Jane

Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with CREATIVITY EXPERT, Jane Harvey

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‘Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing’

-Jane Harvey

‘I’m not creative – I don’t know where they get their creativity from!’ I’ve heard this sentence uttered far too many times from fantastic and highly creative adults – many of them parents. We are all creative! We have natural characteristics that help us think creatively, and the challenge is to continue to develop and nurture these natural characteristics as we grow. As parents one of the ways we can support this effort is by developing a better understanding of creativity and challenging some of the misconceptions that exist within society. In this 3 Question Interview, Jane Harvey who recently co-authored a book called ‘Creativity for Everybody’ will challenge this misconception and explain how creative thinking expands far beyond the arts.

SEE ALSO: Parent Partners in Education: A Beginners Guide to Creativity

What do you consider to be some of the greatest myths about creativity?

Myth: Some people are born creative and some are not. I would prefer to say that it varies in how people find their way into (or out of) creativity.

Myth: Creative people are the odd weirdo-types. Yeah, thanks.

Myth: Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing. I have heard from parents “you can either choose a career that will earn money, or you can choose the arts and not make money”. Why is it either/or? Why can’t the arts be integrated into everything, so our brains get play time and freedom of expression for the full benefit for learning?

What advice do you have for parents who what to cultivate creative thinking skills at home?

Encourage multiple perspectives of a situation. Not everyone thinks the same or sees the same. Have your children get into a habit of considering different views and then talk about it. To build fluency and flexibility for creative thinking, kids need to try out alternatives. There is no one right answer, but we all get caught up in the mindset of efficiency and immediacy. Have your children think beyond a fast answer, and play along yourself. Reward imagination, curiosity, and deep thought.

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Jane with her daughter, Molly Gibbs (who took the photo above) Jane says she encourages her twin daughters to think for themselves and honor their need for freedom to play and think and explore.

What are some of the creative characteristics that you’ve seen in your children and how have you tried to nurture these skills at home?

I don’t see myself as intentionally nurturing creative skills in my daughters (age 17 identical twins). I encourage them to think for themselves and honor their need for freedom to play and think and explore. I support their interests and strongly believe in variety and diversity and making ‘newness’ available to them. I am accessible when they have questions. Teenagers are a different kind of creature. I don’t have the same influence or access as when they were younger, so it’s hard to take credit for their creative characters now. They both have a great sense of humor and clever wit, are perceptive and intense. Deep thinkers, curious, thorough, they do have artistic sides. I mostly try to fan the flames of their creativity and just get out of the way!

SEE ALSO: 3 Question Interview with Kathryn Haydon, co-author of ‘Creativity for Everybody’

Creativity for Everyone is available to buy on Amazon. Alternatively, simply comment below or share this article on Facebook* for a chance to receive a FREE SIGNED COPY.

Jane Harvey is a freelance designer, graphic recorder, artist, and creativity consultant. She is valued for her openness, empathy, and humor, and skills in simplifying and designing content. She earned a Master of Science degree in Creativity, Creative Problem Solving, and Change Leadership from the Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design.

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Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with Creativity Expert, Kathryn Haydon

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Everyone is creative! And as part of my travels on the subject I’ve met many innovative educators, and highly engaged parents, who actively look for ways to improve their practical skills in cultivating creativity. Kathryn Haydon, founder of Sparkitivity, works with families and educators to change the educational paradigm to one based on student strengths and creative thinking and is an author on the subject. I asked Kathryn to share some of the ways parents can better cultivate creativity at home. Be sure to comment on the article for a chance to receive a signed copy of a new book Kathryn co-authored, called Creativity for Everybody.

What do you consider to be some of the greatest myths about creativity?

MYTH: Creativity means arts and crafts, music, and theater.  

REALITY: Creativity is problem solving that results in ideas that are unique and valuable.  We use creative thinking in all facets of our lives (at work, parenting) and it is innate to everyone.  It also can be practiced and improved, just like basketball or soccer or writing or cooking.  

It is true that people express creativity in different degrees.  You can think about it this way: Highly creative people are those who continuously practice creative characteristics, just like Michael Jordan continuously practiced basketball.  Some people are more inclined than others to do these things, but we all are capable of curiosity, exploration, and new thinking.

What advice do you have for parents who want to cultivate creative thinking skills at home?

We begin to understand our own creativity identity when we have opportunities to discover and express our individual thinking, values, and motivations.  Each of us, including children, need freedom for self-discovery.  As parents we can give our children this freedom by releasing them from pressures to conform to pre-determined expectations, such as our own parental desires to raise a star athlete, musician, Ivy League grad, or successor in the family business.   

It is exciting to view parenting as an adventure of child-discovery.  In what ways might you become an observer of what makes your child light up?  Make connections to known interests and motivations, and find different ways to explore them.  Keep in mind that interests and motivations change, sometimes quickly, and that’s okay, too.

Where’s a great place to start?

Curiosity is a wonderful place to start.  In our busy lives, it’s so tempting to live in the realm of factual inquiry and responses.  But what if we ask questions differently to encourage original thinking, curiosity, and exploration?  

“What if . . .?” questions are open-ended and call for higher-level thinking in the response.  Another way to form open questions is to use the phrase, “What might be all of the ways . . . ?”  The phraseology alone implies that there are many possible responses.  We can have fun answering these with our children.  

Even if you are about to encounter a battle, like room cleaning, you can employ open questions.  A tense “Clean your room!” could change to “What might be all of the ways you can clean your room?” followed by a little humor in coming up with answers that diffuses the situation and involves a little humor.  

Check out another 3 Question Interview, with award winning educator Jonathan Nalder.

Don’t forget to comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of Creativity for Everyone. You can also purchase the book on Amazon or www.sparkitivity.com/creativity-for-everybody.

Follow Kathryn on Twitter @sparkitivity and Facebook ttps://www.facebook.com/sparkitivity

FEATURED IMAGE: Molly Gibbs


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Simple bike ride turns into an adventure with a Gruffalo, fairies, a magical wood, dinosaur bones, and a scary forest

I was recently at Cape Cod on a family vacation. Apart from my three year old catching Pink Eye it was an extremely enjoyable and relaxing experience. One of the best things about going on vacation is the opportunity to spend quality time with the family, more importantly the little ones. Lucas, my three-year old terror, can be a handful, but his imagination is something I cherish dearly, and helped turn a simple bike ride into an adventure with a Gruffalo, fairies, a magical wood, dinosaur bones, and a scary forest.

My brother-in-law was kind enough to offer his bike that comes with a little seat for Lucas to sit on. The two of us, bursting with excitement, embarked on our journey around a little beachside community in Mashpee. As we travelled down a path we eventually came to some woodland. At first Lucas was a little scared, calling it a scary forest that has scary skeletons in, but I decided to challenge his imagination to go beyond this current obsession, and come up with other things that might live in the scary forest. To my delight, as its my favorite picture book, he decided that we were in the deep dark wood were the Gruffalo lives, well not just one, lots of them. They were popping up all over the place and poor Daddy had to peddle really quickly to get away from them. After my legs began to burn I needed a change in the adventure’s setting, and with a little bit of encouragement we eventually crossed over into a magical forest with fairies and dinosaur bones in the form of broken branches on trees. I was particularly happy with the fairies as they cast dancing spells on the Gruffalos, which meant I didn’t have to peddle away every time we saw one, also the fairies froze the scary skeletons in their domain so Lucas didn’t have to fear them as much.

On our way back our creative efforts turned away from our adventure and toward the arts with some make up sing-along songs. Obviously it started with a song about Scary Skeletons, but soon we were singing songs about bones, and dancing princess skeletons (they got back in there at the end). It turned into a fantastic bike ride that would compete with an afternoon at Disney’s Magical Kingdom, more importantly, and to the reason why I’m writing this article, simple leading questions from Daddy provided a wonderful opportunity to nurture the imagination and curiosity of my little pal.

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