Creativity is one of those things I think I must have been home sick when they taught in school.
I mean… maybe it’s a simple case of pinterest envy… but the inventive and perfectly photographed homes, foods and parties I see there put me to serious shame.
I want more for my son! (Drama. Where the creative kids hang. Maybe I’m getting it?). But really, my handsome husband is a musician, graphic wizard, and creative nut. So Sonship has a fighting chance. But what if, just what if, all of his creative alleles were turned off as he gestated due to a lack of sugar and Doritos in my pregnancy diet? I would feel terrible, and everyone would know the blame was squarely on me. So today, let’s talk creativity. More for me than for you.
For starters, creativity is so important because it:
Develops critical thinking and abstract thinking skills
Increases kids’ vocab and verbal skills
Enhances social skills
Promotes problem solving
It’s a tough idea to define, but creativity involves:
o Breaking old ideas apart
o Developing new connections
o Expanding the limits of knowledge (by breaking assumptions)
o Arriving at innovative, exciting ideas
So, here is a list of ideas that might be helpful in encouraging creativity in your children. As always, I’m going to try to make them as integrate-able into your already busy life as possible.
Coloring – while you’re busy working on dinner, whip out some paper and crayons and let them have at it. Free hands for you, fun for them! We’re currently working through a coloring book called “The 21 Rules of our Home” by the Harris family (found here) that is teaching him about how to behave in our family, and letting his inner DaVinci flourish!
– Sidewalk Chalk is another option while you’re weeding/mowing/gardening/chatting with the neighbors/reading a book in the shade while your husband fans you and feeds you grapes…
Music – we have music playing a lot of the time when we’re home (especially on weekends), and very often in the car as well. This could be dead time, or worse with a cranky toddler held captive by a car seat. What we try to do now while we travel is help him clap on time, drum along with a water bottle or sing part of songs with us (the prepubescent male voice is a precious thing).
o Dance parties – while we wait for something to heat up in the toaster oven. #ohthosemoves
o Turn everything into an instrument – pots, boxes, books, bottles, spoons, balls, egg cartons
o Stream concerts on TV – let them see how bands play together, oh and take them to free concerts around the city
Dress up – Instead of donating all of your once-fashionable-finds, why not hang on to a few of the most outrageous pieces and let the littles put on a show for you. Or make up stories. Or embarrass you in front of the entire extended family who didn’t realize you were into pink leather pants and camelhair vests. Together.
Encourage them to solve problems – try not to get all “Generation X” and helicopter-y on them. Don’t swoop in and solve problems for your little sweeties at the first sign of struggle. Let them keep trying and see how creative they get when left to their own devices.
Read imaginative books – And ask questions that make them use their imagination as you read everything “what if this had happened instead…?”
Play make believe games – Climb into their fort with them and help defend everyone from the impending gorilla invasion, tell them how delicious their Kleenex soufflé is…
Give them random non-toy items to play with – and find uses for. An empty egg carton as a mini set of drums? An old purse as a crib for their stuffed animals? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Limit Screen Time – The opposite of creativity is probably what most things on TV are going to encourage. Sit. Stare. Switch of brain. Repeat. Kids learn and grow through PLAY! And MESSES! Foster those and the rest should take care of itself.