Fostering Creativity in Children
As a parent, one of the toughest challenges you face is helping your child expand their minds and be able to play creatively either with little direction or on their own. But there are ways to help you with this difficult process.
Granted, maybe you were blessed with a child that oozes creativity and can do so at the drop of a hat. For the rest of us, here are 10 ways that you can help foster creativity in your child regardless of their age.
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1. Become a superhero
It is very likely that your child has dressed up for Halloween already, but did you keep that costume around for everyday use? You should have, as it can lead to fun time playing alone or with a group.
Dressing up as a superhero offers your child the chance to be someone different for that time period. He or she can be Iron-Man or Captain America, tasked with saving the world from evil forces. Or a princess facing the difficult challenges of leading her kingdom.
But do not leave it just to always being the “good guys.” Maybe they are a villain and can change that character to a “good” person through different activities. And don’t think a complete Halloween costume is needed, as a simple mask can do the trick.
One effective way to build up the wardrobe collection is to visit your local store shortly after Halloween ends and purchase discounted costumes in various sizes for your child or their friends.
2. Design a building
When you think back to your own childhood, building blocks were likely a part of it. That should continue to be the case even in this electronic-driven world. Getting out a box of Legos or other blocks can lead to a growing interest in a fulfilling career.
Architectural design is complex at the highest level, but for your youngster, it can simply mean placing one block on top of the other and creating a tower. The end result can lead to even more excitement, as the child is able to “demolish” the creation and start all over again.
Cardboard, Legos, blocks, or any number of household items such as paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls can be used for this project.
3. Learn to draw comics
Comics are found daily in most newspapers and can be an excellent activity for first thing in the morning, allowing kids to develop their reading skills and humor at the same time. Also, with technology at an all-time high, downloading a daily comic strip to your phone is simple and easy.
Taking it a step further and have your child design their own comics. These are very simple and basic drawing concepts that can include the inclusion of coloring. Have them put together a book of the drawings, thus creating another world to expand and even take into “play time” later on.
Paper, pencils, crayons, colored markers, and colored pencils are all basic tools needed and likely found lying around the house already. Have your child either create brand new characters or base the comic strip off their own real-life adventures.
4. Flat Stanley around the world
Based on the excellent series of books, Flat Stanley takes into account several key features that will allow your child to grow their creativity and learn about different parts of the country and world at the same time.
First, create a Flat Stanley – or even name the paper creation after your child – by drawing it out and adding your own brand of flare with colors. The next step will likely involve some help, as you need to send the Flat Stanley to family members or those heading out on vacations to take with them, snapping pictures of the character with them enjoying the adventures.
This is also something your child can do when they are going on vacation or even just a simple run to the store. Put a map up allowing you to mark where Flat Stanley has visited, which allows your child to learn more about different regions of the country and world.
5. Take advantage of technology
While it is great to use paper, pencils, and other household items with your child at all ages, it is also smart parenting to take advantage of the technology we all have now. That includes your cell phone, which can be used as more than just a keep-quiet tool.
Break out some of those costumes used early and have either yourself or your child become a major-movie director straight from Hollywood. First, create an idea for either a show, movie, or quick project, planning it out with costumes, stages, or even just go straight natural and use your everyday surroundings.
Get that camera out and start rolling, creating a memory that will last a lifetime and could lead to more creative developments as your child learns more about themselves.
6. Watch the sky
If they are old enough to stay up past dark, bring your child outside to see the beautiful view presented to us in the sky. When the sun goes down and the stars come out, the sky can be a great use to improve creativity.
Where do stars come from? What other planets are out there? Do people live on them? These are all questions likely to be presented by the adoring child while looking up either though the naked eye or with a telescope. Help teach them about the solar systems and what all goes on up there and you are sure to start them on a path to branching out.
7. Listen to music
Watch your child during a movie or television show and see how they react to the music being played. Are they singing along? Do they bounce or stomp their foot with the rhythm? Music can be a life-long adventure that not only helps with developments but can lead to incredible careers.
Start your child out by listening to some kid-friendly sounds that will help tune their ears to listen in. From there, maybe bring an instrument into the room and see how they attempt to play it. Sure, you might want to cover your ears at first, but children learn and pick up things so quickly at this age that you will be enjoying the sounds in no time.
8. Allow for a mess to be made
As someone who battles with this, it can be difficult to not pick things up immediately. But we must remember that one mess can lead to the creation of something great very quickly.
By leaving random items around, maybe your child will see a new way to play with that toy by incorporating other toys together with it; thus, becoming a creative thinker. This also goes along the lines of problem solving and don’t be afraid to let them get their hands a bit dirty.
Scientists do this all the time, as trial and error is the best way to learn.
9. Read, read, read
There is nothing wrong with giving a child some time to play on their own, but don’t forget to do that with reading, as well. If your child has progressed to reading without help, this can be the best tool for future creativity to excel.
Create a small nook or reading area that is just for your child. This will allow them to feel comfortable and excited about their own place to do their reading. From there, let the imagination soar, as each book can lead to a new adventure through any number of other creative forces such as dressing up, drawing or building.
10. Don’t reward creativity
This can seem a bit tough, but do not reward your child for doing one of the previously mentioned items. Instead, congratulate them and ask them to do another to foster their creativity.
If there is a reward at the end of the tunnel in drawing a comic, reading a book, or playing superheroes, your child is likely to do so just to achieve the treasure. That’s not where more growth occurs. Instead, push them to continue to become creative thinkers and the real rewards will follow.