As a devoted parent, you only want what’s best for your children: you want them to be happy, healthy, kind and generous. You know how creative kids are: give them some space and the right things and you will have them drawing, cutting, or singing in the house for hours. They seem to have an innate need to create, but it looks like this need gets weaker as they age.
If you would like to have your kids keep their creativity as they grow older, and become adults capable of creative thinking, here’s what you can do.
4 ways to boost your kids’ creative thinking
Leave them alone
This may seem counterproductive, but it is proven that a child who is constantly entertained by others grows to become an adult with very little creativity. To start that creative spark, allow them to be alone from time to time – it will make them seek out entertainment for themselves. It may be as simple as picking up a book and retiring to their room to read, or they can go to the garden and make mud cakes; anything that keeps them occupied by themselves is good. This way, their imagination is working full speed – they are becoming chefs and making chocolate cakes, or they are walking side by side with protagonists of the story they are reading.
Give them the right tools
Before you leave them, make sure they have something to play with. Their room should be full of simple items such as drawing supplies, whiteboard with colourful whiteboard markers, random craft supplies, books and blocks which they could use as they wish. You can also allow them to play in the attic or basement of your home where you keep all the old clothes and shoes you don’t need. This way, they can play dress-up and imagine they are pirates and princesses, or archaeologists discovering treasures.
Encourage them to get dirty
Those mud cakes we already mentioned, they are not here to annoy you and give you a ton of laundry. By playing in mud, helping you in the kitchen and getting their shirt dirty, painting with their fingers, and spilling glitter all over them – your children are learning and developing. And it’s not just their fine motor skills that are developing, so is their imagination. The bright side of this is that you can come up with a new rule: after they finish playing, they must help you clean up and then jump into the shower or wash their hands thoroughly.
Read to them
Stephen King once said that books are “a uniquely portable magic”, and they truly are. Start telling different stories to your children as soon as they are old enough to understand you, and keep up the practice by reading to them every day. You can read to them before bed or in the afternoon instead of letting them watch TV for a couple of hours. When telling them stories, make sure they are silly and full of impossible things: people flying, animals turning into furniture, stars falling from the sky only to become boys and girls … they will love it.
The most important thing is not to force your children to do anything – when you make them do something, they will start disliking it; they will link it to the unpleasant feeling of being pushed to act. It doesn’t matter if it’s little league, ballet, painting or singing – don’t make your children to do it if you can clearly see that they don’t want to. You are there to support them, not force them into something they dislike doing.