Creativity is something anyone can develop. It’s not something you’re either born with or lack in your life. Once cultivated, it’s a tool that is indispensable for careers, building a family and overall health and happiness. Creativity reaches far beyond art and music — it’s present in technology, science, math and social skills.
Children who can think creatively often do better overall with solving problems and navigating life. Often, people may assume that to foster creativity, you need to let children be alone. However, supporting them in their creativity actually helps them take their creative development to the fullest. It’s more about creating an environment for creativity than teaching them how to be creative.
Kids are naturally innovative, but sometimes, they need a push in their creativity. The toy industry has set boundaries for children’s play and creativity. It’s time to push those boundaries to foster truly creative kids. Here’s how to help your child explore their creativity which will offer them a world of opportunities.
Kids seem to have millions of questions every day. On average, one child will ask just over 70 questions during the day. This curiosity stems when children are preschool-aged and doesn’t stop for some years.
When your child asks a complicated question for them to answer on their own, rephrase the question and ask them right back. Your questions should be open-ended and provoke further thought on the topic. Even if your children aren’t asking questions, you should ask them a few questions to stimulate creative thinking.
Limit Screen Time
Another way to help your children explore creativity is by limiting their screen time, which currently, on average, takes up between five and seven hours of your child’s day. This includes their phone, tablet, television, laptop, movies, video games and so on. The digital age has made it more challenging for parents to foster imagination because kids would rather watch other people be creative than hone their creativity themselves.
Instead, have your children try to create something similar to what they’ve seen in their favorite Youtube videos or to make something all on their own. They can also get involved in reading and learning to draw. Consuming media is a passive way of absorbing information. Getting involved in a hands-on activity is better for creativity!
Provide Time and Opportunities for Creativity
Perhaps the best resource you can provide your children with is time. They need time to be themselves. Give them time to sit down and be bored. Eventually, they’ll come up with some way to curb their boredom.
This time should be unstructured and uninterrupted. Keep it child-directed, too. Additionally, if you provide materials, make sure they’re simple and not commercialized, like a toy that comes with exact instructions on how to be used.
Spend Time Outdoors
The great outdoors is one of the best places for a child to explore their creativity. Nature is great for mental health, and it boosts creativity because children often ask questions and want to know more about what’s going on around them. Simply going on a walk through your neighborhood or at a local park can significantly enhance your child’s creativity.
Natural environments are also the perfect unstructured play spaces. New environments provide children with so much to explore. Whether they’re learning about different types of plants or are learning from another child how to navigate the monkey bars, they’re expanding their imagination and creative thinking.
Keep Their Play Space Simple
Design a space in your home or in your child’s room that is specifically for creating. You don’t need a fancy playroom. All you need is a space ample enough for them to freely move about as they play dress-up, build with LEGOs or get out all of their arts and crafts supplies.
In addition to a simple space, provide them with simple toys and games. These should allow kids to explore their imagination rather than hinder it with lots of rules and instructions. That’s why sometimes you might notice kids having the most fun with a cardboard box — with a bit of manipulation, a box could become a house, car, rocketship or desk.
Avoid Managing or Rewarding Creative Thinking
It’s challenging not to manage every minute of your child’s life. You want to make sure they’re safe at all times and want to ensure they’re playing and learning correctly. However, too much managing during playtime can hinder their creative development. Allow them some autonomy to explore on their own and do things they want to do.
Further, when they do achieve something super creative, avoid giving your children rewards. If they know there’s an incentive after completing a creative task, they won’t put their full creative efforts into it. Don’t motivate them with rewards because it might not be something they’re interested in doing. If they do accomplish something creative, emphasize the process and reward them with positive reinforcement.
Sparking Creativity for an Imaginative Generation
Implementing these tips into your child’s life will spark their creativity in no time. Put the screens away, allow them to have some unstructured playtime and watch their imaginations flourish. Creativity is one of those essential life skills that you can help foster in your child starting today.