We've had a couple of discussions about fostering creativity in kids. I wrote that schools weren't very good at teaching innovation, but it's not really their fault. They have to push 500 kids through a school day. If they let every kid do their own thing, then they wouldn't make it past the third period. I don't really expect schools to do much on that end. That's my job when the kids come home.
Encouraging creativity in my kids is an important goal. It's not going to help my kids land an important job in the future, but I think it will give them a richer life.
This is a rushed post, but here are some of things we semi-consciously do with our kids.
We go places. Random, quick adventures. Not only to zoos and museums. I take them to Lowe's to buy paint supplies or vegetable stands in Chinatown or diners on Route 17. We ride the subways in New York City for the hell of it. We take walks in the woods. We drive to Washington, DC or New Hampshire.
We create zones for mess. Jonah has an IKEA shelf and light above his top bunk. He can do whatever he likes up there. He hangs folders off the ceiling and tapes pictures on the walls. It's a real rat's nest, but I don't care. I just climb up to change the sheets every once in a while.
I never yell at them for dirty clothes. They just have to take off their shoes when they come in the house. I let myself get dirty. I jump in the pool and let my hair get all wiry. I have races with them down the block.
I give them all the tools they need. We have shelves of art supplies that they can pillage whenever they want. I set up an area in the basement for Lego, so they can spread out widely and never have to pick up the pieces. I'll lie down on the ground with them and make stuff, too.
I read to them and get into character. I actually do a very good Hagrid.