Watch any young child for a couple of hours, and you’ll see that they are naturally creative. They pretend play with toys, they create uses for things that we may not even have thought of ourselves, and they’re problem-solving at every opportunity.

It’s now more important than ever for us to understand how to raise a creative thinker. While all children are imaginative, as adults, we’re much less inclined to explore our creative side. So where did it go wrong?


At school, creativity and the arts aren’t held in exceptionally high esteem. If you think back to your own school days, I’m sure you’ll remember the “smart kids” to be the ones that excelled in maths and science, not the ones that got lost in creating art and could play five different instruments. Those creative thinkers are just not nurtured in our current school systems. 

When budgets are tight, outdoor play, music, and arts come under the axe, and our children’s schools are left with an emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic. Now, don’t get me wrong, we need these subjects too! We use literary and arithmetic skills constantly without even thinking about it, and that’s because of what we learned in school. Imagine if schools valued creativity, play, and the arts as much as they do the “core” subjects – wouldn’t the world be a beautiful place? Full of adults who have spent a lifetime nurturing their love for creation instead of pushing it aside because they’ll “never make money creating art”.

In his popular Ted talk, that has now been viewed over 20Million times, the late Sir Ken Robinson said that “schools kill creativity” – a statement that, unfortunately, has a lot of truth behind it.

The modern education system hasn’t changed a huge amount in the last 100 years and still holds at its core the need to make well-educated, obedient learners who are good at measuring triangles!

Albert Einstein famously said that “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

When a child’s answer to a question is marked as “wrong”, it’s undeniable that they’ll feel a little defeated – especially if they tried hard! What could have been missed is that the child took an incredibly creative and interesting route to get to their version of the answer, yet because the result is deemed incorrect, none of this will be appreciated.

Luckily, this doesn’t mean the end of creativity as we know it – after all, many children attend school. What it does mean is that we, their parents or carers , have an essential job to do in nurturing imagination and raising them as a creative thinker.

Not a teacher? No problem. In fact, even better! Creativity isn’t something that we can teach – we have to create an environment in which it can grow and thrive. Read on to discover how to raise your own creative thinker.

“Schools kill creativity


Take a moment to think about the most successful people of our time, those who have created life-changing technologies and developed innovative concepts that have changed the world.

Here are a few examples:

Ok, so what do these people have in common? Other than, arguably, the name Steve.

Sure, they excelled in their fields beyond measure. But something that might be more important to note – and that can help us understand the power of creativity – is that they weren’t necessarily the best students. They didn’t finish top of every class, and some never even finished school! In fact, some of them failed more times than the average person would be able to handle. One thing is for sure, they were all creative thinkers. 

Failure, for these people, didn’t mean giving up. The beauty of being a creative and original thinker is that it makes you less afraid of making mistakes and more likely to try again. It is this growth mindset that is key to raising a creative thinker who is ready for tomorrow. 


“The biggest mistake of past centuries in teaching has been to treat all students as if they were variants of the same individual and thus feel justified in teaching them all the same subjects the same way…We should spend less time ranking children and more time helping them identify their natural competencies and gifts and cultivate them. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed, and many, many different abilities that will help you get there.”

Dr Gardener

All children learn differently from one another, and this is something that we can’t ignore. Yet throughout the history of education, we have measured who is intelligent and who is not through a very narrow window. The creative thinkers were rarely valued, with favour and esteem going to their more logical ‘academic’ counterparts.

In 1983, Dr. Howard Gardener, a professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard, devised his well-known Theory of Multiple Intelligences based on the premise that standard IQ tests are too limited to determine a child’s true potential. He defined eight basic types of intelligence. These definitions are listed below and are really helpful as we tell the story of how to raise a creative thinker. 

Logical/math intelligence. These individuals are the ones who love solving problems that use reasoning and numbers.

Linguistic intelligence. People dominant in this type of intelligence are great communicators and pick up reading and writing at an early age without much encouragement from adults.

Visual-Spatial intelligence. These are the visual learners who learn well by taking in information in the form of videos, pictures and graphs.

Music intelligence. This describes the skill of thinking in patterns, rhythms and sounds.

Bodily/kinaesthetic intelligence. These body smart individuals are very active and have excellent hand-eye coordination.

Intrapersonal intelligence. Described as “self-smart”, these are the introverts and deep thinkers who need very little direction.

Interpersonal intelligence. These observant individuals are extroverts with great people skills who perform well in groups.

Naturalist intelligence. A more recent addition to the list. Individuals who are high in this intelligence are fascinated with nature and the natural world and find a great deal of inspiration in outdoor or nature-related activities.


So, if the school system is failing our children in this respect – what can we do?

The funny thing is that persistence and creativity are natural to children. Watch any young child and, at some point, you’ll see them come up with a new and innovative idea. Whether it’s using their potty as a gardening stool or making voices for their toys. Every child is creative – it’s our job to provide them with ways to continue thinking creatively.

So how do you raise a creative thinker? Here are a few simple ways.


You don’t need to have a spare room to make a creative space for your children. Opt for an area that’s easy for them to access – like a low cupboard or draw – and fill it with objects to foster your child’s imagination. This is a great place to store the recycling that’s just too good to throw away. Saving boxes, toilet rolls, and tubs alongside some tape and a little paint is a great way to get started. Place a floor protector (oil mats work brilliantly) in the cupboard so that things can get messy with less stress.

Take a look at these ideas from the people at The Artful Parent

2 Preparing today's children for tomorrow.


The next time your child achieves something, big or small, try focusing on the process instead of the outcome. This is an easy way to celebrate their efforts and teach them that it’s important to try, regardless of the result. Here are a few phrases that you might like to use:

“You tried really hard to build that!”

“Can you tell me how you made this?”

“What made you decide to build it this way?”

“Wow, I can see how much effort you’ve put into this!”

“Wow, I can see how much effort you’ve put into this!”

“Raise a creative thinker



Another way to look at how to raise a creative thinker is telling stories together. Take it in turns to prompt one another with an object, word, or phrase to use as the basis of a story. As well as encouraging your child to think creatively, you’ll also have a lot of fun and spend quality time together.


Every problem is an opportunity to develop a creative solution! Asking your child to solve an everyday problem is a great way to encourage them to think creatively. It could be that their shoelaces keep coming undone or that they’re always rushing to get ready for school in the mornings. Take a stressful or frustrating situation, and turn it into an opportunity to help your child develop their creative mind.


When it comes to helping our children develop creativity, our job is relatively easy. After all, children were born creative! We just have to give them a helping hand in rediscovering or developing that way of thinking.

Our children each have their own strengths when it comes to learning and developing solutions to problems. And because schooling often doesn’t recognise and act accordingly with this, it’s down to us to add value to our children’s innate and individual talents.

Creativity is being held up as one of the most important skills an individual can possess in the future. There are endless ways you can try to raise a creative thinker. Our ‘Future-proof your child’ course gives you plenty of examples that you can put to work in your home right away.

Take a look at the course below and learn how to make your child future-proof. 

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