Have you thought more about what a gifted child looks like? More specifically, are you looking at your own child and getting to know him better? Seeing her for who she is – and loving that, despite the exhaustion you feel? It’s tough to be objective when you’re looking at your own child, isn’t it?

It is for me.

I look at my kids and see the often absent-minded, but extremely creative, one. I see the academically-minded people-pleaser, who would do anything you ask, and loves to learn. I see a cognitively advanced kiddo who wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it – and beware the storms you’ll weather if you dare go against the improbable plan he’s concocted {but not shared}.

Understanding the Creatively Gifted Child via RaisingLifelongLearners.com

We’re going to explore the creatively gifted child in this post… characteristics of creatively gifted children, identifying the creative child, and how to support that child.

Are you living with a child whom you think may be creatively gifted? Let’s learn more together…

Understanding the Creatively Gifted Child via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

Characteristics of the Creatively Gifted Child

  • thinks independently
  • tells or writes original stories
  • comes up with multiple innovative solutions to problems
  • has a great sense of humor
  • is inventive
  • is imaginative
  • has a talent for improvisation
  • enjoys being different
  • can be seen as inattentive
  • works well on his own schedule
  • can be a risk taker

Remember that all children are different. Your creatively gifted child may exhibit some of these characteristics, all of them, or none at all. One of the reasons it can be so hard to identify creatively gifted kids is that they are as different from each other as they are from average children.

The most important thing you can do as a parent of any child – especially a creatively gifted one – is to know her and love her, and then be her champion.

Love your child… a lot.

Understanding the Creatively Gifted Child via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

Identifying the Creatively Gifted Child

If you’re the parent of a creative thinker, you’re likely to recognize that your child thinks differently than other children. For a teacher {whether in a brick and mortar school, a homeschool co-op, in a museum class, whatever…} or another parent or adult family friend, it’s a little tougher to appreciate the creative thinker – unless your child expresses that creativity through art or music or drama.

Creative thinkers are more likely to appear to be daydreaming. They want to work alone and come up with bizarre – and sometimes conflicting – solutions to problems. Typically, these kiddos aren’t motivated by passing a class, doing what a teacher wants, or graduating. Extrinsic motivators that work for most kids, don’t work for creative thinkers.

All this makes the creatively gifted child difficult to identify.

So, how do you tell if your child is creatively gifted, or just a daydreamer?

 

Understanding the Creatively Gifted Child via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

 

 

First, let go of your expectation that there’s a perfect identification method out there for your child. I’ll be honest, and tell you that I’m not a huge fan of standardized testing. And, in the case of a creative thinker, a standardized test won’t work anyway.

When a high-achiever looks at a question, he asks himself, “What answer is correct?” When an academically or cognitively gifted thinker looks at a test question, he says, “Well, it could be A or B because if _____ happened, then B would be right.” When a creatively gifted child looks at a question, he asks, “What about ________? I don’t see that choice on here…”

They’re out-of-the-box thinkers, and tests aren’t designed for kids like that.

One of the best checklists I’ve ever come across for identifying a creative thinker comes from Dr. Bertie Kingore and her article High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker. Not only does this checklist give you great insight into the differences between these three types of thinkers, but it gives you a nice, concrete way of identifying your creatively gifted child, no matter how you school him.

Now that he is identified, though, what do you do to meet the needs of your creatively gifted child?

 

 

Understanding the Creatively Gifted Child via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

 

Supporting the Creatively Gifted Child

When I think about the creatively gifted child, I think about the scene in Dr. Who when Amy and the Doctor bring Vincent Van Gogh to the future to see his life’s work on display:

 

 

Our most gifted creative thinkers are just like this amazing artist whether they display their gifts in art, music, performance, mathematics, literature, or something else. The creatively gifted child has an intangible, and difficult to measure gift. And their gifts are not always appreciated or even recognized until long after they’re gone, making their lives difficult.

And it’s a huge challenge for us, as the parents who love them, to nurture those gifts in a way that supports them without further isolating them from others, and builds them up to be well-enough-rounded to be strong adults.

What can we do?

 

Encourage Risk Taking

When we are pulling together assignments or deciding on an educational direction for our creatively gifted children, we can offer them opportunities to take intellectual risks like:

  • giving them different choices in topics.
  • offering them flexibility in how they demonstrate their knowledge.
  • asking them to decide on the questions they want to explore.
  • providing open-ended play and problem-solving scenarios.

Understanding the Creatively Gifted Child via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

Nurture Both Convergent and Divergent Thinking Skills

Convergent thinking is when a child pulls ideas and resources from a variety of sources to solve a problem. Divergent thinking is when he takes an idea and comes up with many different solutions or scenarios that fit it.

You can nurture these skills by offering:

  • open-ended questions and problems.
  • opportunities to be curious.
  • encouragement in the face of wrong answers – they are an opportunity to learn.
  • situations found in creative problem solving resources like the ones below:
CPS for Kids Creative Problem Solving for School Mathematics Creative Problem Solving Math Problem Solvers Practice Problems for Creative Problem Solving
Super Smart Science Primarily Problem Solving Super Smart Math Scamper Super Smart

Nurture Creative Habits

There are so many great ways to nurture our kids’ creativity. It’s a matter of finding out which way works best for your child.

  • Read widely and with lots of variety.
  • Have discussions encouraging kids to take different perspectives.
  • Introduce novelty into your days – study in different locations, use a variety of materials, and try new approaches and hobbies.

I believe that the most important thing you can do for your creatively gifted child is to find ways to celebrate his unique way of looking at the world. Not everyone is going to get him. You may not always get him either, but you need to let him know he’s loved for exactly who is is now, and always.

Think about the beauty and tragedy in the Doctor Who clip above. We don’t want our creatively gifted children to go through their lives tortured and sad, thinking that what they do has no bearing. While the truth is that some of them will never see the impact their creative thinking truly has on our world, we want them to know that, no matter how misunderstood they may be, they are loved.

Will you share some of the ways you nurture creativity in your children? I’d love to hear all of your ideas.

For more information about gifted kids, check out:

         

To help all of us nurture creativity in our kids, I’ve started a creativity board on Pinterest. I’d love for you to follow along:

 

Follow Raising Lifelong Learners ‘s board Creativity Ideas for Kids on Pinterest.
 
 

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Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.

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