Four Ways to Encourage Your Children’s Creativity

All children are creative by nature, but some are much more so than others. Those that are more creative when they are young generally go on to be more confident as they become older as the ability to see things differently makes it easier to take on life’s challenges. Here are four ways to ensure your child is able to make the most of their creative instincts.

Feed their imagination

Reading aloud to your children when they are young will give them an incentive to read by themselves when they are older and strengthen both their imagination and their ability to emphasise with others. Some children, boys especially, may express a dislike of reading but this can usually be overcome by finding the right material. There has been an explosion of high-quality children’s literature in recent years and the many thrilling tales of young footballers, spy academies and teenagers trying to survive in dystopian worlds should strike a chord with even the most cynical youngsters.

Film and television can also have a role in feeding imagination but it’s important to monitor both the content and the time spent watching so that their viewing doesn’t detract from other activities.

Let them loose on a project

Family birthday, anniversaries and holiday celebrations are a perfect time for your children to stretch their creative muscles. Making cards the old-fashioned way with paper, glue and glitter can be a messy business and frustrating as any mistake means having to start over.

Providing your children with access to an online card maker, either alone or under your supervision depending on their age, means they can experiment with designs and colours to their heart’s content. Far from being limiting, studies have shown that access to apps and computer programs that allow children to paint, draw or make music all encourage creativity.

Show, don’t tell

Academic studies have found that children who watch other people being creative go on to become more creative themselves. These findings fit in well with other studies that suggest the children of highly creative parents are also likely to be creative. Although there is some evidence to suggest some elements of creativity are genetic, scientists believe these traits are more likely to derive from observation. This means if you want your children to grow up with the ability to find creative solutions to any problems they may encounter, they need to see that you can do the same.

Encourage outside the box thinking

Play a game where you try to come up with as many different uses for an item as you can. Allow your child to make simple decisions such a what to have for lunch, accompanied by a rule that they can never have the same thing twice in a week to ensure they are reaching for new ideas. At the end of simple stories, such as the one about the Three Little Pigs, ask if there are other ways the story might have ended or talk about what might have happened to a minor character in a story while the hero or heroine was having their adventure. You can also use open-ended questions and “what if” scenarios to encourage your child to use their imagination and fill in the blanks.

I love all of these ideas and I’m guilty of not doing as much ‘creative’ play with my children as I think would benefit them, so I’ll definitely be trying some of these out at home!

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