Creativity, open-mindedness and free-thinking. These are all great qualities and skills when it comes to problem-solving and learning. It’s only natural then, that you would want to nurture these areas in your own children. Some kids seem full of imaginative ideas and have no problem creating their own stories, games and drawings. Other children prefer more direction and rely more on rules and structure than free-thinking. This doesn’t mean that those children lack imaginative thoughts, it just means they need help to access and utilise them.
As well as reading from storybooks, tell your own stories too. This takes away any structure and helps set an example that there are no rules when it comes to imagination. Telling stories also gives you the opportunity to involve your children in the story itself. “There once was a beautiful princess who lived in a ?” Get your children to shout out different options: cave, boat, shoe etc., Show them that in their own stories the Princess doesn’t need to live in a castle or a kingdom!
Art & Crafts
Again, some children naturally gravitate towards creative games and activities. Others need that encouragement to get going. It’s perfectly okay to give children ideas and suggestions when it comes to creating, but let them take the lead for the most part. Here’s an example:
“Mummy what should I paint?”
“Why don’t you paint something you love?”
“Okay I’ll paint a cat, what colours should I use?”
“Why don’t you choose your favourite colours?”
So rather than telling your child to paint an orange cat, they have played a part in making those decisions.
Show Them How to Play Without Toys
Some of the best games can happen without actual games! It’s true that the cardboard box toys come in is often more entertaining than the toy itself. Well, it’s time to take advantage of that and turn that cardboard box into a mini-world. This is a really great exercise for the imagination. It shows your child that a simple object can become anything in their mind. The box could be a portal to a new world and once they step through it, everything is different. The box could be a time machine, a car, a magic cave. When you’ve played these games a handful of times, eventually your children will take the lead.
Collect & Discover
Adventures of any size can be extremely stimulating and therefore helpful in developing creativity. A walk in the woods collecting pine cones or interesting leaves. A walk along the beach collecting shells. When you return home, or even as you go along the walk talk abo9ut the stories behind each object. Did that shell once belong to a wizard who lived in the sand? You get the idea!
To TV or not to TV? No one wants their children glued to the TV all of the time. A little bit of TV can help with imagination, but, of course, too much can have the opposite effect. Don’t worry if you have a child with a sibling who seems leaps and bounds ahead creatively. Every child has their strengths and weaknesses. An older sibling can also really help develop a younger child’s free-thinking ability in a similar way to a parent.