What is creativity? #WritingWithColour #Children

Someone once said to me, “Anyone can tell stories.” And that’s true.

I’ve spoken at many schools about each of us being storytellers in some form.  When I conduct workshops for children giving them the task of creating a character and then developing a story they always rise to the challenge. I am continuously astounded by their bold and beautiful creativity.

Definitions of creativity vary.

noun: creativity
  1. I think the key words to define creativity are imagination, original and inventiveness.

I always say.  “There is no right or wrong in my workshops. Only creativity.”

I’m not there to teach them language. They have teachers who do that each day. I’m there to cultivate or enhance their creativity. That’s why there is no right or wrong in my workshops. If we teach only language but forget to open the channels of creativity, in my opinion, we are teaching purely administrative work.

  • I do not criticise or direct a child’s creativity. I only offer prompts.
  • I do not invade a child’s work. Many parents feel the need to teach their children to colour inside the lines. Why? Because it looks better? It’s their creation, it doesn’t have to look perfect. The same goes for storytelling.  Perfect is not always the best. My next post, “Perfect Can Be Boring” will expand on this subject.

IMG_8519Painting by Shannon

The painting above tells a story. What story will be told is up to the writer. Whether the writer is a child or an adult a story can be told from this painting. The artist of this painting was my son. He was 7 when he painted it.  I use this painting today in workshops for small children to write a micro story about what they see.  How many stories have been created from this one painting? Too many to count and not one story has ever been the same. That difference is the essence of creativity.  We are individuals. We are different from each other.  No one person is the same. Don’t try to be like someone else.  Be ORIGINAL

I understand better than most the challenge of raising children. Believing in creativity yourself is one thing but encouraging children to believe their way is very challenging for any parent. My first son was diagnosed with ADHD. Those years had some challenging moments. I had to learn a lot about myself to parent him to the best of my ability. I had to be creative in my thinking.  Some days I failed miserably. Some days I succeeded beyond my wildest hopes and dreams.

That son turned out to be the most creative out of my three children. Musical, intuitive and can construct anything from any material. I would love to see him work with sculpture, but of course, that would have to be his decision. It would have to be his passion to be fully committed to his true creativity.

IMG_8520Painting by Monique

The painting above was created by my daughter. She was 4. I remember saying, “It’s wonderful. Tell me all about it.” She talked about, caterpillars and grass, flowers and water.  She saw something completely different to me. This was her moment to be a storyteller.  So when your child comes home with a painting. Don’t tell him or her what you see. Ask him or her to tell you all about it. Encourage their storytelling development.

IMG_8518Painting by Hayden

Today Hayden doesn’t remember creating this painting but as a mother I will forget it. He was very sick when he created this painting. I remember thinking that it looked like a virus cell connected to a horrible disease.  Of course, that was the worried mother using self-talk to tell her own story.

Hayden was yet to be diagnosed with Stills Disease (Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis). He suffered from terrible fevers, rashes, weight loss and became immobile and ended up in a wheelchair for some months. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with him. I often wondered whether he had tapped into his own inner-self and saw the cells through art. Take a look at an rheumatoid arthritis cell and the cells involved here.

Of course he told me it was a spider. He had his own story. I told him it was a beautiful spider. But I still wonder today whether his own body and mind was spontaneously using creativity to put an image to the illness.  Who knows?

Today he has no trace of the debilitating disease. And for that I’m truly grateful.

What is creativity? When you allow yourself and allow others to be free to use imagination, originality and inventiveness to create ideas, patterns, methods, forms, stories, painting, sculptures and the list goes on and on and on.

Be sure to watch out for my next post. “Perfect Can Be Boring”

So until next time. Be brave and bold in your chosen field of creativity. And never be afraid to explore new techniques.


  1. Love your kids pictures, V. 🙂 Very creative.

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