Creativity is defined as “the use of imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean that you can write a poem or paint the perfect water color picture. There are many different aspect of being creative and using your imagination is the best way to be creative. Creativity in children is what helps them learn, allows them to create new ideas and try different things.
Helping your children develop their creative sides and expand their imaginations is a great way to help them learn more and explore the world around them. While you may not think you are a creative person, there are easy ways to help your child develop a bigger imagination.
At Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center, we encourage our students to use their imagination and put their curiosity and creativity to the test daily. In a past blog, we covered ways to help keep your child curious. In this blog we will be giving you tips of how to stimulate your child’s creativity.
In a Mother For Life article, they mention a quote from Einstein, which says, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Creativity is what makes us think of impossible and new ideas and gives us the confidence to explore different options. Allowing your child to use their full imagination and encouraging them to do so will help them now and in the future. To do so, follow these tips and help your child expand their creative mind!
First of all, one of the best and easiest things you can do with your child to help them exercise their imagination is to play with them. Let them make the rules. Bring out props, dress up clothing, and anything else they may want to play with and let them tell you what the story is about, what each of your roles are, and let them make up whatever their imagination can come up with.
Play different games that involve words, sounds, acting, coloring, and whatever else your child might enjoy. Playing is a great way to allow your child to truly stretch their mind. If they use blocks to build a castle that just so happens to be on the moon, ask them what else is going on in the castle and play along. It never hurts to come up with some ideas yourself, it will show them that they can get as creative as they want. They never have to be worried about think too far outside the box, and you should encourage them to do so.
Create The Perfect Atmosphere
Creativity doesn’t need a certain atmosphere or place to take place, from the car to the kitchen table, your child could find something to stimulate their imagination. But you will also want to help them out. Allowing them to have complete freedom in one room will enable them to have a place where they feel comfortable imagining things. Allow them to play, work of crafts, and get creative in their own space. It may not even hurt to let them draw on the walls. Paint the walls with chalk paint and give them colorful chalk to decorate the walls with—if it is their own space, there is no harm in this.
Even if you do not have an extra room in the house to allow your children to let all their creative juices flow, you can easily create spaces that allow them to get as creative as possible. Place newspapers on the kitchen table and let them paint or do other crafts. Allow them to use the living room as their stage, they will have fun putting on a show of some sort for you. You can even help them build a fort that they can spend time in. They may pretend it is a cave one day and a boat the next. A fort is a fun way to keep your kiddo’s imagination running wild.
An article from the Greater Good Magazine, mentions that allowing your child to come up with ideas without evaluating them is important, as the article states generating creative ideas is more important than telling your child if they are realistic or not. Sit down with your kids and have them come up with fun and unique ideas. Ask them what they want to do and try to get them to come up with different ideas as often as possible.
Again, do not tell them something isn’t possible, for all we know one day it may be and your child might be the mastermind behind it! While that may sound a little extreme, it is true. But before we get ahead of ourselves, just remember to allow you children to stretch their imagination as far as possible. They may come up with some amazing thing you would have never thought of.
Since you are encouraging them to come up with new ideas and try new things, you should also let them actually do it. Your child will fail from time to time but that is important in the creative process. The Greater Good article mentions that children who are not used to failure or are afraid of it, will stifle their creativity, hoping to never fail. It is important to help them realize that failing is normal and happens to absolutely everyone.
Limit Screen Time
Nowadays it is difficult to get children, and just about everyone else, away from the screen. Smartphones, iPads, televisions, and different types of video games have taken over and changed the way we think, Limiting the time your child spends in front of the TV can help. If you encourage them to play, read, or spend time doing a craft project, they will be exercising their imagination more than they would be watching a TV show.
If your children are too young to read, read to them and check out our blog on teaching your children to read! Reading to your children not only can help them slowly learn how to read themselves, but it can also help them think of life differently. Of course there aren’t dragons and wizards and animals that talk running around our cities, but they don’t necessarily know that, and imagining these things could help them come up with even more creative ideas of their own. Reading is one of the greatest tools for imagination there is, use it wisely and encourage them to do the same.
Supply Unique Supplies
Giving your children the proper arts and crafts supplies every time, is no way to stimulate their imagination. Use unique and different items around the home to make art projects. You can use clothespins, cardboard, old jars, rocks you find in your yard, pinecones, and just about anything else to make a fun and unique craft.
Throughout the week collect items that could be used as an art project and let them choose what items they want and let them create whatever they want. Ask them what they are making, why, and allow them to make it on their own. Don’t help them, don’t stop them from using certain colors or other craft items, and see how it turns out. Of course help them if they ask, but don’t try to dictate their project. Let them use their imagination and make something from it!
This is similar to the encouraging ideas section above, but this is where those ideas are put to the test. Let them try new things that they may have never wanted to try or that you didn’t even think of letting them try before. Like taking picture, helping to cook, dress themselves, and whatever else they may have wanted to try.
Get them a disposable camera and teach them how to take pictures. While your kiddos may be too young to be able to take anything except an extremely blurry photo of their own hand, they will have fun doing it and absolutely love seeing their photos printed out. As they get better at photographing things, they may actually take interesting images and have a unique angle on a subject.
While this may be every mother’s nightmare, letting your child help you cook is a great way to help them stimulate more creative thinking. If a messy kitchen is where you draw the line, bake cookies and allow them to decorate them—they may all be smiley faces or they may be unique and fun designs. Either way, it is just another thing that they can use as an art project!
The list goes on and on, and there are many different ways to help your child used their imagination and stimulate creativity. Following these tips will be a good start. A creative mind is a beautiful thing and allowing your child to be as imaginative as possible will help them now and in the future. Imagination is an extremely important tool, Einstein even says so.