Raising a Creative Child

Ada
My guest writer today is Ada, a stay-at-home mother of two rambunctious preschoolers. Ada enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and reading when she’s not playing Mommy and blogging about it at Ada Shot Me.

Creativity is used every day, in every aspect of our lives. When we think of creativity, we usually think of it in the context of art, but according to Wikipedia, creativity is “the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) that has some kind of value.”

What does this mean to me? It means that if I want to raise a child who can solve her own problems, she needs to be creative. I feel that creativity is a necessary component of a child’s education, but how do we raise a creative child?

Foster Exploration

In the dryer - fostering exploratioSome children may seem to be born more creative than others; however, their creative tendencies are likely due to an environment that is open to creative expression, rather than stifling the child’s explorations.

In our home, we foster an atmosphere of stimulation. If my three-year-old wants to color the grass pink, because it’s her favorite color, I don’t say, “grass is green, not pink.” This would stifle her creative exploration.

And instead of having a long list of items within reach that they can’t touch, we set out items that they can touch, feel, sense – in essence, explore.

Fun in Exercise

Fun in exerciseJust as a child needs to exercise her muscles to help them grow, creative “muscles” need stretching and exercising.

Exercising our muscles can either be a grueling, hard and painful experience or a fun and enjoyable experience.

Likewise, exercising our child’s mind can either be tedious or joyful.

Have fun with your child – play games that will provoke thought and imagination, let them explore, or give them a bunch of objects and just let them create.

Reading, Writing, and a Rhythm

Several studies have indicated that reading to children before preschool-aged will help them do well in all facets of formal education, as well as helping them to have basic speech skills.

The other night my 3-year-old came up to me and said, “Mommy, I’m not feeling well. I can’t eat my dinner.” Really she just wanted dessert, but I was impressed with her proper use of grammar, her sentence structure, as well as her solution.

Reading writing and a rhythmWhen reading with a child, try the following:

  • Ask questions. “Where’s the bird?”, “What is that man doing?”, or “What is going to happen next?”
  • Let the child fill in the blanks. “Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water ______.” (Pause and let the child say “spout”.)
  • Let them “read” to you. Even if the child can’t read words, they can make up their own story using the pictures. You’d be amazed with how much of the story they pick up from listening to you read it to them.
  • Have toddlers and preschoolers act out the story or draw it.

What are some other ways to promote creativity in our children?

Sprawled Out

Urban Sprawl
My guest writer is Derek Moss of Osmossis.

It has been asked, what are the problems with sprawl? There seems to be a lot of benefit from it and the suburban neighborhoods in which we live are quite desirable. What are the problems associated with our current pattern of growth? This is my attempt to answer these questions. Most of the material is taken from Andres Duany’s Suburban Nation (2000). Please note, I will clarify my position on most points in the conclusion.

Sprawl Defined

It consists of five parts. The defining characteristic of sprawl is that the parts are strictly segregated. The first is housing subdivisions. They are residential zones comprised of single, and if you’re lucky, double access. The second part is the shopping center. The third is the office or business park. The fourth is civic institutions, like public buildings. In Utah this is debatable simply because our churches, meeting houses, and town halls are often integrated into residential zones, contradictory to sprawl. The fifth, on the other hand, is quite prevalent, and consists of the roads “that are necessary to connect the other four disassociated components” of sprawl. Sprawl is the direct result of an idea, followed by the implementation of policies that made it inevitable.

What is Wrong with Sprawl?

Congestion. Roads in the suburbs are arranged in a street hierarchy, including feeders, primary and secondary collectors, and finally arterials. The system forces all or most of the traffic onto one or possibly two major roadways. Even in small towns, because we have designed the system this way, there are signs of congestion and overwhelming traffic. Do not confuse this with main street America, discussed below.

Accessibility. In relation to the system of roads that have been created is the idea that single access and cul-de-sacs means separation. City planners have decided that we don’t want to live near retail or office space, so we’ve created this illusion by allowing for single access only. Although the shopping center may be right next door, it is all too often inaccessible by walking and the user is forced to drive to the spot, which also happens to be surrounded by a sea of asphalt. Shopping and working has developed a stereotype of being large, busy, congested, and undesirable, therefore encouraging its separation from our residences.

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