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Tip No. 7 Creative Art

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after

growing up. Pablo Picasso

Every child is an artist. All that children need is some freedom to explore

their creativity through art. Set aside a wall or section of a wall in your

home (use a surface material that is easy to clean with a duster or a piece

of wet cloth) for your children to practice their art.

You should emphasize the enjoyment and the process of creating art more

than the results. The final quality of a young child's work is not as

important as the process used in creating them.

Question 7: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 7: A large plain surface gives a lot of room for your children to

explore their artistic flair. Your children’s cognitive development depends

on how their perception and hand-eye coordination vary as well as their

views of the world.

For instance, a cat may look like anything but a cat. Take a positive view

into your child's explanation for his/her drawings. Encourage their

expression of ideas by praising their artwork to your visiting friends or


Mind exercise 7

Explore geometric shapes with your children. For example, what does a

small circle on top of a big circle represent? Look for as many answers as


Answer 7: Snowman, balancing a ball on the head, an orange on top of a

watermelon, a ping-pong ball on top of a tennis ball, etc.

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Tip No. 8 Fantasy Play

The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, which belongs also to the child.

As such, it appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work.

But, without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come

to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. Carl Gustav Jung

Parents should encourage their children to indulge in fantasy play even

though it may create some messiness in their homes.

Empty boxes, in particular, hold endless fascination for the child. They

could become cars, spaceships, planes or anything that their imagination

wants them to be.

Cushions and blankets too can become imaginative playthings such as

castles, tents and perhaps caves.

Question 8: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 8: Children, who were, in their learning, allowed to test and

make discoveries by their own abilities and in a variety of ways, acquired

a greater ability to solve problems than children who have only been

observing or been instructed when solving problems.

A study presented at the American Psychological Society's conference

shows that children are more creative when parents are not constantly

encouraging them.

Dr. Dale Grubb, a co-author of the study, said: "The adage that parents

want to encourage kids to color between the lines appears to be true.

Parents need to allow their kids to feel free to experiment if they want

their children to grow up into creative and original adults. If parents get

involved too much the child feels they are being evaluated and judged.”

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Mind exercise 8

Tear a piece of A4 paper in

Answer 8:

two and give one piece to

your child. Ask them to use

a pair of scissors to cut a hole

so big that they can walk right

through it!

Tip No. 9 – Fun with empty boxes

Playfulness supports higher order learning. Engagement, interaction and

reflection are the key elements of a playful learning situation

Nobuyuki Ueda

Empty boxes, cartons or packaging materials left over from your shopping

can be transformed into endless playthings that are limited only by your

child’s imagination.

They can decorate the boxes, put them on their heads as headgear,

mount them on their bodies as body-armor, sit inside them as cars, ships

or planes, etc.

Question 9: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 9: Creating their own playthings allows your child to develop

his or her imagination. Boxes and packaging materials provide endless

fascination for the child.

In fact, the simpler and less expensive the materials, the better they are

for the development of imagination. For instance, children often have

much more fun playing with the packaging materials of the toys rather

than with the toys themselves.

Mind exercise 9

Ask your child how to reduce the space required to keep the boxes.

Answer 9: You can put the smaller boxes into the bigger one or you

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could just fold the boxes.

Tip No. 10 - The Map of the World

Society has not given the same attention to the education of the genius

as has been given to other groups. We spend millions every year for the

mentally retarded. The unfortunate child of superior intellect spends his

time in a usual commonplace school assimilating a diet far below his

expected capacity. Josephine Concannon

Discuss with your child the difference between the world map represented

on a globe and a world map in a map-book. How are they different?

The globe, being a three-dimensional image, gives a more accurate

representation of our planet Earth than the two-dimensional map book.

You can never accurately flatten the globe into a 2-D representation.

Question 10: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 10: The exercise will help your child to understand that we can

never fully represent our real 3-D world in 2-D pictures. This will trigger

greater interest and curiosity in your child to find out more about the

world around him or her.

Mind exercise 10

Ask your child to draw a picture of Answer 10: The picture will not look

a cat or dog using a marker pen

the same because you project a 3-D

on the skin of an orange. Next

image on a 2-D surface.

peel the orange from the top with

a small knife in a circular direction

(see diagram). Reconstruct the

picture by laying the peeled skin

flat on the table. Does the picture

look the same?

Tip No. 11 - Watching Clouds

In pretend or make-believe play, imagination is given a full reign – this

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form of play stimulates the child’s inventive rather than imitative

abilities. Dorothy G . Singer & Jerome L. Singer

On a day when the sky is brilliant blue and the clouds move by in their

formations of different shapes, ask your children to interpret their shapes.

Ask them what they can see. Are there animals, people or shapes of other

living things or objects? Can they see dinosaurs, elephants, eagles, tigers,


Bring sketchbooks for yourself and your kids and draw what you see

above you. Do not disagree with your children. Instead, be fascinated with

what they describe to you.

Question 11: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 11: Fantasy and imagination are important ingredients for a

creative mind. By asking your children to associate cloud shapes with

animals, you are nurturing their natural and inborn power of association.

This will strengthen their powers of observation and correlation, a

fundamental creative skill.

After all, creativity is about the ability to make connections between two

or more unrelated objects or events.

Mind exercise 11

What material has lots of holes yet can hold water

Answer 11: Sponge.

Tip No. 12 - What Are They Selling?

Focus should be to encourage and develop creativity in all children

without the ultimate goal being to make all children inventors, but rather

to develop a future generation of critical thinkers. Faraq Mousa

Whenever a TV commercial comes on, ask your children what's being sold

and what methods are being used to convince us to buy the products.

Children love this game because the answer is not always obvious.

Sometimes the commercials are subtle, and it can be challenging for

young children, sometimes even for us, to identify what was being sold.

You should also ask them whether the advertisement's claims are

believable and if not, why not?

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Question 12: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 12: Children love this game because the answer may not be

obvious. The game will stimulate your child's thinking process and make

them less gullible about the advertisement’s claims.

Mind exercise 12

Hold a magnet and gently glide it over the TV screen with the TV on. What

happens to the picture and why?

Answer 12: The picture will be distorted. At this stage it suffices to

explain that TV signals depend on magnetism.

Tip No. 13 - Benefits of Father’s Involvement

Life is demanding with pressures squeezing from every side. Parenting,

though, requires a lifetime investment. It's not something one can just do

during commercial breaks or while driving the children to school. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller

Mothers are usually the ones who spend the most time with her children.

However, the father’s role is also very important. Fathers should spend

more time with his children telling stories, playing games and helping out

with their school work.

Question 13: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 13: Fathers exert a very powerful influence in their children's

lives. Researchers discovered from surveys of over 20,000 parents that,

when fathers took an active role in their children's education, their

children were:

• more likely to receive good results

• more likely to enjoy school

Children who grow up with warm, nurturing and actively involved fathers

(as opposed to uninvolved fathers) reap tremendous benefits including:

• better school performance

• increased self-esteem

• healthier relationships with peers

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Mind exercise 13

You are standing at the edge of a ravine exactly 100 meters from the

stony bottom and holding an egg in your right outstretched hand. You let

go of the egg and let it fall into the ravine. What happens to the egg when

it has fallen 100m?

Answer 13: Nothing. The egg hasn’t reached the bottom yet at 100m.

The distance to the bottom is 100m plus the height of your outstretched

hand above the ground where you stand.

Tip No. 14 - Jig-saw Puzzles

Play is perhaps the most important element of human development. Play

helps us develop a social sense, physical abilities and communicative

skills. Doris Bergen

Get a jig-saw puzzle set corresponding to the age of your children. Ask

them to assemble the pieces according to the picture given. Now turn the

pieces over so that the pictures are covered. Ask your child to assemble

the jig-saw puzzle using these blank pieces.

Is there a difference in difficulty in assembling the pieces?


Question 14: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 14: Assembling jig-saw pieces provide an important hands-on

learning experience for your child. The pieces with the picture facing up

represent knowledge. The blank pieces represent ignorance.

The exercise therefore demonstrates the importance of knowledge in

problem-solving. That's why children need to go to school.

Mind exercise 14

Where is the principle of the jig-saw puzzle applied in real life?

Answer 14: It is applied to the construction of pre-fabricated houses and

bridges. Many manufacturing operations involving the assembly of parts

also utilize this principle.

Tip No. 15 - Paper Fantasy

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. Plutarch Copyright © 2004-2008 Dr. YKK Yew Kam Keong, Ph.D

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Ask your children to crumble a soft piece of paper tissue in their hands.

Start with geometric shapes like cubes and pyramids by compressing the

crumbled piece of paper. Once they are familiar with shaping the paper

they can proceed to making animals or objects . By tearing, pulling,

folding and rolling the paper your children should be able to transform the

paper into wings, head, tails or legs.

Question 15: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

This is a simple but effective exploration of the creativity of your child. Let

them fantasize about their creation.

Don't worry if the piece of paper doesn't look like the object or animal

they described. Remember the surrealist art of Picasso, the great artist?

Mind exercise 15

Can you wrap up fire with a piece of paper?

Answer 15: Yes , you can. Have you ever seen paper lanterns?

Tip No. 16 - Stacking Cans

When you create an environment where learning can happen, learning

happens. Maria Montessori

Empty drink cans can be great creative playthings for your children. Ask

your child to make the tallest structure possible using only 10 cans. Once

they have finished, ask them whether there is any way that they could

stack them even higher.

Question 16: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 16: Your children learn about the concept of stability. A flat

surface is inherently more stable than a curved surface. To stimulate your

children's thinking skills further, ask them why cans are usually round and

not square or any other shape - Round is stronger.

It is possible to use thinner cans and thus to save on materials by having

pleats around the cans.

Mind exercise 16

Can you build a stable structure 10 cans high by stacking one can on top

of another?

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Answer 16: There are many ways of doing this. You could do it outdoors

and fill up the lower cans with water and using progressively less water as

you go higher. Make sure you are prepared to get wet. It will be a lot of

fun for your kid though.

Another way is to use double-sided tape to glue the cans together.

You can also stack the cans between two sticks anchored firmly in the


There are endless ways of doing this. Just use your imagination!

Tip No. 17 – Singing

A genius must be a well-rounded person, familiar with many things: art,

music, science, sports. He or she can't be restricted to only one field of

expertise. Yoshiro Nakamatsu

Sing a popular song along with your child and clap your hands in rhythm

to the music. It is even better if both of you sway your bodies to the beat

of the music as well.

Question 17: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Answer 17: Singing with music activates both the left (logical) and the

right (creative) brain hemispheres of your child. A child requires whole-

brain thinking to succeed in life. By using both singing and body

movements in tune to the music, you are programming your child’s crucial

thinking skills for success.

Mind exercise 17

Encourage your children to compose their own songs by replacing the

lyrics or words of the song with those of their own. Using your children’s

name in the songs would be excellent.

You could include some elements of your child’s life such as the names of

family members, friends, etc., into the lyrics of the song. This will make

your child very happy and love to sing even more.

Alternatively, you could hum the tune of some songs and ask your

children to identify the title of the song.

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Tip No. 18 – Fun with coins

Creativity is more of a dull glow than a divine spark- the more fanning it

receives, the brighter it will burn. James Adams

Playing with coins is great fun and a fantastic learning experience for your

child. You could spin, toss and roll the coins along its edge. Ask your child

to follow the movements of the coins and make some observations. Could

your child repeat what you have done with the coins?

Question 18: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Answer 18: The different movements of the coins will arouse the

curiosity of your child. Curiosity is one of the key elements in stimulating

creative thinking.

The observation and playing with the coins will further strengthen your

child’s creative thinking skills.

Mind exercise 18

Arrange 7 coins in an L-

Answer 18: Remove the last coin on the

shape (4 coins in one row

row of 4 coins and stack it on top of the

and 3 in the other) as

coin in the corner.

shown. How do you make 2

rows of 4 coins by moving

only one coin?

Tip 19 - Brain Food

The longer the child is breastfed, up to study limits of 24 months, the

greater their IQ scores and school performance. The human child's brain is

growing most rapidly during the first two years of life. Since we know that

some of the ingredients in breast-milk are critical to brain growth and

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development, the results are not surprising. Katherine Dettwyler

The most important brain nutrient for your child’s brain is mother’s milk .

Mothers should breast-feed their babies as much as possible. The other

very important but frequently neglected nutrient is water. Make sure that

your child drinks water throughout the day.

Babies born to mothers who had poor diets may have some form of

mental retardation or behavioral problems. Also, children who do not

receive adequate nutrition in their first few years of life may develop

problems later.

Scientists at Okayama University in Japan have found that breastfeeding

boosts the mother’s brainpower. Women who breastfeed, produce the

hormone oxytocin, which stimulates milk production. Oxytocin also

increases activity in the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for

learning, thereby enhancing the intelligence and memory of the mother.

Question 19: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 19: The brain needs to be constantly nourished with water to

function well.

Regarding breast milk, Dr. Noboru Kobayashi, a prominent Japanese

pediatrician and director of Child Research Net, mother’s breast milk is

rich in energy and most of it is used for the brain’s development.

In newborns, approximately 15% of the baby's weight is due to the brain

mass but, with the rapid growth of the body, the size of the brain

decreases in proportion.

When the child reaches the age of two, the brain has already developed to

60% of its capacity as an adult. Therefore, the assimilated breast milk's

energy will be consumed with the brain that is actively developing at a

rapid speed.

Tip No. 20 - Concentrate on Strengths not Weaknesses

Whenever we pass judgment on a child, we fail to see him as a whole

person. True, he may be nervous, shy, stubborn, moody, or violent; we

may know his siblings or his background, or think we recognize family

traits. But to focus on any one aspect of a child, especially a negative one,

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is to put him in a box whose sides may not really be determined by

reality, but only by our own expectations. Johann Christoph Arnold

When your child comes home from school with a report card, concentrate

on the good grades and not on the poor ones. Praise his/her achievements

on the good grades instead of scolding him/her on the poor ones.

Question 20: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 20: The good grades are where your children’s talents lie.

Developing their strengths gives them a much better chance to succeed in

life. It is also good for motivation and confidence building. By focusing on

their strengths, your children will be able to excel in whatever they do as

they will be tapping into their inner source of creativity.

Based on the principle that a rising tide raises all boats, there is an

excellent likelihood the areas where they are weaker will improve as well.

Mind exercise 20

A boat has a 6-step ladder with two adjacent steps 25cm apart hanging

above the water at low tide. If the tide rises by 1m (100cm) at high tide

how many steps would still be visible above the water.

Answer 20: The same. A rising tide raises all boats.

Tip No. 21: Telling Fairy Tales

To have brilliant children, tell them fairy tales. To have even more

brilliant children, tell them even more fairy tales. Albert Einstein

Children who grow up on fairy tales have vivid imaginations. Make the

tales come alive by varying your voice intonation, voice volume, facial

expressions and body movements. If the child is old enough to understand

the story well, try to use books with minimal or no illustrations. Then, the

children will be free to use their imagination freely to construct the story

as it progresses.

If the illustrations are there, the children will then be stuck with what the

picture presented.

Question 21: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 21: Children, when left on their own will usually indulge in

make-believe play. They take on the roles of their popular heroes which

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may include their parents, relatives, friends and any other character that

they have come across.

This is very good for nurturing their creativity as fantasy is a bridge

between their real world and their imagined ones. I practiced this on my

children when I created my own stories of fantasy every night at their


My youngest daughter, who is now twelve, still enjoys my stories and will

not go to sleep without them. She told her mother that my stories were so

vivid that it was as if she was watching a TV show!

Such is the power of imagination of children.

Mind exercise 21

Your children find a magic lamp with a genie. The genie can grant your

children any wish but he (genie) has to be kept busy in-between wishes.

Otherwise , he will swallow your children. The genie will take only an

instant to grant any wish. How would your children ensure that the genie

will be kept busy all the time in-between granting their wishes?

Answer 21: There are endless answers to this question. One possible

answer is: Ask the genie to create two large tanks, one full of water and

the other empty. Give your genie a small scoop to transfer water from the

full tank to the empty tank, one scoop at a time without spilling a single

drop. Every time the water has been fully transferred to the other tank

the process is reversed. This process can go on indefinitely. Can you think

of other methods?

Tip No. 22: Juggling

The home is the principal learning environment for the child and parents

are the primary educators. Thomas Armstrong

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Teach your children how to juggle by

first using one ball or by crushing a

piece of paper into a ball. Make sure

that the ball fits comfortably into the

folded palms of your child’s hands.

Once the one-ball technique is mastered,

it is time to introduce 2 balls.

Question 22: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 22: Juggling enhances coordination between both sides of the

body and integrates the functions of both sides of the brain. This

promotes creativity, speeds up learning and improves performance.

According to Prof. Raymond Dart, a renowned brain researcher,

anthropologist and anatomist, the secret to creativity lies in people

"balancing their brains" and the best way to do it is to take up juggling.

His key message is that a balanced body tends to produce a balanced

brain and, likewise, a balanced brain produces a balanced body. Thus,

taking up juggling not only enhances creativity but also improves your

general health and physical fitness as well.

Mind exercise 22

How do you throw a ball in such a way that after traveling a certain

distance, it will come back to you?

Answer 22: Throw the ball upwards or bounce the ball from a wall or

from the floor.

Tip No. 23 – The Orange Experience

Real learning is a process of discovery and, if we want it to happen, we

must create the kind of conditions in which discoveries are made.

We know what these are. They include time, leisure, freedom, and lack of

pressure. John Holt

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The orange is an excellent fruit for a multi-sensory experience. Get an

orange to eat with your children. Before you even begin to peel it, ask

your children to observe it with all their senses. Give your children as

much time as they need.

When you finally begin to peel it, be very deliberate and pay attention to

detail. Remove each section with full attention.

Have your children describe this whole process out loud.

Question 23: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 23: Multi-sensory learning is the most effective form of

learning. The orange experience will enhance your child’s observation

skills and heighten their senses which are important aspects of creativity.

It will also stimulate a greater interest in science and environmental

awareness. Your children will be equipped with a greater capacity to enjoy

learning in school.

Mind exercise 23

Play a game of sensory perception. Blindfold your child and ask him/her to

identify different fruits by the sense of touch, smell and taste.

You could also cut the different fruits into similar sizes and shapes to

increase the level of difficulty.

Use your imagination to improvise various ways of playing this game.

Tip No. 24 - Milk-powder scoop

Take back control of your family's schedule.

Choose, with your children, the activities that matter most.

And, most importantly, schedule some down time every week. Make sure

there are open spaces – time to just be a family - with plenty of room for

rest and imagination.

The plastic measuring scoop that comes with every can of milk powder or

cereal drink is an excellent toy for your children. Collect dozens of these

scoops and watch the fun as your children play with them.

A single scoop can become a hammer, pendulum or a pipe.

A series of scoops joined together can become a centipede.

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Just let your child explore new combinations of the scoops with his fertile


Question 24: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 24: Children improvise all the time during play. Improvisation

is a very good prelude to developing creative thinking skills. In fact,

during a crisis situation, the ability to improvise may spell the difference

between life and death.

By encouraging your children to improvise during play, you help your child

to develop life-long improvisation skills that will better equip them to meet

the challenges later on in life.

Mind exercise 24

How do you use a pencil to estimate the height of your house?

Answer 24: There are many ways to do this.

One way is to compare the length of the pencil to that of its shadow close

to noon, when its shadow is relatively short. Estimate the number of times

that the pencil length is longer than its shadow.

Next, measure the length of your house’s shadow. Multiply this by the

same number of times that your pencil is longer than its shadow and it

will give you an estimate of the height of your house.

Can you think of other ways?

Tip No. 25 – Brainteasers

All children are born geniuses, and we spend the first six years of their

lives degeniusing them. Buckminster Fuller

Brainteasers are excellent for nurturing your child’s thinking skills. You

can buy puzzle and riddle books from bookshops.

The best brainteasers are the ones that you create for your child while

traveling or at home.

I constantly create such brainteasers for my children. All that it takes is

to be able to make a connection between objects and living things.

The body can become the subject of brainteasers. The nostrils are twin

caves with tall grass. The toes are two rows of soldiers marching in

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formation, each with a captain (the big toe on that foot).

Question 25: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 25: These brainteasers will improve your child’s ability to

make connections with the things around them – an essential feature of

creative thinking.

It will also improve their problem-solving skills.

Mind exercise 25

What goes around the world but stays in a corner?

Answer 25: A postage stamp

Tip No. 26 – Visits to Science Centers and Museums

Children learn best when they are helped to discover the underlying

principles for themselves. Peter Kline

Take your child to visit Science Centers, museums or even some trade

shows such as Education fairs.

Science centers offer hands-on learning experiences to help children

discover facts and scientific principles through playing with the exhibits. It

is useful if they can participate in scientific experiments where they may

ask questions.

Look out too for special programs where your children can take part.

Question 26: How can this nurture creativity in my children?

Response 26: This old Chinese saying still holds true today, “ I hear, I

forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”

Personal discovery is one of the most effective ways of learning. It

arouses in your child the curiosity of learning, which in turn will spark her

creativity and imagination.

Encounters with hands-on learning could have a long-lasting impact on

your child. For example, the famous scientist Albert Einstein was

enthralled by the properties of a compass that he encountered in a

science museum.

Please also bear in mind that modern research shows that learners have

different learning styles. Some need to hear, some need to see or read

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and some need to do.

Not all children are the same or learn in similar ways.

You should provide different teaching styles to help ensure that your

children have opportunities to translate information and skills into learning

styles which are appropriate for their individual needs.

Mind exercise 26

Sprinkle some pepper on the surface of a glass or a bowl of clean water.

Can you make the pepper move away from the center when you dip your

finger into the center of the glass or bowl?

Answer 26: This problem illustrates the