Five Ways to Teach Your Children to Be More Creative

015: The Myth of Outside the Box Thinking: Why Brainstorming and Other Such Techniques Are Your Worst Enemy
November 2, 2020
016: Six Best Books on Creativity: The Classics that Teach the How and Not the Why
November 9, 2020

Five Ways to Teach Your Children to Be More Creative

If you think innovation is only for adults, well, you’re wrong – because kids can just be as innovative as adults are, even more sometimes. 

Here are 5 ways to teach your kids to be more creative:

  1. Function Follows Form

This is the idea of working backward where you start with a solution first and then work back to the problem. An example of this is the Ruined Product Exercise where you have your kid take any product around the house. Then ask them to make one change to the product where they’re going to make it worse. So they’ve got to take this seemingly ruined configuration and figure out some way to make it beneficial to people. 

  1. The Value of Constraints

Teach your kids to realize that constraints are a necessary condition for creativity to occur. For instance, ask your child to come up with an idea of some new invention for the car. Then take them inside of the car and tell them that they have to come up with an invention that only applies to people sitting in the backseat. This way, it forces the kids into a smaller, more constrained environment and they’re most likely to come up with a more creative idea than their first one.

  1. Task Unification

It’s taking a component and giving it an additional job forcing it to do something other than what it was doing in addition to what it was supposed to do.

  1. The Division Technique

The division technique basically involves taking a component, cutting it, then rearranging it somehow. One very good example is time which can be divided and rearranged, not physically but mentally. Let kids imagine time as a sequence of events occurring in a different arrangement. Take a scheduling issue and move things around and see what it does for them. Have them do it. At first, just randomly divide something out of their day and move it to a different part of the day, and see if there’s a benefit to it. The lesson here is to get them to realize that moving your schedule around creates opportunities you may not have thought of otherwise. 

  1. The Idea of Patents

Kids are very fascinated by the idea of patents. A patent is a legal protection in business or engineering. But kids think they’re just the bomb. So get your kids to see that it’s very possible to create something and have it patented. Google inventions by kids and you’ll find lots of examples. And this could be something that will get them very excited about.

To hear more about how you can teach kids to be more innovative, listen to the full podcast episode here: Episode 014: Five Ways to Teach Your Children to be More Creative.