16:25 23 January 2017
A recent study has revealed that encouraging children to use gestures can boost their creativity as it allows them to explore the properties of items further. Following a series of experiments, psychological scientist Elizabeth Kirk of the University of York and her colleague Carine Lewis of the University of Hertfordshire discovered that children who were encouraged to gesture created more novel uses for everyday objects than those who were not.
'These findings are significant to teachers and parents, as results show that encouraging children to move their hands while they think can help them tap into novel ideas,' said Kirk.
'The magnitude of this effect surprised us; this simple instruction majorly improved children's performance.'
Following a series of experiments, researchers have found that children who gestured normally produced 13 gestures, on average, while those who were specifically prompted to gesture produced about 53 gestures, on average.
'Our findings add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the facilitative role of gesture in thinking and have applications to the classroom,' Kirk and Lewis conclude in their paper.
'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.'