Creativity?! Creative? Create?

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 guess it doesn't. For some, it means they are very good at creating things; for some it means they can paint to a high standard; it means you are great at inventing things or you can adapt yourself to new situations very fast. 


So, now you can think about your definition... 

While you do, I'll start with the definition I found in the "Oxford illustrated Dictionary"-Second edition published in 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 had not been there.  A new idea or new approach. And not only artists. All significant 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 reasons, they got bored at some point in life and either started painting or asking questions. Example: Newton discovered gravity after an apple dropped on his head. And all, just because his mom wanted him to be a farmer, 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,  and 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 to their beds and make them paint or 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 and good brain food. For example, our brain is happy when we watch tv for weeks or play on our phones. It gets numb and doesn't need more. 

So, we can say: all good, brain satisfied, no complaint, 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  Television when we do nothing... I mean absolutely 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! Our mind creates stories and lets us do things we would have never considered. Bored children come up with the best ideas on how to kill boredom. Give children a safe and healthy environment, and they develop their own ideas. And after a while, they don't need much to have great ideas and be super creative.


Give them little ideas like waiting at a bus stop and counting cars. When children get bored again, let them find their own task and a solution. Don't be their entertainer. Have you ever seen a baby entertaining themselves with their fingers? That's where we want our older kids to be. Let them embrace boredom.


"Creativity is like a muscle; it needs training" is my favourite quote, as I know it is correct. 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.