In 1900, creative workers made up about 10% of the workforce. This figure is now closer to 30%. Educators agree that creativity, along with critical thinking, are core to the future workforce. However, creativity is increasingly being squeezed out of the curriculum in schools as other pressures on testing and data become more important.
Creativity simply means the use of imagination or original ideas to create something new. Henri Matisse once said that creativity takes courage, and while many adults have lost this courage, children are still confident to come up with their own ideas without fear of failure. You can nurture this at home by getting children involved in creative and innovative activities.
We've pulled together five examples that we've seen work really well, whether you have 15 minutes or even several hours to spare.
1. Complete the Drawing
There’s plenty of ideas for these online, but feel free to borrow the image shown. The idea is that you give your child the lines and tell them to get creative to complete the drawing.
This works even better if you do one yourself too, without looking at each other's, so you can compare how you each interpreted the lines afterwards. You can even take a look through some examples completed by others once you’ve finished to give them ideas for next time.
Time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment: Paper, pencil, (colours optional)
Best for: Low tech quick activity, appealing to most children
2. Dream up a Robot
Ask your child what their least favourite thing to do at home is. Maybe it’s tidying their room or doing their homework. Then sit down together to create their dream robot to do the job for them.
We did this at an Inventors & Makers class recently and the children came up with some completely innovative ideas. Again it’s best if you do this with them or have them work with a sibling or friend, as collaborative creativity is always much more fun for everyone. Remember not to make too many suggestions, but instead ask questions like “Hmm...but how does the robot know what your homework is?” As you ask questions, they can develop their design into a final dream robot. Perhaps they can even present it to another family member.
Time: 30-60 minutes
Equipment: Paper, pencil (ideally a large A1 sheet of paper)
Best for: Spending a bit of time creating together, appealing to most children
3. Build a Marble Run
With a few old bits of cardboard, some tape and some marbles, kids can go wild in creating their own marble runs. Perhaps take a look together at some images or videos to get them started with some ideas. They can get really creative as they decide on other things around the house they could use such as wooden train tracks, building blocks or even lego.
This is a more fun activity to do with friends or siblings as they get excited about adding parts to their run. They could spend hours on it!
Time: 1-3 hours
Equipment: marbles, tape, scissors, scrap materials (cardboard, toilet/kitchen rolls, plastic cups etc.), train track, blocks, and anything else they want to incorporate!
Best for: A rainy day when you have some time to spare, appealing to most children once they get started
4. Choreograph a Dance
If your child prefers more physical activities, perhaps they could come up with their own dance routine. This can appeal to boys and girls if you give them some inspiration to get them started that suits their own music tastes (hip hop, pop etc.). There’s plenty of examples of routines on YouTube to give them some ideas. Let them choose their favourite song and explain they should choreograph in small segments from the start, then leave them alone!
They might want some privacy to do this at first, but putting on a show at the end allows them to share when they are ready. Alternatively, perhaps they can teach you the routine afterwards - always gives them a laugh!
Time: 1-3 hours
Equipment: something to play music
Best for: Children with an interest in music, but could be fun for all children if you give them the challenge
"You have to be creative to be an artist, but you don't have to be an artist to be creative."
5. Shoot a Movie
If you have an iPad or iPhone* they can use, children can create their own short films using the iMovie app. You might give them a brief such as: advertisement for something, news report, documentary about something they are interested in.
iMovie has some templates for creating movie trailers which make it really easy to create something that looks great. If they are feeling ambitious, they could create a new video project from scratch and play around with the different features. If you have a basic understanding of iMovie you can help them get started, but it is very intuitive to use if they’re happy to play around with it for a while. You can finish with a family premiere screening.
This is a nice activity for children to do with friends, but they can easily make a film by themselves.
Time: 1-3 hours
Equipment: iPad or iPhone*
Best for: Tech fans, appealing to all children if the brief matches their interests
*There are alternative video apps for android
If you want to get your child more involved in creative activities with a focus on problem solving and creativity, take a look at our Inventors & Makers classes running in Ealing and West London.