Reading a story with your child, watching a movie together or listening to music with them all have the potential to take your child’s creative thinking skills to a new level.
Then by encouraging your child to respond thoughtfully to what they have read, heard or seen – you can also nurture the development of their imagination.
Asking your child, “What did you think about a book or movie?” often evokes a response such as, “It was good,” or “I didn’t really like it.”
When your kids are ready – my colleague Matthew Worwood suggests that you encourage your kids to take the next step: ask them how they would improve upon “the model” – in this case, what they have read (books), seen (movies) or heard (music).
If they are unsure of how they might improve upon someone else’s creation – try to engage them in a discussion that will prompt some responses.
My daughter recently finished a book that she didn’t like. When I asked what she didn’t like about it she said, “The ending.” This provided a great opportunity to go to the next level of analysis in an imaginative and playful mode.
I asked her, “If you could change the ending – what would you do?”
Sir Ken Robinson points out an important distinction between creativity and imagination in his groundbreaking book, “The Element.” If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Essentially it is about using creativity to find your true purpose – or element:
According to Robinson, imagination deals with thinking of something that is not there. So after Natalie finished reading the book, h20 the two of us tried to imagine a different and better ending. (Creativity, by the way, then involves doing something meaningful with your imagination.)
A great way to jumpstart the imaginative juices in your kids is to play a game of “What if….”
-What if at the end of the movie, E.T. – Elliot decides to leave on the spaceship with E.T.!
The possibilities are endless. As my colleague and school librarian Cara McConnell points out:
-What if at the end of The Giving Tree – he plants a new tree.
-What if at the end of Cinderella – the shoe doesn’t fit.
-What if at the end of Green Eggs and Ham – he doesn’t like them.
This activity can provide wonderful opportunities for the two of you to engage in explorations that will broaden their imagination and further develop their creative thinking skills.