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The Creative Brain of Children

The Creative Brain of Children

Children have a remarkable creativity to think in a limitless, divergent and imaginative way. They do so in a joyful, beautiful way, without the fear of being ‘weird’ which all too often limits us as adults. 

It’s incredible to watch a child’s brain at work. 


While they may not have had the chance to take in as many facts as an adult’s, a child’s brain possesses a wonderful wealth of skill. Their capability to create, imagine and play is totally unparalleled. 


Being able to watch a child apply their mind to creative means is an absolute joy. Have you ever sat and watched a young child who is completely absorbed in their play and thought, “Wow, their mind is so focused, look how hard their brain is working!”


Although European education tends to place academia on a pedestal, there’s a huge amount to be gained from developing this innate creativity. In fact, it’s a skill that children are already remarkably adept at.  


At Mini Beee, we’re all about encouraging the imaginative side of children. We want to help them to ignite this creative spark, which (in our experience) is at its best when in the great outdoors. 


So, in this blog post, we wanted to lend a bit of our own creativity. 


We’ve delved into some of the latest research into the psychology of children’s creativity, and we wanted to share our findings with you. Read on to learn more about the creative brain of children, and how you can encourage this imaginative approach to play in your own child. 

What makes creativity different? 


In recent years, there has been a lot of neuroscientific research into how creativity actually works. 


This has involved analysing the brain’s processes, and seeing what is unique about the different ways in which we exercise our brain - i.e. what makes academia and creativity different? 


According to a fascinating interview with Scientific American, the neuroscience expert Anna Abraham outlined how when it is being creative, the brain’s so-called ‘creative mode’ arises “in contexts that are unclear, vague and open-ended. The opposite is true of the uncreative mode.”


As a result, creativity requires you to “forge a new path through the gray zone of the unexpected, the vague, the misleading or the unknown.”


Although research is still being undertaken to better understand this process, it has been found that a number of brain networks are being utilized in unusual, dynamic and intriguing ways when we think creatively.  


Later on in the interview, Anna spoke more about the role that creativity has on our brain development. She stated that: 


“Creative thinking involves the discovery of novel connections and is therefore tied intimately to learning. Arthur Koestler pointed this out rather beautifully several decades ago: “Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.””

Are children especially creative? 


The short answer - Yes!


Children have a remarkable creativity to think in a limitless, divergent and imaginative way. They do so in a joyful, beautiful way, without the fear of being ‘weird’ which all too often limits us as adults. 


There are a number of key reasons why children are better creatives than adults. 


In an article by Medium, researchers outline how the frontal cortex loses the full extent of its creative ability. At the end of our teenage years, this part of the brain “becomes more “rational,” allowing us to make better value judgments and decisions.” The downside of this is that our creativity begins to diminish.

You could also impart this trend to sociology. Not only do adults fear failure more (and so, tend to avoid anything that could be open to misinterpretation), but at this point in our lives, we’ve already been pushed to place a higher value on academic thinking. 


We mistakenly take a clear-cut approach to the matter - associating learning with dull routine academics, and creativity with useless fun. But this is certainly not the case. 


In fact, in the world of work, creativity is valued far more highly than you might expect. 


According to LinkedIn Learning, in January 2019, a report found that “Creativity is the single most important skill in the world.”


Furthermore, Puccio, et al found that in a group problem solving session, the teams that had some form of formal creativity training were able to devise 350% more ideas. What’s more, their suggestions were far more original than the other group - by a staggering 415%.


What are the benefits of children’s creative play? 


As you can see from the small sample of studies that we’ve referenced above, there is a wealth of research into creativity.


It’s more than just a bit of fun - there are so many fantastic benefits that creative thinking can bring to a child, both in the immediate present, and way into their future.  


In Adobe’s report Hiring for the Future, 78% of surveyed workers (all with a college education) aged 25 and over said that they wished they were more creative. That’s a pretty overwhelming statistic, and not necessarily one that we might have expected. 


In recent years in particular, the value that the world of work is placing on creativity has skyrocketed. When you think about it, you can see why employers would want to hire dynamic, bold and innovative people. The benefits that these creative thinkers can bring to a team is tremendous. 


With this in mind, to give you a glimpse into why it’s worth investing in creative play, we’ve listed the key plus points of encouraging children’s creative play.


Creative play can: 


Help children to learn. Despite what critics may say, creativity is a form of learning, in and of itself. It focuses and exercises the brain, and helps the child to learn about the world around them, while having fun doing so. This is a fantastic way to promote healthy and impressive cognitive development. 


Provide a more effective form of learning. Different types of learning suit different people. If your child is a creative learner, they are far more likely to expand their cognitive abilities through creative means. 


Encourage a love of learning. This dynamic and engaging approach to learning will help to foster this enthusiastic approach to expanding the mind. This will bring many benefits, well into the future. 


Offer a highly stimulating activity. This play can engage all of the senses, and exercise the brain to its full capabilities. 


Boost memory. It has the capability to assist in a range of key brain functions, including memory and problem-solving. 


Fuel the imagination. Creative play is a brilliant way to develop your child’s unique imagination. 


Challenge the status quo. It sounds corny, but creativity brings with it the ability to think of new ideas, devise new solutions, and think on your feet. 


Build confidence. If your mind feels limitless, you are far more likely to tackle life’s challenges with confidence. 


How can I encourage my child’s creativity? 


Thankfully, children naturally lend themselves to creativity. As a result, you’ll never be short of ways to encourage this. 


At Mini Beee, we believe that the great outdoors is a must for any type of children’s play. 


We’ve spoken in great detail about the roles of nature and play in childhood development. We have also discussed the importance of forest schools, and the value that comes with using the natural world to develop a child’s cognitive ability.  


So, in our minds, the answer is simple - you can encourage your child’s creativity by getting them out and about in nature!


Take your child outside - whether it’s to the local park, a trip to a forest, or even just your own back garden - and allow their creativity to run free. Allow their imagination to boundlessly take flight in these natural spaces, and you’ll immediately see just how much they can gain from this simple activity. 


Throughout our range of children’s outdoor furnishings, we aim to create comfy pieces, which encourage kids to spend more of their time engaging in this precious activity. These furnishings give them the sense of their very own outdoor space, which helps them to forge a stronger, personal connection to the great outdoors. 


And here, they can happily set their creative brain to work. 


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