How To Foster Your Kids’ Creativity
Children are naturally very curious and creative, but this needs to be fostered or they will begin to lose it as they get older. And it is not just about creativity: studies have shown that doing regular arts and crafts can make them feel more confident, enhance their social skills and improve their learning ability. Most schools emphasise the creative aspects of education these days, but there is plenty you can do at home to encourage them as well. For example:
- Make A Space: Children need a place that has been specially set aside for them to be creative, so they don’t have to worry about making a mess and can let their imaginations run free. And don’t think, ‘but I don’t have any spare rooms in my house’. They don’t need some kind of fancy playroom for this: it can be as simple as setting aside a corner of the sitting room for a box of painting things, Lego, play-doh or whatever it is they like doing. The crucial thing is that they know this is ‘their’ space to do what they want in.
- Get Supplies In: Get in plenty of kids’ craft supplies, because if you encourage them to make things you will quickly discover that the ideas they come up with are way more imaginative than anything you could dream up. There is no need to spend a lot of money: yes, you need to buy basic things such as glues, crayons, scissors and paper and paints, but the rest can be found around the home or outside. In fact, the more weird and wonderful the decorations for your kids’ craft projects, the better. Learn about the things they most enjoy so you can ensure that any craft supplies you buy reflect this.
- Keep It Simple: There is absolutely no need to splash out on the most expensive paints, toys, easels, Lego sets and so on in order to help your children harness their creativity. In fact, simple games and activities can be far more effective. Story cubes, for example, are simply cubes with various pictures on each side, but the amount of stories you children can come up with using them are practically limitless. The idea is, however simple the game, don’t be strict about the rules but instead let your children invent their own rules.
- Get Them Outside: It doesn’t matter whether you live in the town of the countryside: getting your children to go out for walks will stimulate all their senses and they will come back filled with new ideas for their creative projects. Talk to your children whilst you’re walking around, point things out to them and ask them what they think of the things they can see. Encourage them to collect things to take home and draw. Think about what faraway places might be like and how they would differ from where you are now.
- Talk To Them: As touched upon above, talking to your children is another important way to draw out their creative powers. Ask them for their opinions on works of art, stories and so on, and ask them how they might have done things differently. This will encourage their critical thinking which is an important skill for later in life.
- Be Creative Yourself: In addition to encouraging your child’s interests, it’s also important that you leave time for yourself to be creative too. Children tend to learn from example, so if they are surrounded by people who clearly enjoy being creative themselves they are far more likely to take an active interest.
- Don’t Over-Manage: But crucially, you should never be tempting to project-manage your children when it comes to creativity. By all means encourage them or help get them started, but never tell them they are doing something ‘wrong’ or how they could do it better. And give them some breathing space too as it’s well-known now that kids learn just as much from playing on their own as they do from playing with other people.