While your child already has everything they need to bring creative force to their lives, you can help revitalise their creativity.
Many children have tried to avoid doing certain things like school craft projects, art days, or other activities by saying, “I’m just not the artistic type”. However, all children are naturally creative individuals who should be using their creativity on a daily basis, whether it’s exploring the garden, helping mom or dad prepare dinner, playing with building blocks, or just picking what to wear each morning.
What does creativity entail, and why do children require it?
“Much of creativity does not necessarily have to do with the arts. Activities in your child’s everyday life provide them with numerous opportunities for problem-solving, lateral thinking, and widening our thought patterns,” comments Liz Senior, occupational therapist and founder of Clamber Club.
“While creativity is a skill that should be nurtured from a very young age, it is something that we continue to develop throughout our lives,” she adds.
The advantages of creativity include:
- Enhancing the ability to visualise
- Providing problem-solving and decision-making opportunities
- Promoting lateral thinking
- Helping to refine gross and fine motor skills
- Assisting in the development of concentration, and
- Providing an immense feeling of satisfaction and gratification
Creativity and emotional development
Creativity is also an important aspect of your child’s emotional development. “Creativity enables your child to communicate by expressing his thoughts and feelings, whether through dancing, drawing, pretend play, or by making music,” says Senior.
What can I do to encourage my child’s creativity?
“All art and other creative experiences are first perceived through the senses. Provide a rich sensory environment for your child that allows them to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste,” says Senior.
“Expose your child to different art forms, listen to a wide variety of music, and talk about the beauty of the world around you.” “You should also encourage your child to think up games and story ideas for themselves, and come up with their own solutions to problems,” she adds.
Before starting a creative activity with your child, Senior suggests that you ask yourself a number of questions: Will the activity develop the imagination, offer a sensory experience, allow the freedom to experiment, and provide the child with a feeling of success or satisfaction?
“Children need to be given time to play in an unstructured way. They need time to reflect, imagine, and use their own initiative in play. This is what allows creativity and imagination to develop,” she concludes.
Fun and games to inspire creativity
Drawing and painting
- Scribble on paving stones with chalk
- Make a collage out of sand, lentils, raisins, and leaves
- Use finger-paint to paint on huge surfaces with big arm movements
- Make up your own goofy songs with your own words
- Make ‘shakers’ out of empty plastic water bottles
- Dance together to a range of music
Drama and storytelling
- Collect old photographs and urge your child to make up a story
- Provide a dress-up box with scraps of material for the child to imagine they’re different characters or superheroes
- Make a house out of a blanket draped over a table and let your child imagine they’re hiding in a fort