How to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity
Nurturing creativity in kids is actually less about teaching them how to be creative and more about creating an environment where their own unique creative talents will shine. Here’s how to do it.
While children are naturally inquisitive and curious, there are definitely ways that parents or guardians can encourage a creative child to grow into their infinite potential. Keep in mind that childhood curiosity and creativity isn’t retained to a traditional realm of arts or music. Nurturing a creative child can simply look like encouraging them to engage in different kinds of imaginative play on a day-to-day basis.
Encourage unstructured play
Unstructured play is defined as permitting your child the freedom to explore, create and discover without rules or guidance. During unstructured creative play time, childhood curiosity should lead the way and the parent or guardian should follow. Some examples of unstructured play could include exploring new outdoor areas or reading a book about your child’s favorite character and making up a new story featuring that character. The most important part of this play is that rules should not be set by adults and the play should not have predetermined goals. Emphasis should be placed on the process and journey of the play, not on the overall result.
Find books or toys that spark imagination
Find books or toys that encourage open-ended play. An idea for a toy that sparks imagination could include items to build with such as blocks or magnetic pieces. In terms of books, try to select engaging and imaginative stories that nurture a creative child. A great example is the book Dandeliophone which features an innovative children’s popup book design that is full of adventure and unique characters.
Don’t discount the importance of movement (and dance)
Movement and dance are two ways that a creative child can infuse their energy into the day. Creative play through movement that incorporates music is another great way to nurture childhood curiosity and imagination. Playing or making instruments is also a great way to nurture a child’s creative brain and potentially create a lifelong passion in music!
Create a “Busy Box”
A “busy box” can be a catch-all creative play station for your kids to embark on whatever creative journey piques their interest at the time. The box can be cardboard or plastic and should be filled (but organized) with anything that might spark creativity for your child. As your kids get older, this box can also be renamed the “I’m Bored Box” and should be filled with age-appropriate crafts, activities, and other items. Any time that your child says the infamous phrase “I’m Bored” - they should head to the box to find an activity.
Some low-cost ideas to put in your child’s “Busy Box”:
- Clean reusable items that would otherwise be recycled (ex. yogurt tubs, egg cartons, assorted boxes, used greeting cards, scrap paper)
- Glue, tape, elastic bands, and string or embroidery thread
- Construction paper
- A tub of extra clothing buttons
- Small craft kits
- Coloring books
- Blank canvases
- Paint, crayons, markers, pencils, and pens
Some low-cost ideas to put in your older child’s “I’m Bored Box”:
- Coupons that can be redeemed once per week for 1-hour of screen time, video games, or other device use
- Age-appropriate workbooks, puzzle books, or activity books
- Reading books and age-appropriate novels
- More complicated craft kits
- A deck of cards
- Small board games or solo brain games
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