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Four Fun Reads on Creativity Portal

I’m proud to be a regular feature author on Creativity Portal’s website, which offers fascinating articles by people from a variety of backgrounds. My articles address creative thinking in general along with a focus on creativity in kids.

These links open a new window to their website, but if you happen to get lost over there, don’t forget to come back soon, because we have some amazing news to share in the next few days. Check out the following:

Are You a Closet Creative?

Creative people have an ability to identify and solve problems in their personal lives and careers. When first attempts fall short, they formulate Plans B, C, D, or Q as needed. They find ways around roadblocks, come up with quick fixes for little emergencies, and design strategies for tackling serious problems. Creative thinkers are beautifully equipped for navigating the challenges of life. Who are these Creative Heroes? One of them may be you… more >

Creative Talent Comes Out to Play

I’m a big fan of board games, parlor games, and any games that kids and families enjoy. They’re all designed for fun but some games have hidden benefits, too; they reveal creative talents.

Observe your child at play with some of the games listed at the end of this article, and notice if he or she excels at one or more of them… more >

Practical Ways to Encourage Creativity in Kids

As the mom of two incredible kids, one special needs and one identified as gifted, and as a former teacher, I know that creative genius can arise out of any child anywhere. You cannot predict creative aptitude by looking at typical classroom performance. My special needs daughter astonishes me with her handmade folk dolls as much as my gifted son does with his writing skills.

Creative kids are often daydreamers. The word, "daydreamer," has traditionally held negative connotations. Words such as unaware, lazy, and unmotivated are often used to describe daydreamers. But the truth is almost always the opposite. What's going on in a dreamer’s head is likely to be original ideation, visualization, imaginative thought, and creative problem solving. Daydreaming is a good thing… more >

Even If You Can’t Draw a Straight Line, You Can Be an Artist!
For Ages Toddler to Codger

I’ve heard the “can’t draw a straight line” lament many times from those who wish to be more artistic but lack the confidence. The truth is that straight lines have little to do with artistic expression. Creativity does.

Relax and enjoy the experience of painting whether you have traditional art skills or not, and creativity will flow. Children already know this. Here are two easy but mind-expanding art projects you might want to do right along with your kids… more >

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Creativity Soars, But Sometimes It Hops

In my childhood I found the flat sidewalks of Chicago made hopscotch a fun option for kids with nothing to do. The classic game of active amusement could become a neighborhood tournament through creative innovation back then. Kids at play often reveal astonishing creative talents.

Hopping With Holly

Holly, a friend from those days, told me about the summer she stayed with her aunt and had no place to play. But she befriended the girl who lived next door.

They found some chalk and drew a hopscotch course on the sidewalk. They played every day, and invented new hopscotch courses with twists and turns and challenging passages. Soon other kids were joining in.

By midsummer Holly and her friend had organized daily hopscotch contests and even gave out award certificates they made themselves. 

With a stick of chalk and a lot of creativity Holly and her friend turned that summer into something special.

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Guide Your Kids Down the Creative Rapids

There’s a magical mind chemistry known as “Creative Flow,” where we feel in sync with our task, and fully focused on our goal. The term was coined by psychologist and author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi at the University of Chicago.

“Flow” describes a particular state of heightened  consciousness. As Prof. Csikszentmihlyi describes it, creative people are at their peak when they experience a sense of “unified flowing from one moment to the next, in which we feel in control of our actions, and in which there is little distinction between self and environment; between stimulus and response; or between past, present, and future.

Flowing On All Fours

We are most likely to get into flow when our environment has four essential factors. The principles of flow hold true for kids, as well. Provide these factors for your kids, and you may be amazed.

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“That’s The Stupidest Idea I’ve Ever Embraced” 

A stupid idea is a thing of beauty. It’s in the lifeblood of creative thinking. The way to get a great idea is to generate many ideas freely, then select and refine the best.

Ideas flow out in many forms—stupid, weird, silly, outrageous, weak, funny, and as sparks of genius. That assortment comes with the territory; it’s called “creative process.”

It takes courage not to filter your ideas. Holding back for fear of looking ridiculous keeps genius ideas from flowing forth.

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Advice from Outside the Box  

To live successfully—both personally and professionally—you must identify problems and think of ways to solve them. And if your first attempts don’t work, you need the ability to formulate Plan B, C, D, and Q. You must figure out ways around roadblocks, come up with quick fixes for little emergencies, and design effective strategies for tackling serious problems. Creative thinkers are best equipped to navigate the challenges of life. 

Here are some of my favorite anecdotes featuring creative problem solvers. These lighthearted examples are from everyday life, but their “outside the box” approach

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Knowledge is Power but Dreamers Shape the World

Stop and look around at any given moment and you see what startling advances we enjoy. To be surrounded by such accomplishments we must think to ourselves how much people must need to know to be able to create so many marvelous things. And, yes, it’s true that knowledge is the building block upon which great achievements are made. But it takes something else, as well.

Knowledge is the foundation of achievement, but the formula doesn’t add up without one essential ingredient: creative thinking. Creativity blossoms in fields of knowledge. Knowledge + Creative Thinking = Achievement.

Creative thinking is rarely addressed in school, yet it is the number one factor that distinguishes our great achievers from the ordinary in every field. Combined with knowledge, creativity works wonders.

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E. Paul Torrance Concepts Illustrated

Marjorie illustrated these E. Paul Torrance concepts and we thought we'd liven up the the blog and show them to you. These are part of our FREE poster download which includes a short definition of each term. It's on our Freebies page along with other goodies. Don't forget to grab our FREE "Fluency" lesson plan, aptly entitled, "Fluency Flurry." Enjoy!

Read more about E. Paul Torrance, also known as "The Father of Creativity," in Marjorie's post below.

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The Powerful Fours of Creative Thinking

I was in high school when I first came across the writings of the man who would become my lifetime hero. There isn’t another individual who has affected my thinking and my career direction in life as much as he has. Dr. E. Paul Torrance (1915 – 2003) is called The Father of Creativity among educators. He dedicated his life’s work to increasing the recognition, acceptance, and development of the creative personality in education. He did his research at various universities, including The University of Georgia.

Astonished by Students

Torrance’s interest in creativity grew from his struggles as a teacher working with difficult or failing students. He observed the astonishing fact that many of the least successful students went on to become highly successful in business, the arts, science, education, politics, and more. Torrance determined to discover the other forces, outside of traditional education, that power people toward achievement. He discovered creative thinking!

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