The Creativity Issue: Meet Five Creative, Inspiring Kids

One thing they have in common: They're all well-rounded.

Parker Barry

We know kids are creative. For some kids, talent and opportunity collide to give them unique chances to share their creativity with the world. Toca Magazine talked to five creative kids to find out more about their lives and their creativity. While each is as unique as their creative outlet, they did have a few things in common.

  • They’re creative in multiple domains. Though each has one focus that has brought them into the public eye, they have varied interests and passions and continue to develop them all.
  • Age doesn’t matter. “I find that people with the same interests have a lot to talk about regardless of the age difference,” 14-year-old college student Isabella Rose Taylor said. A 16-year-old business owner agrees: “My parents and I have learned that age disappears when people who are passionate about technology talk with each other,” Thomas Suarez said.
  • They’re kids. Even with schedules filled with running creative businesses or creative endeavors, they ride bikes, play with siblings and hang out with friends.

isabella_art_creativityIsabella Rose Taylor, 14
Fashion Designer and Artist

Isabella Rose Taylor is an all-around creative kid. She’s an artist, a writer, a member of Mensa — and a college student. While she’s based in Austin, her work and studies take her coast to coast on a regular basis. Her fashion line is sold online and at Nordstrom’s.

What’s a typical day for you?
My schedule is very busy and I am continually tweaking it to make sure it is manageable. It is a balancing act to juggle school, designing clothes for my clothing line, having time to paint/sketch, and hanging out with friends. I think my life is like any other 14-year-old kid. I have school, and then there is what I do after school (design clothes, paint). Many of my friends have after-school activities and are very busy.

Learn as much as you can. Ask for help. Seek out mentors.

What’s college life like, being younger than the typical student?

isabella_creativity I spend time with my friends who are really good at what they love to do. We do the typical things most teenage girls do — we go to the movies, go shopping, listen to music or just plain hang out and talk.

What advice do you have for creative kids?
Learn as much as you can. Ask for help. Seek out mentors. You will be surprised at how many people want to help you!

thomas_creativityThomas Suarez, 16
App Developer

Thomas Suarez has nine years of programming experience — and he’s only 16. He taught himself to code when he was 7 and is now chief engineer of his own technology company, CarrotCorp, that makes apps and 3-D printing software. His TEDtalk about kids teaching kids to program is one of the most-viewed TEDtalks in history.

What’s a typical day for you?
While I’m not an early bird (I usually work late at night), I wake up at 6:30 a.m. to go to school. While eating breakfast, I review Twitter and The Verge for tech news. I start school at 8:00 a.m., and finish at 3:00 p.m. When I arrive home, I work on my current software and hardware projects, play guitar and go biking with friends. After dinner, I do my homework and continue working on projects. Periodically throughout the day, I check tech news and open-­source projects. Sometimes I like to jump on Skype or Google Hangouts with my friends and play games.

Are you creative in other ways beyond inventing/designing apps and technology?
I enjoy playing guitar, making videos and short movies with my friends, photography and sometimes find new ways of taking and presenting pictures I’ve taken. I also enjoy writing, doing special effects and videoing technology reviews for the Tribeca Film Festival. When I have spare time, I sometimes do contract work for a local video company where I take raw footage, edit it, create necessary special effects, find, purchase and incorporate appropriate music into the video. It’s fun to create a short video from hours of raw footage and know the work is appreciated!

My parents have created a home environment that allows both my brothers and me to pursue our interests.

How have your parents nurtured and encouraged your creativity?
My parents have created a home environment that allows both my brothers and me to pursue our interests. For me it’s technology. For my younger brother, it’s military history, painting lead soldiers representing different time periods and battles, and for my youngest brother it’s sports. When I was younger, my parents would try to find events that I might be interested in. As I became older and able to find the technology events, activities and hardware, etc. which fascinated me, my parents would help me go to the events and work on the activities. My parents have never pushed me into technology events or to participate in activities which did not interest me. When offered money to appear on a TV show or in a commercial, or to give a speech, if I didn’t want to participate, my parents always supported my decision. I believe this has helped keep me focused in technology.

What advice do you have for younger kids who have a passion for creating?
Find your passion, pursue it and don’t listen to people who give you negative feedback that isn’t constructive. Find like­-minded, positive thinking friends or peers and collaborate. There are excellent places for young makers to learn and thrive, such as Adafruit and Github. Keep in mind that failure is just success in a different context. If you have passion and curiosity and believe in your project, you will succeed!

laila_creativityLaila Abumahfouz, 8

Elementary student Laila Abumahfouz’s visual art and photography has been recognized at the national level, winning an Award of Excellence from the National PTA. She traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive recognition.

How are you creative?
I’m creative in art because every time I’m about to start drawing I first imagine what it would look like and how it is related to the theme I choose.

What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me: the sunshine, rainbows with bright colors and reading. Reading inspires me because when I am starting to read, I imagine that I am in the story, and that makes me have a wider imagination.

laila_art_creativityHow have your parents supported your creativity?
My mom loves art. She spends a lot of time with me teaching me how to use the colors and sometimes takes me outside to enjoy the beauty of nature that is full of bright colors, butterflies, birds, flowers, trees and more. She comes to my school to encourage people to draw and paint.

A lot of things inspire me: the sunshine, rainbows with bright colors and reading.

What’s a typical day for you?
On weekends, I like to wake up earlier than my parents and two sisters. I fix my bed and start reading books while my cat is sitting next to me. After having breakfast with my family, we go driving around the neighborhood, or sometimes we go downtown where we like to walk. After going back home, I check my homework and I get ready for the next day. In the evening, I like to draw what inspired me that day.

cory_creativityCory Nieves, 11
CEO of Mr. Cory’s Cookies

It all started in 2009 when, tired of taking the bus, Cory Nieves decided to buy his mother a car. The fact that he was only 5? Didn’t faze him. He decided he would sell hot cocoa to raise the money. He had a hit on his hands, and his mom encouraged him to keep selling to save for college. Soon he expanded to lemonade and cookies — all natural cookies made with high-quality ingredients. Today he and his mother, Lisa Howard, run Mr. Cory’s Cookies. Cory has also competed on MasterChef Jr. and appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View and more!

What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up and thank God for the day, watch Good Day New York and check my business reports. I go to school, then work on business stuff.

Dream six impossible things before you wake up.

Besides your creativity in the kitchen and in running your business, how else are you creative?
I like to draw, play violin and golf, participate in tae kwon do and read business books. It helps with my creativeness.

What advice do you have for other creative kids who have a big idea?
Never give up on your idea! Dream six impossible things before you wake up. Cherish your ideas.

Jerimya Reyes Corpus, 11
YouTube Filmmaker

Jerimya “Mya” Reyes Corpus created her first YouTube video, a how-to for making homemade playdough, when she was 8 years old. After positive comments, she went on to create more instructional videos, including a how-to-beat-box video that went viral. Her videos caught the eye of PBS Parents, which now sponsors her channel, FullTimeKid.


Where do you get your ideas for your shows?
Since we don’t have cable TV at our house, I spend a good amount of time online. Whenever I come across something interesting, I ask my parents if we can make a video about it. Also, some fans have cool video requests that I keep in mind.

What’s a typical day for you?
I live a pretty normal life. On weekdays, I wake up and go to school. After school, I do homework and go to any practices I might have (volleyball, basketball, dance). When I’m home, I’m usually helping my parents take care of my four younger siblings. On my free time, I’m usually watching YouTube or playing online computer games with my friends like Minecraft (we have our own server!) and Roblox. On non-school days is when I try to make videos. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to make them because I’m usually going out to a social function like family parties on weekends and holidays.

Since I was little, my parents have always encouraged me to be a producer and not just a consumer.

How are you creative?
Since I was little, my parents have always encouraged me to be a producer and not just a consumer. So I like to write poems, make up songs that I sing to my little brothers and sisters, create dance moves, try out new recipes, follow crafting tutorials and things like that. Thanks to the Internet, I can share some of these experiences online to a worldwide audience. When I get positive feedback from viewers, it inspires me to continue trying out new and interesting things.

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