings and want to know more about everything.
But it’s up to us to provide interesting and relevant cues to trigger their curiosity.
Expose them to rich art and literature and discuss hidden meanings and implications with them.
Surround them with new, creative ideas and thoughts.
When your child is around, talk about an interesting animal or about a cool natural phenomenon, etc.
Make sure to involve them in the conversation. Get their curiosity going in a way that they would want to know more.
In what ways can you encourage your kid to think creatively?
Here are some creative ideas for kids to engage in:
- Reinforce the idea that there is a different, unique way to do almost anything. For example, art can be made with food items.
- Show them the process of a seed growing into a plant.
- Make pretend meals with them with things you find around the house that are not food related.
- Give them a random object and ask them to think of different ways in which it can be used. For example, a rock, a stick, or even a sock.
- Ask your kids to tell you a story for a change. You can also do this by asking them to put their own spin on a story you’re reading to them.
- Dress up and enact these scenes from stories, too. And of course, encourage your child to make improvisations.
- Use an activity box like Flintobox: Make your child think out-of-the-box by engaging them with creative games and activities. The play-based activities engage children in different skills like coordination, self-expression, fine-motor etc. and the child is introduced to new concepts. For more details on Flintobox, click this link >
- Employ the use of music as often as you can when you’re spending time with your child as it triggers different parts of the brain and you could do this by playing different styles of music in different languages.
- Your kid can feel free to sing or dance to it if they feel up to it.
- Take them to places with unique art and sculptures and ask them about what they see and what they think the art represents.
- Then ask them to think of something that represents something important to them and to express that by using art.
Professor Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania has a simple “3 step system” to nurture creativity in children. He says suggests that with children we should;
- 1) Encourage values over rules: This helps them in understanding that, they are allowed to think from different perspectives and not just listen to adults.
- 2) Praise their character over behaviour: We need to praise their characters about how unique it is, which will help them internalise it into their identity.
- 3) Take lessons from children’s books: This will give them an idea of how their favourite character from a book or a show reacts to a particular situation, which will teach them to think from another person’s shoes.
All of this combined together will surely instil a lot of creative freedom within children!
All in all, it’s safe to say that creative intelligence is a feature that will always be unique to the human mind.
We create and invent things that the man-made machines of today never could.
It is the one feature that is going to matter the most a few years down the line.
Be it in job interviews or for college admissions, academic proficiency is secondary but innovative and problem-solving skills are primary.
Someone with a high level of creative intelligence will always be more inclined towards letting their creative ability flow by starting up something of their own rather than to just follow what everybody around them is doing.