Often, people believe creativity is something an individual is born with and not something that can be taught. However, with the right encouragement and environment we can help kids develop their creative skills and express their imaginations. Creativity comes in many forms, from drawing and painting, writing and reading, dancing and acting, to arts and crafts and imaginative play. Not only do children with good creative thinking skills perform better at school but also have stronger executive functioning abilities. That’s why it’s important that we do what we can to nurture our children’s creativity and imagination.
1. Provide a Creative Home Environment
Making sure your child feels relaxed and comfortable at home can hugely contribute to whether or not they feel they can creatively express themselves. Allowing them to think and play, without strict rules or judgement, as well as giving the right encouragement, creates an environment where they can explore their ideas and nurture their creativity.
2. Have Creative Resources To Hand
Even though some creative activities such as role play, singing, dance and drama don’t require resources, some other avenues of creativity do. Having plenty of pens, paints, paper and craft items in your home, in a place where your child can easily access them means they can embrace their creativity when the moment strikes. Remember, you don’t have to have a huge budget for supplies - save old cardboard boxes, empty paper towel rolls, cereal boxes and scrap paper. Give your child some markers and masking tape- we bet you’ll be amazed at what can be created from the simplest materials.
3. Invest In Open-Ended Toys
Open-ended toys are not only an investment but are limitless in their creative possibilities. Anything such as blocks, building sets, toy animals, dressing up clothes or Lego can be used in multiple ways for multiple purposes and will encourage imaginative play and creativity.
4. Inspire Big Thoughts
Encourage curiosity to get your child’s creative juices flowing by asking open ended questions. Not only does it encourage creative thinking but inspires kids to ask more questions of their own. For example:
- ‘What do you think would happen if we added water to the clay?’
- ‘How can we do this differently?’
- ‘Why did you do it that way?’
- ‘What did you find easiest?’
- ‘What was most challenging?’
5. Have Unstructured Time
Often creativity sparks when children are having quiet time alone. This is why structured playtime can sometimes be limiting, as kids are ‘expected’ to be creative for a set limit of time. By allowing a couple of hours a day with a more relaxed structure, it can encourage kids to develop a creative mindset. In fact, it will enable children to play and create without any time constrictions - after all, creativity needs room to breathe.
6. Reduce Screen Time
The amount of screen time children have can be limiting to a child’s creativity, as rather than spending time exploring their interests and developing their skills, they’re absorbed by what is in front of them on the screen. Encourage your child to play and create, rather than watching something or playing a game on a device.
7. Mix Up The Creative Environment
Being creative in the same environment can start to get boring for kids, so it’s important to mix it up when you can. We recommend taking toys outside in the garden, going to the park, taking a walk in the woods or visiting a museum to spark their imagination and encourage different avenues of creativity.
8. Role Play
Creating role play situations with your children is a fantastic way to nurture their creativity and ignite their imaginations. Alongside being loads of fun, role play also helps kids develop a strong problem-solving approach when issues arise in real life. Here’s some fun role play ideas: doctors, police, shops, teachers, superheroes or fantasy characters such as unicorns, dinosaurs or princesses.
9. Let Kids Know It’s Okay To Be Different
Just because something is ‘supposed’ to be a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s how it has to be. It’s important to let your children know that it’s okay to be different and you should encourage them to use their imagination and creativity without trying to fit into specific expectations. Having no limits is where the real creative magic happens!
10. Show Your Creativity
Children learn more from what you do than what you say, meaning if you’re actively exploring your creativity, your kids will most likely want to do the same. Try things and fail. Create something and show them. By doing so, you’re demonstrating to them that anyone can be creative, and there are many ways of doing so. Whether you want to rearrange the furniture in your home, plant some seeds in the garden, create a picture for your bedroom wall or have a go at building something, let them get involved in your creative process.