The Importance of Cultivating Creativity
The following blog post was written by a St. Ambrose University marketing student as part of a final project for class. We appreciate the research and insight the student provided on this topic.
Minds are so easily formed at a young age, and people are increasingly trying to understand how to bring more creativity to the lives of children. Pushing creativity to children and getting them to think on their own terms while looking at things from a different perspective is important now more than ever. The individuals making lasting impressions on young children, such as parents and other caregivers, should be encouraging creativity in everyday life because it leads to more independent thinking, and it promotes emotional, social, physical, and cognitive development, as well as language skills and literacy. 
One way to promote creativity in everyday life for children is to stress values over rules. Of course every human being has to learn to follow rules, as our society is governed by them. However, when too much emphasis is placed on a rule itself instead of why a child should or shouldn't be doing something, that encourages rigidity. Stressing values over rules, children are more likely to take personal responsibility for their actions and be more flexible, which can lead to a more lasting impression on their character. This is also important because if parents, caregivers, and other important adult figures can help children understand their actions and why there are consequences (good and bad), it will encourage children to think through their actions and make more responsible decisions.
Another way to encourage creativity is to ask questions such as, "What would you do in this situation?" or "What's another way we could solve this problem?" Asking questions such as these will make children draw from previous experiences, and also forces them take multiple points of view into consideration. Children are involved in situations every day that they're learning from, and by asking questions that encourage them to draw from those experiences and to think outside the box, creativity can be fostered. This is beneficial later in life, as individuals who learn early on to produce different ideas and think creativity about how to solve problems have more enhanced cognitive growth and thought process, which can lead to better decision making and less "following the crowd".  These individuals are also likely to be more open minded and willing to consider other people's experiences and ideas.
A third way to encourage creativity is by allowing children to create something or by challenging them to find new ways of doing old activities.  For example, giving a child pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks instead of their usual playdough tools/toys will force them to find new ways to play with playdough. And allowing them to create things out of playdough independently encourages independent thinking and creative problem solving. It also allows them to use their imagination, which is essential for children as they develop. Any time children are given the opportunity to create things (whether it's making a mud pie, painting a picture, planting flowers, playing with playdough, or helping make a recipe) their cognitive, emotional, and social skills improve.
With an ever changing world we need less individuals who want to run the same path and more who are willing to challenge the status quo. Promoting creativity at a young age leads to more passion in life, and allows for creative thinking and being able to look at and evaluate a situation from different angles, which allows individuals to make more thought out and open minded decisions. Encouraging early creative development in the coming generations will lead to a world with more impactful ideas, open mindedness, and creative problem solving. And I think we can all get on board with that kind of world!