creativitycre·a·tiv·i·ty – [kree-ey-tiv-i-tee, kree-uh-] noun

The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.


Creativity may be becoming a lost art, no pun intended.  Days of roaming the ‘hood or just messing around in the back yard are dwindling for many kids.   We – parents and kids – are scheduled, overscheduled and busy, distracted.  Just look at the proliferation of adult coloring books as a creative and mindful antidote to adults’ busy lives. Or look at the wide variety of pre-packaged creative projects available to kids, so long as they follow the directions to complete the craft. Or look around in a public space and see the heads (big and small) with necked bent forward over a screen instead at another human being.

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”  – Dr. Seuss

What does this lack of authentic creative processes mean for our kids?  How do we let them tap into their creativity, let alone nurture it and find meaningful ways to tap into it? Why does this matter, now and as they develop?  Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn, cites research from Dr.Kyung Hee Kim (College of William and Mary) that says:

“creativity is nurtured by freedom and stifled by the continuous monitoring, evaluation, adult-direction, and pressure to conform that restrict children’s lives today.”  

Furthermore, as most working adults know, few questions have one black and white, single correct answer.   A creative thinker can look at a problem from different perspectives and offer different solutions.  Schools face their own challenges and demands which, unfortunately, often stifle this type of creative problem solving and thinking.  At home, kids often have to overcome boredom, fail, overcome failure to find their most creative selves. But then cannot if they are scheduled and entertained. If you’re looking to spark creativity and let kids learn to be bored, what can parents and caregivers do to foster creativity at home?

I’m curious to know how you allow your children the space and time to explore creativity?  I asked this recently on the WOC Facebook page.  Some response includes science experiments seen on video, freedom to explore outside, craft projects are done around the kitchen table.  What opportunities are available to them to explore outdoors or with materials inside? Where do you allow them the freedom to try things and perhaps fail? To learn and grow and feel self-efficacy?

What else do you do? What are opportunities available to them to explore outdoors or with materials inside? Where do you allow them the freedom to try things and perhaps fail? To learn and grow and feel self-efficacy?  Please drop a note in the comments below or just shoot me a note at

One final note, with a full disclaimer that this falls under the heading of “parental pride.”  My son, one who struggled and persevered through school, is now a senior, destined for art school next fall. Years of wondering how all his creativity and quirky tendencies will play out – and still wondering – we are thrilled that his efforts have allowed him to develop art like this:

Nathan Barrier Ollie by J. Wells


Creative art like this mixed-media, has won him national recognition with a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art Awards, along with a couple other Scholastic Art Awards. Our family is not one to college trophies and awards, but this is an amazing affirmation of the kind of stuff he can create and as parents, the affirmation that letting your kid be who he is destined to be is a joyful process and sometimes, comes with external recognition. If you’re in NYC this spring, NYC students’ creativity recognized with Gold Key Awards will be exhibited at the Met, March 11th- May 30th.

Here’s to a creative week!

Take care,






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