Thursday, January 19, 2017

How To Inspire Your Kids To Be Creative

Are we born creative? I think we are. I think children have a natural knack for creativity. Isn't it funny then, that when we grow up and become adults, we often turn to children for our own inspiration to be creative? I also think that sometimes children look to adults for some reassurance when exploring their creativity. 

What a great opportunity to teach and show your child how much fun it is to explore their imaginations and be creative. After all, it's not just nature that determines creativity, but nurture too. Think of it as being born with a spark that if nurtured, turns into a flame.

Why encourage your child to be creative? 
We know that creativity can be healing. It can be a soft place to fall when needed. And on a side-note, when I talk about creativity - from the standpoint of this blog in general - I'm usually referring to creativity in the arts, but creativity can be manifested across any discipline whether it be science, engineering, math, cooking, etc. For the sake of this article I'm not talking about creativity as pertaining to any specific discipline, but simply as the ability and the drive to think outside the box, use our imagination, and experiment with being innovative.

Here are just a few ways that you can help your child's creativity blossom.

1. Provide your child with art supplies and give them time to use them. They don't have to be expensive or fancy, or come from any special art store. Crayons, colored pencils, inexpensive watercolor paints and paint brushes, and some drawing pads are all great examples. As well as the supplies, make sure your child has some relaxing time set aside to explore these supplies. 

2. Offer encouragement and praise. Sometimes these two things can be just the thing that your child needs to boost his or her confidence level so that they are comfortable enough to show the world their talents.

3. Set an example. Show your child that it's fun to explore the world around them. If they see you doing something, they will most often want to join in. Remember, children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate! You don't have to be especially talented in any one area - it's your enthusiasm towards doing something interesting or new that you want them to witness.

4. Read to your child. Reading opens the imagination. Explore a wide variety of different types of books, making sure to try out new things and not always stick to the same theme.             

5. Spend time in nature. There's nothing more inspiring than the beauty of nature. 

6. Ease up. It's hard to create when you're under pressure. Give your kids space to be creative, and give them the freedom to create things the way they want to. Give your kids the freedom they need to be creative!

7. Offer your child age-appropriate colorful picture books by talented illustrators. Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals and Richard Scary's What Do People Do All Day are two of my very favorites. Both were a huge inspiration to me when I was little. Most libraries have these books. 

8. Take your kids to age-appropriate museums. Most museums have free or discount days, and many also have activities for kids. While museums may be a bit too much for small children (lots of walking, no touching, quiet environment) they're perfect for older kids.

There are so many ways that you can inspire your kids to be creative. Expose them to different types of art, books, music, try different types of food, explore different cultures, and watch their imaginations bloom. 

Give your children the freedom to explore and create on their own. Most importantly, encourage them without being pushy, and praise them without being overly critical. Best of luck in your creative adventures!

How do you help inspire your kids to be creative? In what ways do your kids inspire you to be creative?  Please leave a comment below!