9 Must Do’s to Instill Creativity In Your Child
My toddler was in the living room quietly playing while I was in the kitchen hesitantly creating in my own way–dinner. He was enthralled in his creative world.
Dinner was over and I put them to bed. I went down to the living room and noticed he had not cleaned up his toys. Usually this annoys me because they know part of enjoying play time involves cleaning up their toys. But instead, I tried following his train of thought in his play, I observed his careful set up–I was amazed. He took the chocolate milk carton I had given him and he made a bed for his wooden people of the world. He created other little worlds for himself with his cars and with his animals all surrounding the bed of people as if they were protecting the people.
This put a smile on my face. It filled me with delight and even inspired me. His creativity made my world a better place.
Today let your kids just play. Forget the programs, the planned activities… let them just play.
“The word “creativity,” in our society, tends to be applied to artistic endeavors. But divergent thinking is an essential part of everyday life, whether it’s navigating office politics or devising a new social-media network. When a toddler figures out that he can climb a strategically placed chair to reach a cookie on the kitchen counter, he has engaged in highly creative problem solving (to the chagrin of his parents). “We all have creative potential,” says Mark Runco, Ph.D., director of the University of Georgia’s Torrance Center for Creativity & Talent Development.
“Our job as parents and teachers is to help kids fulfill it.” CNN.com by Carolina A. Miranda
After following my sons play, I was literally in awe. I’m sure after seeing the picture above you’re thinking what’s so amazing about that. But I was in awe by the innocence and the process. The creative process is so much more important than the finish product especially at this age.
I was reminded to stop in the middle of my busyness and just watch them play. As they have gotten older I do a lot more listening in on their play but with this I miss so much from watching their little creative worlds in process.
PBS.org shares these insightful words, ” Creative experiences help children express and cope with their feelings. Creativity also fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas and new ways of thinking and problem solving. Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of your children as well as offer excellent opportunities to individualize your parenting and focus on each of your children.”
9 Must Do’s to Instill Creativity In Your Child
1. Encourage them to fail.
One of my kids is afraid to fail and this really curbs his creativity. He doesn’t want to try new things, because he’s afraid that he might not be good at it or it might not turn out “right”. Make sure that you encourage their failure by letting them know it’s okay or telling them about the time you really messed up.
2. Simple toys.
Surround your child with toys that don’t require you to follow their exact directions. Blocks, sticks, rocks, construction paper, glue, scissors, simple cars, people, costumes or fabric for costume creations… You’ll be amazed at what they come up with after a few minutes of play–a living room turned into a fort. Knights armed to fight the battle with stick swords against the fierce dragons.
3. Avoid planning.
Our programs and schedules that we spend tons of money with the purpose to instill their creativity and skills can actually be the very things that keep them from fostering creativity. Your off to baseball, swimming and then in the afternoon for karate. These are all great activities and they all serve a purpose in helping your child learn new skills, teamwork and to broaden their horizons in other areas. But a day full of activity doesn’t give your child the opportunity to just play. Everything they are doing that day is planned for them with no room for creativity. Stop planning and let them play.
4. Join in.
Kids learn from watching their parents. So even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body join them in their coloring or making a rocket ship from rocks.
5. Limit screen time.
Here’s what one study says, “When you take a break from gathering data, you allow the brain to loosely explore and reconfigure information — which is why so many people have great ideas in the shower. TV and the Internet, however, interfere with this process — and unfortunately, more than two thirds of kids under 6 spend an average of two hours a day using some form of electronic media, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.”
6. Foster a creative atmosphere –
I must add don’t just foster a creative atmosphere by having an area for them to freely paint, color, build and create but let them do it as much as possible, whenever possible. I say this because I’m speaking to myself, I hate messes and I know if I let my toddler take out the paint there will be a mess in less than 10 minutes so I will say no to his desire to paint if it’s not in MY timing. So make sure you give them access to freely create throughout the day even if it means their will be Lego blocks all over the living room.
7. Let them play and explore on their own.
Sometimes in our desire to express our creativity (especially us bloggers) we set up a whole sensory table full of things that we want them to explore for the ocean theme. But maybe next time let them put things in the box that they think would go with the theme even if it doesn’t fit.
Remember to let them explore and try to not tell them how to play or how to put things together–let them have at it. Let them discover for themselves solutions and once they ask for input give them a little but continue to encourage them to find their own problem solving. We can also encourage divergent thought by letting them have a different opinion than your own. Yes, to even disagree with you.
8. Encourage reading –
Oh, how reading opens up the imagination and before you know it, you’re riding a magic carpet into the world of genies and then boarding a wagon to the West to discover gold.
9. Don’t get caught up in the end product but focus on the process.
This is for me. I’m all about the end product and so are those teachers who want the kids to take home a perfect art project so they pretty much do it for them. I’m learning not to care that their tree looks more like a mud hole. It doesn’t matter than in my eyes it looks prettier if the trunk of the tree was vertical instead of a big blob of brown paint.