You can teach your child a lot of things as they grow and develop. Creativity, however, is not something that can be learned. It must be nurtured and allowed to grow and develop within each child. Read on for ideas from childcare professionals and seasoned parents on encouraging creativity.
Erin Reeder is a college history professor, mom of 4 kids (all born in under 5 years), and the founder of The Incremental Mama where she helps overwhelmed moms get organized and create routines so they can enjoy their lives.
Praise and recognition
Kids are naturally incredibly creative. I realized this early on when giving my one and two-year-old strawberries. They suddenly started playing a game of "mama strawberry and baby strawberry." Kids are amazing.
Therefore, I see my job as a parent to provide an environment that lets their creative juices flow. I now have four kids (aged 4 to 8 years old), and they are all incredibly creative little people. They put on original theatrical shows for my husband and me, write stories, draw incredible pictures, and engage in pretend play on a daily basis.
Here's what I have found that has helped to create an environment that encourages and supports kids' creativity:
1. Give open-ended resources
Kids' creativity thrives with open-ended play. Instead of organized art projects, my children have constant access to art supplies to draw, craft, and create.
They also have washable face paint and dress-up clothes, which keep them all playing for hours in their make-believe worlds. We've also recently started taking two to three sheets of paper, folding them in half, and stapling the sides to make a blank book that the kids then create. It's been so fun to read their fun stories and see their amazing art.
2. Choose creative play over screens
Along with resources, kids need time to be creative. We find that skipping screen [time] (except for on the weekends) gives kids a chance to get creative.
3. Teach that it's okay to make mistakes
Some kids get really upset when they make a mistake on a drawing or a craft. Teaching them (over and over) that mistakes are part of learning and growing and that everyone makes them helps create an environment where they can take creative risks.
4. Display their creations.
Praise and recognition also go a long way to encouraging creativity. We have an art wall in our kitchen/living area that showcases the latest art from all our kids. They love seeing their art displayed, and it gives them encouragement to keep creating.
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