The Creativity Edge

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Einstein once said, “imagination is more important than knowledge,” and researchers are starting to agree.  It turns out that creativity, or imagination, creates opportunities for insight[1] and allows people to look at problems differently…. more creatively, you might say. 
 
Interestingly, Nobel Laureate scientists are more likely to be involved in the arts than their less eminent colleagues. Are Nobel Laureates smarter or more highly trained than other scientists? Maybe, but their creativity and artistic pursuits may also help them to think about scientific questions in different ways, allowing new inventions or ideas to be born. 
 
Creativity helps everyday people solve everyday problems too, as creative people bring this creativity to every problem. So if creativity is actually important, how do we teach our children creativity?  Through play! 
 
Pretend play, which involves fantasy and make-believe, is recognized as the type of play most important in developing creativity[2], though every type of play involves a little magic. Who knew fairy princesses and dragons were actually helpful after all!  Fantasy play has also been linked to children having a greater variety of coping strategies and decreased anxiety. 
 
Being creative helps children solve problems but it also helps them ‘make believe’ themselves out of stressful or scary situations, as unfortunately not every moment can be filled with happiness, and sometime the princess has to slay the dragon.  So creativity, and its benefits, are yet another reason to encourage our children to play more.

 

The Science of Genius

Outstanding creativity in all domains may stem from shared attributes and a common process of discovery.

 

Pretend Play and Creative Processes
"Pretend play enables the expression of many cognitive abilities and affective  processes important in creativity."
  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.