In the much the same way that you can build up your child's math skills by praciticing math problems, creativity can be nurtured and developed in any child with the right guidance.
But first, why is this important? Well, creative thinkers are problem solvers and creativity is the key that unlocks the door to success in many different areas of life. Creative-thinking is therefore an asset in all top-management and leadership positions.
So now that we know it's really useful, here are a few things we can do to build creativity at home.
1) Encourage imaginative play... get them off the gadgets and away from the television for a bit and suggest make-believe ideas for games. Play shopkeeper or imagine what it would be like to live in outer-space! Give them a jumping off point and let them build a game around it.
2) Resist the urge to buy them everything they want. If they want something... challenge them to try to make a version of their own. Older children could do very well at this.
3) Give them space to create... See my post on How to Make Room for Art at Home.
4) Never ever discourage them from trying something new. Don't try to put your own spin on their art work or change what they have done. One negative comment can put a child off art or experimenting for good, so be careful not to judge their work like you are an art critic at the Louvre. Ask questions instead so they get comfortable talking about their art and their work.
5) Expose them to different extra-curricular activities. Music, art, dance and drama... these are all activities that build on creativity and children can eventually lean towards one or the other. Expose them to as much as you can early on and see what sticks!
Do you have any ideas? What do you do to encourage your child's creativity?
"I Can't Draw!"
For some children the automatic response is "I can't do that" when they've bearly even given it a good try. You have to wonder if they have somehow picked up that feigned inability leads down a path to excessive praise! lol...
Anyway, when my daughter says to me "Mummy, I can't draw that!" my first response is to ask her to give it three tries and then I can give her a little help to get started. She's almost 5 now so I think this approach is age-appropriate... she learns that she's not allowed to just accept defeat without putting in some effort, but she also knows that help is there if she really needs it.
At a young age children want to represent what they see in a 'realistic' way and I say this loosely, but they are also not as hard on themselves. 5 and 6 year olds can draw some really funky looking things and put a story to the picture that will blow your mind!
As they get older they begin to want to match their drawing to what they see elsewhere and this is when it is good to expose children to different ways of drawing and types of art. Not everyone can draw a tiger that looks like it can jump off the page, but who needs that?!? Art is about expression afterall. When children see that some artists are famous for making abstract marks on a paper or bringing shapes together in different ways they begin to loosen up and be less harsh on themselves.
How do you respond when your child says they can't do something?
Art is Fun... damental!
This list is by no means exhaustive and is not in order of importance. Please feel free to add more ways that you can think of in the comments! Let see how many reasons we can come up with!
1) Art develops fine motor skills in young children.
2) Art encourages creativity which is linked to critical thinking.
3) Art is a visual language which is increasingly important in the 21st century.
4) Art is fun and fun is essential to childhood... or to life for that matter!
5) Art helps children to express themselves.
6) Art develops observational skills and helps children to slow down and really take notice.
7) Art promotes self-esteem and confidence.
8) Art develops hand-eye coordination.
9) Art broadens a child's scope and introduces new concepts and cultures in a way that is fun.
10) Art and making art can be a way for children to learn to work with others.
DIY Art Supplies
Art supplies can get a bit expensive, especially if your children run through them in the blink of an eye, but there are a few materials you can actually make at home using ingredients you probably already have.
So here are a few little nuggets for those of you interested in mixing up a batch of paint or glue in your spare time! Now, I will confess I have not tried all of these recipies, I'll let you know which ones I did and update as I go along.
This is a fairly easy recipe. I tried this and although you do get nice vivid colours when the paint dries it leaves a very chalky substance (the dried cornstarch) on the paper surface. But hey, at a young age making art is about the process, not so much the longevity of the piece or even the final product itself!
Image Credit: Happy Hooligans
You can make gorgeous prints or homemade stamps by recycling your meat or vegetable trays. You know... those foam trays you toss when you take out your cucumbers etc. I use them for so many different things! But older children can be trusted to scrape simple patterns into them to make lovely prints. You have to cut them down to size first and then use a pencil to draw out the desired pattern. Then just brush some paint onto the pattern and press onto paper or maybe brown cotton to make a batik!
Recycled Crayon Bits
This one I simply have to try! If you have tons of teeny tiny crayon pieces that your children refuse to use, sort them according to colour families (they don't have to be exact). Then put them into tiny muffin tins, shaped ones if you have them, and bake them in the oven. Guess what? You get brand new crayons that are bound to be the star of the show!
See here for directions.
Image Credit: Our Best Bites
Easter Art Games
We all associate Easter with Easter Egg Hunts but there are a lot of other fun and creative games you can get your children into over the holidays that will get them into Easter mode.
Easter Colouring Pages and Connect-the-Dots
Here are a few I came across on the internet... you can print these off and voila you have a themed activity that cost you nothing and provides a bit of entertainment.
Decorating Easter Eggs
Children love to get into decorating anything and the lovely pastel colours associated with Easter a just a joy so why not? You can use Sharpies or paint to decorate and just have fun! Take a look at the picutures below for a bit of inspiration :)
You can also do a quick search for ideas... Pinterest is a great place to start and you will see just how many cute little projects you can find to keep your children busy. From making bunny ears to decorating an Easter bonnet... the possibilites are endless!
I'd love to see some pics of what you do! Feel free to share them in the comments or post them to the Facebook page :P
Have fun creating and Happy Easter!
How to Make Room for Art at Home
If your child drags out markers and paper at every opportunity you may have a budding artist on your hands. As parents we all want to nurture the talents and interests of our children, but let's face it, art can be a bit messy! So if you find yourself yelling at them to put their things away more often than not, try creating a space for art in your home instead.
I know that sounds extravagant... but it doesn't have to be a dedicated room, (faint... what a dream!) it can be just a huge clear plastic bin for art supplies or maybe a shelf in their bedroom. Here are a few tips to get started.
1) Make it accessible. Art supplies just have to be within their reach or what's the point. You want them to be able to get things without having to ask and put them away on their own as well.
2) Stock it well. Make a trip to the art store or book store and buy some paper, markers, crayons, paints, child-safe scissors etc and watch them go crazy.
3) Have somewhere for them to set up and sit. It's ideal to have a child size table and chair but you can improvise. My children sit at my coffee table on a pair of small stools. Wherever you choose will become their go-to spot to create. You just need to set things up once and it will take off from there.
4) Somewhere to display art. PriceSmart has a nice corkboard that you can use as your child's rotating art gallery. As new art gets produced you take down the old ones and file them away!
Just for fun and inspiration take a look at how this person set up an art space for her kids.
If you have any tips on what you have done or maybe questions or comments leave them below!
Have a great day!
This section of the blog is dedicated to you. Come to find inspiration, ideas and tips for encouraging creativity. I also hope this becomes a gathering place for like-minded parents to chat and engage each other on the topics as they arise! Let's work together to help our children have great experiences!