Creativity is a natural and necessary part of childhood. As children engage in creative activities, they are simultaneously developing social and cognitive skills that are vital to early learning and development.
Being creative doesn’t always come easily though. Like other skills, it can sometimes be necessary for adults to intervene, providing inspiration and encouragement as needed.
If you are interested in promoting children’s creativity, here are a few simple tips:
Provide plenty of time
In order to unleash their creativity, kids need a plethora of unstructured time. When children have the opportunity to direct their own activities, without schedule constraints, they are more apt to fully engage in child-initiated creative play.
Minimize the toys
Many commercial toys are designed to be used in a specific way. They don’t require a lot of thought or creative thinking. When kids have less store-bought toys, they tend to use their imagination more. Instead of a plastic sword, they might create one out of rolled newspaper. Rather than a pre-designed dollhouse, children might engineer a cardboard box version. When kids have less distractions, they are more inclined to be inventive.
Demonstrate your own creativity
Kids love to mimic adults, and are constantly watching how we behave in our everyday lives. Sharing your own creativity can help inspire them. Paint together, read a poem you wrote, plan and act out a play. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just authentic and meaningful.
Teach kids the importance of being creative
When children understand that we value creativity, they will learn to cherish it as well. Emphasize the creative process, rather than the finished product whenever possible. Art projects and story writing can be open-ended and spontaneous, instead of well-defined with an end goal in place. This helps encourage kids to use their critical thinking skills, and follow their own desires, to create something they can be proud of.
Provide tools and resources that promote creativity
Ensuring children have what they need to explore their creativity (art supplies, dress-up costumes, etc.) can inspire them to be creative on a daily basis. Discover what your child is interested in, and then seek out resources and tools that will help them to expand their knowledge and develop skills in that area.
What are your tips for fostering children’s creativity? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.