Creativity and creative expression often get dismissed as trivial and impractical. However, creative perspective is an invaluable tool that can help kids navigate obstacles along life’s trajectories all while promoting contentment in self and place. The concept of feeling satisfied and content in the most common and minimal of moments, like creativity, is often undervalued.
Creativity and creative play are intertwined with post-natal brain development; teaching children to think creatively and problem solve using their imagination—whether that be learning to pick up a spoon by first learning to pick up a building block or figuring out mischievous ways to summit the gated staircase—children learn through a creative lens.
A child’s resourcefulness and inventiveness is first imagined before it is realized—this in and of itself is a creative process. We teach children to learn to comprehend and communicate by creative means.
As children grow older, the onus flips to rigid and logical problem solving—sensible, well thought-out, tried-and-tested solutions. While logical course of action has its place, wielding this position consistently can be damaging to brain development as well as socialization and overall wellness. Creative expression should not be something we box away after early childhood. It should continue to be explored into adolescence and adulthood.
Creativity in its expression is a form of communication and there is a longlist of benefits to harnessing it in young adults and teens. Here are three examples:
1. Creativity inspires individuality.
Creativity promotes expression. Expression is proven to be paramount to our sense of well-being and place.
Creativity inspires individuality and encourages self-reflection. It also helps to form a secure sense of self and by extension self- worth – the ingredients for healthy growth and endurance. It enables us to explore and discover the many layers of capacity and emotion that lie within us that otherwise may never surface. Expression also acts as a vehicle for release. It creates the opportunity to let go of emotional, mental and even physical barriers and pressures.
2. Creativity boosts self esteem and reduces distraction.
Creativity helps boost the body’s endorphins. Increased dopamine levels generate a natural sense of optimism and positivity in the brain. This not only contributes to overall improved health but increased self-esteem and a fulfilled sense of place and being. Studies show that drawing, painting or molding objects from clay can help people to deal with different kinds of trauma.
Creativity is joyful and fun! When something is interesting and fun it is so much easier to digest than something that is mundane and dull. This POV can be used to reduce procrastination and curtail distraction. Creativity aids in the unlocking of routine and mundane perspectives. It offers us the ability to see something that may seem dull and mundane, as interesting and fun.
3. Creativity champions earned rewards over instant gratification.
Being creative requires time, effort, attention to detail, care, belief and determination. The investment of time, effort, attention to detail, care, belief and determination means that your senses and motor functions are stimulated and activated. You are invested. You have something to lose and something to gain. You care. When you care and work for something, the reward is so much more gratifying than instant gratification.
Creativity fortifies contentment in self and place, helps to traverse practicalities and overcome limitations. It fosters understanding, discipline, learning, interpersonal relations and growth. It sheds light on the banal and amplifies the extraordinary.
Creative communication is not something that should be limited to associations with early childhood, theatre, idiosyncrasy and/or eccentricity. We all have the aptitude for creativity and creative expression.
As parents or guardians, we should nurture and encourage divergence and experimental thinking. The list of creative outlets and associated benefits are endless. Fashion, music, sculpture, photography, parkour, comedy, fine art, design, floriculture, woodwork, letter writing, scrapbooking, cooking, antiquing, coffee roasting. I could go on but you get the idea—get creative!