Children are born with some measure of creativity. I believe that. Like all human ability, of course, some children are more creative than others, but creativity at some level is innate.
Young children have mental images of their perception of the world long before they have the linguistic skill to voice those images. The adults in the child’s world need to provide the child with the opportunity to communicate those metal images using a wide range of ways other than the spoken or written word; gestures, drawings, paintings, sculpture, construction, music, make-believe play, movement, and dance.
There are three basic ways in which parents can help their children to develop their innate creativity: experience, tools, and encouragement.
Experience: Children need to be exposed to a wide range of creative media, including art, dance, acting, sculpturing, etc. The more children see the results of the creativity of others, the more their own creativity is fostered.
Television is a good medium, and I’m certainly not objecting to all television programming for children; but parents need to be selective about their young children’s television viewing. Television programming for children needs to help children see the results of creativity and encourage children to be creative themselves.
Tools: If you put some Silly Putty in the hands of a five-year-old, you’ll be surprised at what he creates. If you give children the tools that they need to express themselves creatively, they WILL use those tools. They will dance to music. They will cut and paste with abandon. Kids need tools to be creative. Every home in which there are children should have a place where kids can create with abandon.
Encouragement: When children see their parents engaging in creative pursuits, they will imitate them. If the parents do nothing more creative than change channels on the TV, the kids aren’t being encouraged to be creative themselves. Children are encouraged by example and not by words.