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Young children are curious beings and when they tap into this attribute, magic happens. Their thirst to learn and explore helps to unleash their imagination and creativity that offers a range of emotional and intellectual benefits. Creative experiences help children express and cope better with their feelings. Moreover, it fosters mental growth in children by providing them with opportunities to try out new ideas, new ways of thinking and problem-solving.
Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate the uniqueness of your child. They also offer excellent opportunities to individualize your parenting and focus on each of your children.
Have your child in a safe, clutter-free area with a few toys and tools that are easily accessible and let them explore and move around. Do not place them in a high chair and ask them to do a task. Children learn a lot naturally, so allowing this can be lots of fun! Offer plenty of space and opportunity for exploration.
Create areas of your home where it’s allowed to “mess things up”. Don’t just foster a creative atmosphere by having an area for them to freely paint, colour, build and create, but let them do it as much as possible, whenever possible. This mess is good, let them create that mess. To them, it is their way of playing and creating, even if it means having to clean up after. So, make sure you give them access to freely create throughout the day, even if it means there will be blocks all over the living room.
Messy play, using paints to create their own art is all about using creative tools than what they actually end up painting. Using car wheels to create a painting is more fun and enhances their creativity than using a brush to try. A brown blob with green on it is their way of making a tree – see it as they do.
Don’t set up a whole sensory table full of things that you want them to explore for a theme. Instead, put them in the box that they think would go with the theme even if it doesn’t fit. Let them explore and try to not tell them how to play or how to put things together; let them have at it. Let them discover solutions for themselves and once they ask for input, give them a little but continue to encourage them to do their own problem-solving. We can also encourage divergent thought by letting them have a different opinion than our own.
We rotate the same toys every 10 days, and each time they’re used differently. Avoid noisy battery-operated toys and offer open-ended sensory toys instead. Surround your child with toys that don’t require you to follow their exact directions. Use blocks, sticks, rocks, construction paper, glue, scissors, simple cars, people, costumes or fabric for costume creations. It’s amazing what they come up with.
Your child may not try things because she’s afraid that she might not be good at it or it might not turn out “right”. Make sure that you encourage their failure by letting them know it’s okay or telling them about the time you really messed up. Remember this ‘failure‘ can actually lead to inventions!
Kids learn a lot by watching their parents. So, even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, join them in their colouring exercise or make a rocket ship from rocks. You’ll also end up making amazing memories.
Does screen time help or hinder? Probably a bit of both. It depends on how it’s being used. Technology can be a great resource for teaching children new concepts. However, not if this is preventing them from doing other activities, such as spending time with other people or exploring the nature around them. Picture books are a great way to start. Reading to them and then getting them to read is a fantastic way to nurture their imagination.
Give them opportunities to explore, an environment to delve into their creative side and they will lean in on their creative, logical side.