You have probably been noticing how under-stimulated children are in the areas of creativity and imagination nowadays.
Especially with the every increasing abundance of digital devices... phones and tablets, alongside TVs and computers.
It's then extremely important for us to nurture creativity in children by creating opportunities in our daily lives to embrace their full potential.
One of the best ways to do this is through free and unstructured play, allowing your little ones to develop their sense of exploration and curiosity, outside of pre-programmed digital games and videos.
Let's take a deeper look at this!
“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else has ever thought”
Albert Einstein - German theoretical physicist and philosopher.
So, Why is it Important...
For You, as a parent, to encourage and promote creativity and self-expression in your children?
Imagine creativity in a child’s mind, like fireworks in a wooden box ready to shoot out from being confined in a tight space, to paint a beautiful colourful skyline in the night.
When learning only involves pressing buttons on a screen, to accomplish a task, for results that have been predetermined, imaginations are suppressed and undeveloped.
As a result, there is an increasing awareness among parents of the benefits of open-ended activities to encourage creativity and innovation.
All around the word, in-depth discussions are constantly being conducted and studies underway of why nurturing creativity is so important in the younger generation, and the discoveries are eye-opening!
We have all heard the names of brilliant people who have made significant contributions to the world, such as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs.
What these bright minds have in common, is having various outlets at an early an age, to express and explore their ingenuity.
Through trial and error, children can discover their strengths and more importantly, their individuality and originality, of what makes them unique as a human being and how they can utilize their skills to be successful as adults later in life.
Sparking creativity in children is crucial as it can boost self-confidence and promote self-worth, which are both very important qualities to build in a child.
A sense of achievement, regardless of size of the goal or task, teaches children to be resilient, patient, persistent and responsible.
Problem solving skills will also be triggered and developed when a road block is encountered, as an alternative method to accomplish the project is required.
Aside from inspiring ‘out of the box’ thinking skills, children will also be stimulated emotionally and mentally, to learn to cope with various situations, in order to find a resolution.
Communication and social skills through interaction with parents, friends or teachers will also be developed, as children seek answers to create their masterpieces.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun”
Albert Einstein - German theoretical physicist and philosopher.
Sparking Young Minds
Children are naturally creative!
So if you're wondering if there’s a secret prescription out there?
Look no further than to simply create opportunities for children to express themselves and build on their wonder.
Let's explore some different ways to spark creativity and imagination in children.
Get Super Creative with DIY Arts and Crafts
There are endless crafty materials and ideas out there, but the best, in my opinion, is using materials from your own surroundings.
Free is good!
You can get incredibly creative with cardboard, as it is literally everywhere!
Cardboard packaging boxes, cereal boxes or the box from new pair of shoes you just bought!
You can also raid the pantry for raw ingredients like uncooked rice/macaroni, explore nearby parks and beaches for natural materials like leaves, pine cones and seashells, or recycle your old wore-out clothes, toys and accessories.
Lids, caps and plastic bottles, are great too, and the list just goes on.
Take a look around you and you’ll be amazed of what you can find!
Make it an activity with your young ones for the next big project, to hunt and explore together for useful materials. The best part is, this exercise can be stretched out over a few days, there’s no need to scratch your head scrambling for new activities to keep them busy all the time!
Tip: Spice up arts and crafts sessions by presenting a mystery box of materials, which challenges the young minds to their maximum creative potential.
- Make natural paint brushes by tying leaves, grass and flowers to branches.
- Cut out shapes in potatoes to make stamps.
- Use sticks, coloured pasta and seashells to make a photo frame.
- Make a wind chime or dream catcher with shells, sticks and dried leaves.
- Use old clothes and sheets to make a cape to wear or bag to store toys.
- Paint and decorate on pine cones and pebbles; write letters to form names/words.
- Make a collage or wall art of natural materials.
- Make building blocks from cardboard and build a house or playcar.
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”
Pablo Picasso - Spanish painter, sculptor, poet and playwright.
A Blank Canvas of Possibility, the Start of All Masterpieces
What better way than to let your child’s imagination run wild on scrap piece of paper, a spare side from a cardboard box or an old notebook.
No borders, outlines and instructions!
They can choose to:
- Draw their favorite animal, house, family.
- Colour with crayons or paint with their hands and fingers.
- Create 3D art by sticking pasta, cotton balls, leaves or whatever they can find around the house and in the backyard. (Tip: dip pasta/cotton balls in paint for a variety of colors and wait to dry before sticking)
- Make origami to the shape of paper animals, airplanes or fans.
- Write their dreams and hopes, and who they want to become. (Tip: hang on wall in their bedroom for daily inspiration)
This exercise is an outlet for children to express their true thoughts and emotions, especially for younger children, who are yet to learn how to articulate their wellbeing.
Often, this becomes a great way for you to communicate with your kids and gauge how they are really feeling.
As children's motor skills develop, you can extend their canvasses through intricate colouring books (buy in stores or print for free online), or check-out our very own colour-in cardboard cubby house.
These can be mixed with the diy craft activities above to extend the amazing creations and possibility for creative play.
Adventure into the Endless Outdoors
Get back to basics before the time of technology.
Spark interests in the little explorers that children are naturally born to be, by allocating ample play time outdoors.
Natural fresh air, exposure to vitamin D from the sun, and more importantly time away from the radiation of digital screens and mobile phones, are important for healthy development of young children.
Getting close to nature teaches young children the beautiful wonders on this planet and how we co-exist with other living beings and animals.
They will learn to be creative with problem solving and resourceful in the big outside world, a place where one day they will have to survive in on their own.
- Use a magnifying glass to find and count the types of bugs in the backyard.
- Create your own mini water park at home by spraying water up into trees and standing underneath when the water falls; run through sprinklers; water balloons.
- Grow tomatoes and other veggies in your own vegetable patch and teach your children to be responsible by assigning them the task of watering and taking care of the plants consistently.
- Twigs and fallen tree branches can be used to create a tiny village for the kids to play with.
- Hide and seek or tag/chasey – some classic children’s games!
- Treasure hunting with a map and list of items to find (just list natural things found in the garden, backyard or park)
- Adventure race course for children with obstacles using chairs and tree branches to crawl under and jump over. A quiet night afterward, will most likely be on the cards with this activity 😉
- Outdoor picnic on the grass, sky gazing, finding shapes in clouds and listening to the birds.
- Cycling and hiking through natural habitats. Find some local family friendly bush walking or nature trails.
- Build a house or any form of shelter with sticks and leaves.
Open-Ended Questions and Answers
Instead of providing close ended, short and single-word questions and answers, stimulate intelligent conversations with young children by talking to them as if you are having a conversation with another adult.
If they ask them a question, you don’t always have to provide them with the answers straight away.
Instead, ask them open-ended questions that require them to think logically and steers these question close until they come to a sensible answer for their questions themselves.
Having regular intellectual discussions such as ‘Why do you think this happens’, ‘How did this form’, ‘What do you expect from doing that’?
This creates opportunities for young children to learn and increase their knowledge on the subject, as well as encourages their problem solving skills.
Another tip is to avoid asking 'how was your day?' or 'how are you?'.
Instead, ask questions that require a sentence or two response like, 'what activities did you do in class today' and 'who did you see/speak to'.
The Magic of Music and Sound
Studies have shown that music stimulates creativity through a different outlet!
It opens up another part of the brain to express individuality, bringing out the hidden inner creator in young children into a shared magical experience that inspires themselves and others around.
Music is also a great way for children to once again, share their thoughts and feelings, and communicate with others.
You can introduce them to the sounds of a pianos and guitars, or encourage them to sing along to various genres.
Or if old enough, they can even take up some lessons in an instrument of their choice.
Wrapping It All Up
Vast changes are constantly occurring in the world around us, especially since the development of technology.
While technology has brought endless advantages to us all, on the flip side, the way we live and bring up our children has definitely been affected.
Children are naturally born not knowing boundaries and in their world, there are endless possibilities for greatness.
So let's explore the stimulation of their creativity and imaginations beyond structured toys and digital devices, and into a world of open-ended play.
Set your child’s mind free with child driven activities and you will embrace their full potential.
Now It's Your Turn
I hoped you enjoyed this post!
Now I'd like to hear your thoughts.
What methods do you like the best?
Or maybe you have a question about one of them?
Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
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