Last year we had some lovely new friends over for a playdate. As they usually do, my kids eagerly took the visitors around for a tour--showing off their own bedrooms and everything in between.
Later when the mom and I were chatting outside together she said, "Your kids have no toys! Tell me how you've done this." I laughed initially--because to my mind I see toys everywhere, and I know my children have plenty.
But I went on to explain my toy philosophy, the most important of which is this:
Creativity can only grow where there's a void.
I recounted how I noticed that as I pared down our family's stuff through once-a-month decluttering, keeping only what we most treasured and used, I found that my kids' creativity continued to blossom.
Here are a few common-sense tips to allow for that void so creativity can fill it:
1. Make space.
When our homes are physically cluttered, there's no empty space to invite a child to begin a project. Simplifying literally allows a physical void to emerge.
2. Limit screens.
I am not one for doing away with screen time altogether. In fact, it is a vitally important part of our days--allowing me to work and make progress with my writing.
But other than once or twice a day when it's "video time," the television stays off. This creates a void of time--and unstructured time beckons boredom and creativity.
3. Books, books, books.
Reading encourages creative thinking.
Recently Trishna described to me the pictures her mind creates when she listens to a story or writes one of her own. It seemed magical to her that she can go somewhere else without actually going somewhere else--and it IS magical!
4. Let go of your stereotypes about creativity.
I do not knit, sew, paint, or draw, but I am a creative person. Sometimes we have stereotypes about creativity that we unknowingly pass on to our children. There's a myriad of ways to demonstrate creativity, and just by having a few basic supplies on hand we invite our kids to take part.
"The principle goal of education is to
create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating
what other generations have done -
men who are creative, inventive and discoverers."
~ Jean Piaget