“Boredom and Creativity-what’s the Link?”
“I’m bored”, a famous statement amongst children. In a time where technology is making things readily available in a moment’s notice, we wonder how can our children be bored? Boredom can be a gateway to creativity if we allow the time for it to spark. So how can boredom and creativity be connected? In decades past, children did not have the technology or resources available to them for entertainment. They needed to find ways to occupy their time and have fun on their own. This led to many made up games and times of imagination and creativity. In recent times with the introduction of tablets, smart phones, smart TVs, and handheld video games we are seeing a decline in the use of imaginative play and child led games. Children seem to want to be “entertained” by someone or something, but if given the opportunity to use their imagination you might be surprised by the outcome.
Boredom can encourage children to use creativity and their imagination. With our children involved in sports, dance, art classes, etc. they have a busy schedule at a young age. Activities are not bad in themselves and have benefits of their own, but children need down time, time to think and learn through using their imagination and play. Children need to learn to problem solve on their own and boredom helps them independently think of things without the intervention of someone else or some form of entertainment. Simply playing with other children, with toys or even household items can inspire creativity and help build relationships. When children are interacting together, without technology or TV, they can
learn to get along and solve problems all the while having fun and enjoying the company of a friend. Play time is essential to childhood development.
“We need to flip that mindset and think of boredom as an opportunity for kids,” explains Jeanne Huybrechts, chief academic officer at Stratford School”. Boredom is an opportunity for growth and if we begin to see it as a positive then our children will too. When a child is bored, they do not always need someone to come to their rescue and give them an activity. Allow time for your child to think of things on their own before jumping in. There are ways to help your child when they are bored but not always “solve” the issue.
Learn to recognize the signs of boredom and try to head it off with a few simple choice activities. You can create “busy boxes” with some open-ended items that can spark creativity in your child. Using “theme” boxes is a great way to encourage your child to make up games or have fun. Think of your child’s interest and make the “theme” ideas based on that. If your child likes to build, make a bin or box with building materials, some construction hats, clip boards, paper, and pencils. You can make a bin of cars with items to make simple ramps. The possibilities are endless!
Outdoor play is probably one of the best ways to head off boredom. Getting outside is healthy both for body and mind. There are many opportunities for imagination and creativity outdoors. Some of the best made up games can be played outside. Try to get as much outdoor time as possible. This is a great way to help your child deal with feelings of boredom. Try to provide time during your day and week not to use technology. Allow time for reading and just playing. It will help your child to rest their mind and not get over stimulated. Set aside this time so your child is aware it is a “tech free” time.
There are ways you can help your child manage boredom and not feel as if you need to constantly fill your child’s time. One idea is to help your child make a list of things they can do when they are feeling bored. Make a “boredom box” with cards that have activities they can pull out and choose to do. Try to make these simple and open ended. You will probably need to keep the ideas fresh and rotate them every so often. Use the “theme” bins or find items around the house to inspire your child’s creativity. As your child begins to use their own resources and problem solving skills they will learn to manage boredom on their own, and allow the natural learning process to take place.