Five Ways I’m Encouraging Creativity in My Kids

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.

Creativity Time

These days, I feel very intrigued by ways to promote or enhance creativity, both for myself and for my little budding artist at home. I’ve found some really amazing ideas over the past several months. One of the overarching themes I keep seeing is “Do something different. Do something out of the norm. Break the rules.”

During a weekend getaway, my husband and I stumbled upon an author who has that all figured out. I’m sure this is old news to many, but if you need some guidance in this area, author Keri Smith has you covered.

For Mother’s Day, I received a copy of Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal, and it has been such a blast! I’ve been doing the various tasks with my almost six-year-old son, and we can’t wait to do more. (Typically we have to take a break to let a page dry.) While I’m mostly letting him fill in the pages, I certainly am testing my creativity to come up with the “how” we should do a page.


For example, one page said to draw a continuous line while riding on something moving. I decided we should put my son in a stroller and drive him around the yard and dirt driveway. He decided to attempt an entire drawing while in motion that way.


Another page said to draw with dirt. We decided to use a squirt gun to make some mud to draw with.


I also really enjoyed the page that was to be covered with tape. We had some awesome Star Wars duct tape that was waiting to be used!


My designer takeaway: Consider getting one of Keri Smith’s books or apps and having some fun alone or with a buddy breaking out of the norm. Keep in mind that it’s about the experience more than the end result.

*I would note that I wouldn’t do the Wreck This Journal with a child too young to understand how books should be treated. Not only would it encourage destructive behavior, but it also would lose some of the enjoyment from breaking the rules.

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