Encouraging your child’s creativity
From imaginary friends to those first pieces of treasured preschool art, creativity plays a huge part in a child’s development. Many people may think of creativity only in terms of artistic, theatrical or musical expression, but being creative is essential for science, math and other components of education. And the benefits of creativity also extend to other parts of life. In fact, studies have shown that creativity can help a child be more confident and flexible, enhance their social skills, help them better adapt to technological advances and take advantage of new opportunities.
Parents and caregivers can play a huge part in encouraging a child’s creativity at home in the following ways:
Open-ended toys: Today’s kids have a world of high tech toys to choose from — everything from video games to robot pets. However, placing a child in front of a video game doesn’t do much to spark their creativity. One way to help a child develop their imagination is to use some old-fashioned, low-tech toys in the playroom. These “open-ended” toys include traditional items like wooden blocks, play kitchens, building sets, dress-up accessories and people/animal figures. Studies show that these more simplistic toys can be used in a variety of ways and encourage play, creativity and imagination.
Creative supplies: Parents and caregivers should make sure creative supplies are easy to access for their children. Whether it’s a play chest full of art supplies or a special box of dress up clothes, make sure a child can be creative whenever he or she wants with the play tools they need to stimulate creativity. Also, be sure to pay attention to a child’s particular interests to make sure they have the right supplies on hand (paint, books, etc.) to pursue their chosen creative project.
Creative spaces: Having a designated space to be creative is important for a child. Whether it’s a designated playroom or even a small space in another part of the home, a child should feel that a creative space is their own little part of the world in which imagination can be explored independently. Also, be sure to allow certain times of the day in these spaces for uninterrupted creative play.
Exposure to the arts: Kids learn by example, and there’s no better teacher than the masters of creativity whose works fill local museums, galleries, libraries and theaters. Taking a child to these places helps expose them to cultural works of art and gives them a foundation for an appreciation for master works as well as their own creative work.
Creative brainstorming: As we said above, creativity is more than just artistic expression. Creativity is a necessary component of everything from science projects to computer coding. By encouraging a child to share their creative ideas at an early age, they will build confidence and skills that will help them creatively collaborate in all areas of life. Also encourage a child to write down their ideas in these creative sessions.
Join the fun: Kids learn by watching others, and when a parent or caregiver embraces their own creativity, it helps a child see the value in expressing themselves. Adults can also join in the fun and help a child when they are using building blocks or painting. This type of creative collaboration provides a bonding experience and fun memories for everyone.
Don’t judge: All children will need to learn how to deal with criticism. However, kid’s creations should not be the time to pass judgement. Instead of being a critic, a parent or caregiver should acknowledge the hard work a child has put into their creative project and find something positive to say. This kind of encouragement will help create a safe environment for a child to explore all aspects of their creativity.
For more information on nurturing a child’s creativity, visit: https://www.creativitypost.com/index.php?p=education/want_to_foster_creativity_in_children_science_says_nurture_curiosity.
You can also find more information at https://www.pbs.org/wholechild/providers/play.html.
Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development, search for ABC Quality approved child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC Quality Team on September 3, 2019