Monday, March 03, 2008

Reclaiming Our Childhood Creativity

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." -- Albert Einstein
Reminiscing on the creativity of youth:

Growing up, I didn’t play with a whole lot of store-bought toys. It’s not that my parents didn’t provide enough tools to stimulate my young mind. In fact, it was quite the opposite: my parents had given me the best toy a young boy could have. I was raised in the country.

Living in the middle of nowhere for the first part of my childhood meant that I didn’t need very many toys to keep me happy. Instead I preferred activities like climbing trees, turning hay bales into forts and tromping through the woods, to name a few. I learned quickly that the best fun was the kind made with your own imagination.

I grew up in small towns and can appreciate much of what this author writes. I remember having hours of fun climbing the tree in our backyard, building forts in the bushes or out of couch cushions, blankets, and cardboard boxes. I had hours of fun with a cloth cape my mom made me and many a stick was turned into a sword. A pencil turned a simple board into a high-tech space computer and I caught many crayfish and salamanders in our creek out front and spent lots of time having adventures in the woods.

While I certainly had store bought toys as well (most notably LEGO and action figures), other than LEGO, most of these went outside with me and our imagination turned the outdoors into the best action figure set ever. I would often ride around the neighborhood for hours on my bike with other boys and all was well as long as I was home in time for dinner. Somehow those kinds of experiences seem much rarer for kids today.

I recently wrote on how sense of community seems to be changing due to changes in technology and economic development. It was written looking more from an adult perspective. For adults, I'm not sure it's such a bad thing, but for children, it seems like the disconnectedness of neighborhoods means something precious is being lost.

Here are eight steps for reclaiming your childhood creativity:
  • Eliminate pesky technology distractions.
  • Stop multi-tasking.
  • Seek alone time.
  • Be silly.
  • Nap times.
  • Milk and cookies.
  • Test the boundaries.
  • See the world with wonder.
Follow the link for more one each one. Incidentally, this doesn't sound like a bad proscription for doing research.

For more "grown-up" tips on how to be creative, here is some advice from MIT's Technology Review. I'm not sure their advice is all that different.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Stop Multitasking? That would be anti-female! LOL. Actually, I love this post. While My little ones do have a lot of toys that were gifted to them, I love seeing my little miss building pillow forts, saving her dolls from alligator pits and climbing up couch mountain!