Gesturing Can Boost Children’s Creative Thinking


Most of the people express their ideas or meaning through gestures. Although, it is a form of non-verbal communication. Children who gesture during instruction are particularly likely to learn, especially when they gesture along with speech. A new study also suggests that gesturing helps children to come up with more creative ideas.

It’s a general fact that children naturally gesture when they think of novel ways to use everyday items. According to scientists, the more gesture they will, the more they come up with creative ideas.

Elizabeth Kirk said, “When we then asked children to move their hands, children were able to come up with even more creative ideas.

Gesturing may allow us to explore the properties of the items. For example, how the item could be held, its size, its shape, etc. — and doing so can trigger ideas for creative uses,” explained Kirk.

During the study, scientists involved total 78 children under the age of 9 to 11 years. They then show images of ordinary household items, including a newspaper, a tin can, and a kettle. The researchers asked the children to look at each image and list as many novels use as they could think of.

Children took some time to respond. But, when they paused, the researchers prompted them by saying What else could you do with it?

Scientists noted, children spontaneously gestured and that greater gesturing was associated with a greater number of creative ideas.

During the cycle of experiment with 54 children, scientists asked children to complete the same task. Some children gestured normally. But, in some cases, scientists need to ask children to use their hands to show objects in different ways. And it actually works.

The children who gesture normally produced 13 gestures. But, the children who were encouraged by scientists was able to produce about 53 gestures. In addition, this encouragement boosts creativity.

Children who were encouraged to gesture generated a greater number of novel uses for the everyday objects than did the children who were not given any special instruction.

Kirk said, “Our findings add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the facilitative role of gesture in thinking and have applications to the classroom. Asking children to move their hands while they think can help them tap into novel ideas. Children should be encouraged to think with their hands.



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