As I’ve watched my kids develop, I’ve seen some amazing ideas flow out of their little heads. They have literally blown my mind with their creativity. It’s already in their minds. I just want to keep it going. Here are five things I’m doing to nurture it.
1. Let them pick their own clothes – I read an article years ago about encouraging young children to be creative. One of the tips that has stuck with me is to let your child pick their own clothes. This not only gives them a job and teaches them independence, it lets them explore what they like. Do I get so really “great” outfits at my house? Oh yay! We sneak photos and hide laughter. It’s an easy way to develop their sense of self.
2. Encourage them to makeup their own games – We have had a lot of fun over the years making up our own games, and it is such a great creativity exercise. We love to take existing game pieces and make up our own way of using them. We’ve made our own character cards and powers. We’ve made our own game boards for existing pieces. We’ve just changed the rules to existing games.
3. Keep craft materials available to them – Awhile ago, I realized that when my kids were having a great time being creative, my dining room table was covered in supplies. This drives me nuts after a bit. So, I purchased a three drawer table, and filled it with supplies: paper, markers, crayons, glue scissors, googly eyes, tape, pipe cleaners and more. It lives in the dining room where they like to work and is easy to access. They don’t have to bug me for supplies when they get an idea. And when they are done, there is a home for stuff.
4. Turn off the devices and let them to be bored – I’ve done this a few times recently, and I can’t even tell you how creative they become when they don’t know what to do. My kids have built cardboard dollhouses and hand cut all the accessories. They have built critters on top of a remote controlled car so it can chase you. They’ve “ice skated” around the kitchen floor on paper plates. I didn’t help think up any of this. I just point to the supplies they request.
5. Let them see me being creative – This is the statement every parent hates to hear: model the behavior. But it really works (and it’s good for you too). They can see what you enjoy and spin it into their own thing.
I used to save all my crafting for when my kids were asleep because I didn’t want them in my supplies. I didn’t want them wasting them. I really had to change my thought process on this one. Being creative is not wasteful. They’re just exploring the medium. I share some of my stuff, but not all. Some they have to ask to use or be supervised.
My takeaway: Nurture the creativity! It’s good for us all.