I am not creative!


Last weekend, I had the opportunity to teach a virtual workshop about creativity.  

One of the questions I posed to the attendees was, “Do you consider yourself to be creative?”.  Over half of them responded with a “no”.  This is not the first time I have gotten that response when I’ve asked that question. Why don’t we consider ourselves to be creative?  At what point do we lose the ability to think creatively?  

Honestly, I don’t think we lose the ability, but instead, we forget how to use it.  Many people hear the term “creative” and immediately think of an artist or an inventor.  The reality is that creativity simply means thinking about things differently and taking old things and making them into new things. There are actually over one hundred different definitions of the concept, but I don’t have enough characters to list them all.  

Essentially, you can be creative in ANYTHING you do. Perhaps you really are a good artist. You can easily mix colors and put them to good use through illustration. Maybe you are a great cook. You don’t need a recipe to make a delicious meal, but can whip something up from scratch. You might be an excellent interior designer (even if it is just a hobby). You can look at a blank wall in your home and envision what types of decor could fit there to enhance the space. Maybe you like to write. Or tell stories. Or plan events.  

Whatever it is you enjoy doing, you are likely utilizing your creative side to do it.  

As adults, it is our responsibility to foster creativity in children by providing them with knowledge and opportunities to explore and manipulate that knowledge.  It doesn’t require fancy toys or expensive technology, simply exposure.  

Observe your children playing and see if you can pick up on some of their interests. Build on those interests by finding books to read, museum exhibits to discover, or even experts to talk to about those interests. Provide children with materials to create their own inventions and help their ideas come to life. As you watch the magic happen, think about your own interests and how you can bring the creative side of you out again. You might be surprised at what you find!

If you would like more information about creativity and how to cultivate it within yourself or the children you work with, feel free to email me at sarah.roberts@unl.edu.  I’d love to share the resources I have to help you in learning more about creativity in early childhood.