Are Today's Kids Less Creative?

Family Matters on 08.16.11

Creativity isn't something you can gain or lose -- we're all born with it, scientists say -- but without the right encouragement from parents and teachers, kids are showing fewer methods of divergent thinking, says a new study.


In a 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas. They are also less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas, Kim said.

Education psychologist Ron Beghetto from the University of Oregon points to the focus on standardized testing as one possible culprit, since promoting the idea of only one correct solution to a question means "there's not much room for unexpected, novel, divergent thought," he said.

So how can you encourage creativity in your own kids? Limit their screen time, since watching tv doesn't require any interaction; make sure they get plenty of time for imaginative play (read: don't feel like you have to fill every hour with an organized activity); and don't stress the idea of a right or wrong answer during creative pursuits.

What's your family's favorite creative pursuit?

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