I recently read an article called The Four Secrets of Playtime That Foster Creative Kids. It gives four things game designers and parents can offer kids:
The whole article goes into great detail, but what I learned (or had affirmed) was how kids need structure and freedom as they learn.
I remember how Tahlia’s favorite toy was an empty gallon jug with a red ribbon tied to it and a few pennies inside. That jug could do anything. More recently, she took a short piece of climbing rope and used it in a thousand different ways.
In both these situations, she faces limits. The rope or ribbon are of fixed length, can only hold so much weight and cannot become something it’s not. With this in mind, there are still a million possibilities. It’s a treat to watch her mind work through them.
Understanding these elements of creativity can also change the way we shop for the holidays. Walking through Ikea with Tahlia in mind, we are able to see lampshades, cargo fasteners and other accessories … not just they way they were “meant” to be used … but for the possibilities for free play that they offer. As a result, chances are that she’ll find some things under the tree that most people who shake their heads at … but I think she’ll be excited.
It doesn’t take a good parent or much creativity to hook their kid up to a video game…but it does take some effort to help a kid be set free. Lets help the next generation (and ourselves) find their creative hearts!