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How to Encourage Creativity in a Child

Did you know that creativity can be both taught and learned? While some kids are naturally imaginative thinkers, there are plenty of ways to foster ingenuity and draw out the creative spirit in all children!

Practicing innovative thinking will help children grow to explore their curiosities and take on challenges to solve problems on their own — and creative problem-solving skills have been shown to provide mental health benefits and future advantages for kids. Keep reading to uncover inspiration and try fun, hands-on activities to ignite your child’s creativity.


Building an I Can Invent Mindset

Kids can solve complex problems by building the mindset of an inventor. At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we call this the I Can Invent® Mindset! There are nine essential skills and traits that make up this unique and powerful mindset. Together, these skills and traits unlock creative potential, as proven by our NIHF Inductees, who have used this mindset to develop world-changing inventions.

The I Can Invent Mindset can be practiced each day — both within our education programs and at home! Below are some engaging ways to help your child build these essential skills.

  • Design Thinking: Work with your child to embrace the superpower of empathy as they come up with solutions that can help the people they care about.
  • Confidence: Make sure your child knows they are a capable creator by encouraging them to put their ideas into action. Help your child use their imagination and build their confidence as an awesome, creative problem solver with this STEM activity.
  • Creative Problem Solving: Encourage your young innovator to think outside the box — sometimes even silly ideas can inspire an impactful solution. Is their backpack too heavy? Do they struggle to reach the top shelf? Allow your child to explore their own pesky challenges while learning to be a solver.
  • STEM: In our ever-evolving world, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is all around us. Support your kid’s curious questions as they explore STEM concepts.
  • Persistence: Learning to overcome obstacles by never giving up is how some of the greatest ideas have come to life! The perseverance to overcome failure is prevalent in every aspect of our lives. Encourage your child to take a “create, test and retest” approach to challenges and explain that even famous inventors must push past failure and try again. Find out how 2022 NIHF Inductee Lonnie Johnson showcases persistence as he overcame obstacles and setbacks throughout his life and career in this video.
  • Innovation: Provide hands-on, real-world challenges for your kid and allow their imagination to run wild as they think up new creations and improve upon existing ideas. Get started with this STEM activity and encourage your child to wake up to innovation!
  • Intellectual Property: As your child learns to value their ideas, you can introduce them to the ways in which intellectual property (IP) can protect their rights as creators – after all, IP is everywhere!
  • Entrepreneurship: Give your child opportunities to build basic business skills — from setting up a classic lemonade stand to running an in-home chore service. As they take on responsibility, they’ll learn to take risks and build leadership skills.
  • Collaboration: Imagine the great ideas we could have missed out on if we didn’t consider the feelings, knowledge and experiences of others! Explain that the best designs happen when people work together toward the same goal. Set up playgroups or neighborhood gatherings and have the kids participate in group activities that build collaboration skills. Some fun group ideas include a scavenger hunt, an obstacle course or your favorite backyard sport.


Learn More

For more ideas on how you can help your child build creativity and the I Can Invent Mindset, we invite you to visit our blog.

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