Creativity, creative, create... You can hear these three words everywhere. And we all think that it means the same to all of us. But... I think it doesn't. For some it means they are very good at creating things, for some it means they are able to paint to a high standard, it maybe means you are great in inventing things or you are able to adapt yourself to new situations very fast.
So, now you can think about your own definition....
While you do, I'll start with the definition I found in the "Oxford illustrated Dictionary"-Second edition published 1975. (of course I could have asked a famous online search engine, but having an old book is more fun)
Create: v. 1. bring into existence, give rise to; originate; design. 2. Constitute, invest (person) with rank (...)
Creation n. 1. Creating, esp. of the world 2. All created things 3.Production of human intelligence or power, esp. of the imagination.
So, per definition it means to create something using your imagination.
And if you look at all the famous artists, they have one thing in common. They used their imagination to create something new. They impressed people by coming up with something that hadn't been there. A new idea or new approach. And actually not only artists. All big inventors are the same.
And if you look into the history of inventors, artists and other people who did big things, they have all one in common. For various reason they got bored at a certain point in life and either started painting or started asking questions. Example: After an apple dropped on Newtons head he discovered gravity. And all just because his mom wanted him to be a farmer and he was so bored by this idea that he sat under a tree. Frida Kahlo for instance was lying in bed after a bus accident, she was bored, her mum bought her an easel so she could paint in bed.
There are many, many examples which follow the same pattern... boredom- invention-success.
But how can we make sure our students creativity can grow? We can't tie them into their beds and make them paint and we also can't tell them to become something they don't want.
So let's start with everyday boredom (actually this is also important for adults):
Our brain hates boredom, it absolutely can't cope when it has nothing to do. But our brain is also a little lazy and we get satisfaction from quick, easy distractions. But it's not real, good brain food. For example, our brain is happy when we watch tv for weeks. it gets numb and doesn't need more.
So, we can say: all good, brain satisfied, children don't complain all good.
But: does it help us to become creative??
Well, not really.
So our brain has the ability to produce the same satisfaction as tv, when we do nothing... I mean really nothing!! It might take a little longer because our brain is used to fast food (TV, phone or any other distraction), but when we get through this first phase of boredom our brain starts entertaining us, as a phone or tv does. And it improves itself! It comes up with stories and lets us do things we would have never thought about. Bored children come up with the best ideas how to kill boredom. Ok, that means, we maybe need to watch them a little more often as sometimes it might get a little dangerous.
But give children a safe and healthy environment and they come up with wonderful creative ideas. And after a while they don't need much in order to have great ideas and be super creative.
Maybe give them little ideas, for example, waiting at a bus stop, start counting cars. When children get bored again, let them find their own task, let them find a solution. Don't be their entertainer. Have you ever seen a baby entertaining themselves with their fingers? That's where we want to have our older kids. Let them embrace boredom.
"Creativity is like a muscle, it needs training" that's my favourite quote by my friend Carolin Magunia. And I know that she is completely right. To become creative you need to practise boredom. Get rid of all distractions and see what happens.
Everybody in an artist!? Really! We just need to inspire people around us!
And more ideas to get creativity going, try one of our free lesson plans.