behavior · creativity · school

Need a Job? Invent it. Want to learn how to invent? Play!

This article in the NYTimes really drives home for me the need to let everyone learn how to play and create on their own. The thesis of the article and the book it’s reviewing is basically that the next generation of workers will need to be able to identify needs and figure out how they can fill those needs, and monetize it.

“Today,” [book author Tony Wagner] said via e-mail, “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’ ”

Ok, so how do we teach kids to be innovative? Play! Play play play! Creativity! The opportunity for boredom, as one study recently found, and free play. Letting kids be kids! Letting them take stuff apart and put it back together. Letting them get messy and innovative!

So let your kids, and yourself, have some unstructured play time. It’s good for your brain, and will help you keep your job, or find or even make a new one.