Jumpstarting the Creative Imagination and Child's Play

It is a widely held myth that creativity is a "gift", only bestowed upon the chosen few, unattainable and beyond our grasp.  Many people I talk to say that they wish that they could draw, paint and make art, but "I don't have a creative bone in my body". Creativity is the ability to use the imagination to come up with new ideas, whether it is a unique solution to a problem, an innovative way of doing something, or an original product or design.  Everyone does that to some extent, but how can we more fully realize our creative potential?  We can start simply by watching children play.

Too often we think that playing is something that only children should do.  If we watch children play, we realize that jumpstarting the creative imagination and child's play both involve the same basic building blocks.  Exploration, experimentation, building and using our hands are at the heart of both.

Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most creative people of all time, was an inventor, scientist, painter, sculptor, mathematician and architect, to name a few.  In his book, Think Like Leonardo, Michael Gelb describes da Vinci as someone who possessed a curiosity about life, a willingness to learn by trial and error, and the capacity to embrace ambiguity and uncertainty.  Leonardo was able to strike a balance between logic and imagination, and recognize that all things are interconnected.

Again, how do we become more creative? Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, suggests that we take the time to go backwards and explore our play history, our most joyful play images and see how those memories connect with our life now.  By doing this we will rediscover our earlier childhood passions and love for play.

So let's have fun and spark our creative imagination!