As parents we are our children’s first teachers and we want to provide them with all the tools they need in order to lead a successful life. One of the main ingredients of success is having the ability to think outside of the box. Encouraging and fostering a child’s creativity while he is young can lead to improved critical thinking, more confidence, and the ability to adapt easier to the many different situations that he is going to encounter throughout his life. In the age of technology where schools are putting more focus on data and test scores than art and music, it shouldn’t be a surprise that kids aren’t being as creative as they once were. But all is not lost, there are ways that parents can encourage and foster their children’s creative side at home.
1. Set aside free play art time. Many parents plan specific craft projects to do with their kids to help encourage creativity, which is great (don’t stop doing that!), but children also should be encouraged to come up with creations on their own. Set aside some time at least once a week for free play art time. Let your child know that this time is for making art (painting, making crafts, building with Legos, etc.) and that he can use it to make whatever he wants to. Ask him questions about his project as he is working on it and show him how excited you are by what he is making. This unstructured art time allows children to tap into their inner innovation.
2. Pay attention to your child’s interests. Have you noticed that your son has an interest in cars? Maybe he gets excited when he sees a car he has never seen before, or his favorite game is playing with his Hot Wheels in his room. Use this knowledge to your advantage by asking him to draw you a picture of his ideal car, or by purchasing materials for him to build his own model car. Even a child who has turned his nose up at most attempts to get him involved in art or crafts will become excited and eager when they center around a subject that he is passionate about. Encourage your child to pursue their passion by having materials and activities based on it easily accessible to them.
3. Get creative yourself. Art and craft time doesn’t have to be just for the kids, you can get in on the fun too! When you see your child playing with Legos or working on a drawing, get in on the action by joining her. You can either work together on her project or you can pursue your own project while she works on hers. Children learn by watching their parents, so one of the best ways to foster creativity in your child is by being proactive with your own creativity. As an added benefit, working on family projects together encourages family bonding and communication.
Provide a space for art stocked with supplies, plan designated times for art play, encourage your child to pursue their passion, and be proactive with your own creativity and your kids will have their creative juices flowing no time.
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