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The Freefall of Children's Creativity

Research shows children's creativity is declining at an alarming rate. Luckily, as parents, there is much we can do.

Research shows that over the last two decades our children's creativity scores are plummeting. When I was a kid and got home from school, we weren’t allowed inside the house until dinner time. But, at least that’s where we discovered creative play. These days, many of our kids know more about how to blast aliens in a video game, than what to do with a wooden spoon, compass and a cape. 

In 2010, Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary shared the results of her study of 300,000 Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) scores of children and adults.  Kim found that since 1990, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.” This decline means are children are becoming less verbally or emotionally expressive, and less empathetic, less humorous, less imaginative, less able to visualize ideas, less able to see things from different angles, and less able to fantasize or be future-oriented.

One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools, due to the overwhelming demands of curriculum standards.

The good news is that all children are born with some degree of creativity. When parents become educated about creativity, they can help their children preserve their natural inclination to it. Research has shown that creativity can be nourished and taught and that creativity training can have a strong effect.

Take some time this weekend to help foster your child's inner creativity. The first step is as simple as giving them an empty tissue box and asking them to come up with a list of unusual uses for it. Teaching your children how to be creative will give them the tools they'll need to become more innovative problem-solvers and even, as research shows, live longer, healthier lives.

For more information on the research I mentioned, and creative ideas you can use with your children today, check out my blog site: http://raisecreativekidz.com/.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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