While there is little denying the importance of academic and sporting ability during childhood and beyond, it’s essential not to underestimate the role that creativity plays in all people’s lives. Far from residing in the hearts and minds of children alone, creative thinking is the skill that enables people to solve problems, push boundaries, communicate, interpret language and symbols and express emotions. Creativity is the application of imagination and original ideas – a means for turning words, stories and concepts into reality. It allows people to function with strength, determination and vivacity. Put simply, all humans could do with allowing their creativity to flow occasionally.
At a time when gadgets, games and social media are gaining popularity and affecting how children learn and communicate, it’s never been more important to nurture the basic nature of creativity in your little one’s life. After all, his or her social, emotional and physical development, motor skills and use of language and ideas depend upon the seeds of creativity that, even now, might be dwindling. This not to say that social and digital media have no place in childhood. Indeed, your child’s ability to grasp technology will likely prepare him or her well for the future, particularly when it comes to a career that makes use of the very resources that he or she is becoming so adept at using. However, now is the time to encourage your child’s most basic responses to his or her creativity and brainstorm on how to harness the potential that’s brewing every day.
Allow your child to get bored
Perhaps the best way to encourage your child’s creativity is to allow him or her to get bored on occasion. Children thrive upon unstructured, imaginative play that’s conducted without guidance or interference from adults. Such play sessions enable your child to solve problems, create scenarios and indulge his or her imagination while coming to understand the world in new and exciting ways. Don’t always expect your child to color within the lines, and you’ll soon find that he or she can surprise you when given the time and space to do so.
Provide the materials that will inspire creativity
The freedom to explore is integral for nurturing your child’s creativity. By taking a moment to step back, you’ll see whole worlds unfold in his or her hands. You can also offer numerous materials that provide the same effect. Art supplies, dress-up clothes, construction toys, cheap cameras and film and imaginative toys are all vital tools during your little one’s childhood. For example, stimulating toys such as Glow-in-the-Dark Magic Tracks engage your son or daughter’s creativity and take your child in any number of new directions.
Lead by example
Children are continually on the lookout for acceptance and approval. Yours might be reluctant to express new ideas if you constantly value logic and order over creativity and expression. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to nurture your child’s creativity and lead by example. Get involved in aspects of your child’s playtime by suggesting bold and exciting ways to use materials or donning dress-up clothes and imagining an afternoon away. Encourage creative questioning and brainstorming whenever your child has a concern – tackling issues now will help your child handle solving problems in the future.
Nurture a love of the arts
Few avenues nurture creativity quite like the arts, so take the time to encourage your child to read aloud, sing songs, dance, draw, paint, rehearse plays, create shows and absorb a variety of performances. Take your child to the theater, cinema and concerts and ask him or her about the emotional impact of what you’ve both just seen. Is your child feeling inspired to create his or her own piece of theater? Have the issues discussed in the books that you’ve read answered any questions?
Stimulate your child’s senses
Your child develops his or her creativity using all five senses, so think of activities and games that allow for touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing the surrounding environment. From messy play in the backyard to trips a little further away, this is your opportunity to inspire your child. What might life be like on another planet? How do animals view the world? Ask your child to formulate responses that engage his or her senses and prepare to enjoy a myriad of adventures together.
Inspiring and encouraging creativity in your child couldn’t be simpler. You can enrich your little one’s early years and ensure that your child is harnessing his or her creativity with flair and determination by engaging in silly games, art activities, opportunities for imagination and timeless toy exploration. Whether allowing your child to get bored, initiating a conversation or simply stargazing, you/re sure to rediscover your creative and youthful side as well.