Creativity is essential to not only art and music, but also math, science, problem solving and general out-of-the-box thinking. It is not a ‘have it or you don’t’, innate talent, it is a skill that can be taught and nurtured.
So how do you foster creativity in your little ones?
Give children time and space to imagine
Kids need time and space for imaginative play. Adult direction can hamper their imagination, so let them be the leaders in play. Ask what something is, but try not to make suggestions or tell them.
Give them time to sit with arts and crafts supplies and just create, with no direction, rules or goal outcome. Try to carve out designated creating space, even just a corner of the room with some building blocks, let them be free to build whatever comes to mind.
Ask imaginative questions
Let your children know their ideas can be heard. Ask strange and crazy questions.
'What do you think it would be like to be a superhero?'
'Imagine flying a rocket, where would you go?'
Ask for their craziest vacation idea - what would they see and experience?
These ideas aren’t about realism so don’t tell them if something's impossible. It’s about letting their imagination go wild. And it never hurts to let your imagination grow as an adult too - what would your answers be?
Keep it unstructured
The more toys kids have with a designated purpose, like a lightsaber or complicated dolls, the less they have to use their imagination.
These toys have their place, but you should also encourage your children to imagine how they could play with regular items.
Is that stick a magic wand or a sword?
Little rocks could be toy cars.
Had a package delivered? Give your child the box and see what they can create with it.
Encourage them to solve problems
Creativity isn't just about toys or crafts, problem solving is a real world application.
If your child comes to you with a problem they’re having, try to encourage them to think about how to solve it, rather than jumping to do it for them. Applaud any ideas they have, even if they’re less than traditional.
When you're solving problems yourself, try to explain to your child your thought process and why you're doing what you're doing.
What do you think? We'd love to hear your ideas too!