Tips For Getting Your Kids To Be Creative

The world through a child’s eyes is a place of wonder and endless possibilities. Children have an innate creativity and sense of wonder, filling in the blanks of the unknown with their imagination. Unfortunately, modern technology and toys often take up the time and space that kids would otherwise fill dreaming up new worlds, new answers and new ideas.

creative kid thinking

As we use creativity in solving problems in daily life, regardless of how big or small, it is important that children nurture their artistic skills and out-of-the-box thinking as early in life as possible. In fact, a study found that a child’s creativity and imagination correlated with his or her ability to deal with pain, to learn, and his/her level of confidence.

Help your kids keep that creative spark with the tips below:

Make time for unstructured play

While children need rules, guidelines and structure, too much of it can stifle creative thinking. Additionally, a great amount of kids’ “free” time or playtime is increasingly scheduled and multifunctional (like learning a specific skill in the guise of playing).

Children simply do not have the unstructured, free-form playtime needed to nurture creativity. Set aside a time that’s completely child-directed, imaginative play, without direction. This gives the child an opportunity to explore, imagine and experiment.

Reduce TV and computer time

Scaling back the amount of time your kids spend in front of a TV, computer or tablet would not only provide an extra block of time for free play, but also frees your children’s minds to create narratives of their own.

Time spent watching videos could be time spent playing outside and interacting with the world around them, or using their imaginations to entertain themselves.

Provide the necessary supplies

Simpler is better when it comes to encouraging creative thought. Have things like markers, paper, crayons, tissue paper, milk cartons, soda bottles, gift bags, toilet paper rolls, old magazines and newspapers, boxes, paint, etc. on hand during free play time.

You will be amazed at what children will craft from these items laying around the house (added bonus: eco-friendly recycling of what would otherwise just be garbage). Show your children a few creative uses for ordinary objects—like creating beads from magazine pages, or using gift bags to create a paper frame—and then let them run wild with their imagination.

If your child leans more towards storytelling rather than arts and crafts, provide him or her with props to create a narrative. Dolls and stuffed animals can be utilized as characters; cardboard boxes, farm sets, train sets, etc. can add to the setting of the story. Allow them to develop as complex or as simple a tale as they want. If they choose to share it with you, refrain from correcting them—this all takes place in their imagination, after all.

creative painted hands

Costumes are also good tools in encouraging creativity and artistic expression.

Space is key.

When kids start exploring, chances are that a mess will be made! Embrace the mess, knowing that having to keep everything neat and in its place will stifle the freedom needed for the creative process.

Either set aside a particular area for playtime or take the whole lot outside. Outdoor play, with or without the various tools mentioned above, can be extremely stimulating to kids’ imaginations. For example, encourage them to come up with a story for a ladybug, or simply look for shapes of things in the clouds.

Embrace curiosity and the mistakes that come with it.

Accidents and mistakes will happen when your children are exploring out-of-the-box thinking. Rather than demanding perfection in execution of “creativity,” embrace the chaos.

Discuss the mistakes with your child—and ask them to come up with a solution to the problem. Not only will they feel more free to make mistakes, especially when exploring uncharted territory, but they’ll also learn to problem-solve in a more creative manner. This helps reduce the fear of failure, which prepares them to take more creative risks in the future.

Encourage your children to creatively come up with solutions to problems and to use their imagination. Not only will this benefit them in their social and school life, but it will help them to develop a set of skills that will be necessary throughout their lives as well.

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