One of the best ways to help the development of a young mind is to encourage creative thought. It is important to realize that creativity is more than just arts and crafts – it is a process of thought. Helping your children to express themselves through different mediums helps develop different aspects of thinking. The decisions your child makes when he or she writes a poem, paints a picture, or makes up a game all contribute to advancing a new level of thinking.
So, how can you help your child reach his or her creative potential? We have a few points to keep in mind for setting up the perfect encouraging environment. First of all, you have to encourage your children to come up with more than one solution to the problems they face. Teach them that there is not always one correct answer to every problem; and sometimes you need to think about a problem in multiple ways. This idea can be as simple as telling your child that they can paint on a piece of paper held vertically or horizontally – there is not one way that they are restricted to paint. This basic message will make your child more likely to experiment in self expression.
Another thing to keep in mind when helping your child develop creative thought is to teach them how to make a choice and be comfortable. Don’t make all the decisions for your child; rather give your child a choice of what activities he or she wants to do. If they select an activity, they are more likely to show excitement, interest, and thus express themselves better. If your child seems disinterested help stimulate them by asking specific questions. Pick up a toy or household object and inquire, “What can we use this for? Can you think of anything else we might be able to do with this object?” Asking questions can help prompt your child’s creativity. Another activity you and your child can work together on is brainstorming. Brainstorming ideas is when you make a written or verbal list of ideas. All ideas are welcomed and no one is allowed to criticize any ideas. During brainstorming your child won’t have to feel pressured and won’t feel afraid of being judged for an unusual idea.
The most important part of inspiring creativity is offering your children many diverse opportunities to express themselves. Find your child’s interests and appeal to what they like. For example, if your child loves a certain cartoon character ask them to complete multiple activities about the character. Make a mini book, paint a picture, write or draw on the computer – be creative in your medium and your child will be creative in his or her expression. Me by Me is a great way to give your child a specific activity that has endless possibilities for self expression and personal decision making.
Even if your child does not seem interested in arts and crafts kits there are still toys out there to encourage creative expression. Any type of pretend play toy pushes your child to create their own games and their own plots for play time. The Toy Cash Register is essentially a math and number focused toy. However, your child must still employ creativity and imagination when playing “cash register” or “grocery store” with their friends. Infants and younger children may not be ready for arts and crafts yet either. However baby activity toys still encourage creativity. There is no one specific way to play with these toys. It is up to your baby’s creative imagination and problem solving to figure out a way to play with an object you hand them.
In addition to offering an endless supply of diverse creative toys, it’s also important to bring creative play to all situations. Encourage creativity during play time, during an outdoor walk, or even during bath time! Toys like Rub a Dub Artist in the Tub allow children to develop creative thought even while taking a bath and playing with bath toys! Constant stimulation through unique activities provides the most creativity-inspiring situations.
All children have creative potential. Not every child may display it in the same way, but all have their own unique and higher level thought processes. As a parent, you can help your child reach his or her greatest potential through encouragement, offering creative opportunities, and creating an open and comfortable environment.