It’s hard to determine which parenting tips are actually effective for children. Naturally, you want to make the most of your kids’ formative years, but you also don’t want them to feel like you’re controlling them too much. As they get older, you slowly discover their strengths and weaknesses. You then try to seek ways to cultivate these traits. One of the best ways to help your kids is by sparking their creativity. This goes beyond the typical art classes and violin lessons, too. There are plenty of ways to unleash your children’s creative sides—even in ways you wouldn’t expect.
Arts and Crafts
Intuitively, arts and crafts are the first things you think of when you want to develop your children’s creativity. You’ve probably already tried drawing, painting, folding origami, and cutting out pinwheels with your kids. However, you can bring this up a notch by providing them with materials beyond paper, pencils, and paints. Let them try making art using sand, foil sheets, glitter, stamps, and clay, for starters. Mixed media encourages kids to create visual representations of how they perceive the world around them.
You don’t always need to keep your kids away from the kitchen when you’re preparing everyone’s meals. Use kid-friendly cooking equipment so that they can take part in the whole process. Give your children simple tasks, such as mixing the batter, peeling some garlic, and setting the kitchen timer.
Seeing how you prepare food encourages them to mimic what you’re doing. They can even become more confident in making new shapes when you make cookies, add more ingredients to discover which flavors they like, and recommend food combinations you’ve never even thought of. Cooking keeps your kids’ brains active from all the excitement of doing something fun with their hands and eating their creations after the activity.
Storytelling works both ways. You can add bedtime stories to your kids’ routine, which can inspire them to tell you their own stories later on. Despite your busy schedule, try as much as possible to carve out a few minutes of reading a few paragraphs or a chapter to your kids before you tuck them in.
Through this activity, kids can develop their ability to concoct their own stories from the tales they hear from you and the things they observe around them. For instance, they’ll start creating stories and scenarios with their toys as characters. This skill also helps them in role-playing. Verbalizing these imagined situations allows them to connect and understand more complex concepts such as cause and effect and sequence of events. Being great storytellers can hone their skills in engaging in more interactive conversations with others. This can also help them become better writers later on.
Sports and Games
Although sports and games are not the first activities you think of when coming up with ways to boost your children’s creativity, these pastimes can reinforce their critical thinking skills. These aren’t limited to minor leagues, soccer games, and lacrosse matches, either. Team sports can definitely boost your kids’ problem-solving and interpersonal skills. However, children also benefit significantly from non-competitive sports and other games.
Several street games based on formal sports emerged from the minds of kids who had to be creative given the limited space they had on their block. For instance, kids in urban neighborhoods developed stickball, a rudimentary version of baseball in which players use a stick and any bouncing ball. Another example is Horse, where participants shoot hoops to complete the letters H-O-R-S-E to win the game. It does away with the rules of basketball but retains some elements of the sport.
Giving your children the time to have play dates with their friends or spend an afternoon without gadgets can further spark their imagination. You can start this off by introducing new games to them and explaining the rules. Then, ask them if they would like to change anything about the game. As you play, they might come up with suggestions on how to make the game more fun or fairer for everyone. Later on, you just might see them formulating a completely unique game with their siblings or friends.
Fostering Your Kids’ Creativity
Your kids need to know that they have your support. This way, they become more comfortable finding their own identity. From the most common ways to spark creativity to other less obvious methods, you can continue to find ways to cultivate your children’s skills and talents that slowly emerge from the activities they do. Giving them support and allowing them to explore also instills a sense of independence in them in the long run.