Creativity is one of the most important attributes that a child can possess. With creativity, a child can learn to solve problems and discover new ways to communicate thoughts and ideas. Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not something that your child either has or doesn’t have; in fact, creativity is a skill that they can learn to develop over time. Below are seven tips to help you encourage the all-important quality of creativity in your kids.
1. Allow time for creativity. With all of the busyness of the average American schedule, it can be easy to forget to simply carve out some time for your kids to engage in imaginative, unstructured play. Set aside a certain block of time–and a certain location in your home–for your child to fully explore their creativity, even if it means making a little bit of a mess in the process.
2. Furnish them with a variety of creative supplies and see which ones they warm up to. Maybe they love to draw or paint, or perhaps they’re more of an “engineer” who loves to build things. Go for some colored pencils, art markers (preferably washable), crayons, a paint set, building blocks, pipe cleaners, beads, decorative stamps, etc., or even just some plain old cardboard, scissors, and tape, and see what they come up with. You would be surprised at how resourceful and inventive your child can be when they have a good set of “tools” to work with.
3. Celebrate their creativity by highlighting some of their best creative works. If they made an awesome painting (even if only in your eyes), frame it and hang it up somewhere in the house. If their latest Lego sculpture is an eye-catcher, snap a picture of it and put it on Pinterest, and then show them the pin. It is important for them to feel and see your support for their creative endeavors.
4. Allow for plenty of trial and error with your kids’ creative projects. Encourage them to experiment, think outside of the box, and make plenty of mistakes. Resist any temptations to steer them too much towards a specific end; allow them to experience the thrill of discovery in the midst of their creative pursuits. Perfectionism is a creativity killer, so resist any urges to excessively correct what they’re doing along the way. Provide guidance, but let the final product be their own.
5. Try not to include too many manufactured toys. Pre-assembled, store-bought play items can oftentimes stifle creativity, because the heavy lifting of imaginative play has basically been done for the kid already. There’s nothing wrong with incorporating a couple of toys into the mix, but bear in mind that the objective is to encourage your kids to learn how to think for themselves and use their own imagination.
6. Limit TV time. Research has shown that watching TV has the same neurological effect as staring at a blank wall for several hours. Kids need to engage all five of their senses in imaginative exploration, and this can only come away from the television set.
7. Hone in on any creative outlets that your child is naturally drawn to, or doesn’t need any coaxing to get involved in. Once you’ve identified what these outlets are, feed that desire any way you can, whether it be with additional supplies, professional lessons, etc. Who knows–you may have the next child prodigy on your hands!
Youthland Academy works with every child to customize a program that best fits their learning style and fosters creativity. Learn more about how Youthland Academy is helping parents raise creative kids!