Do you ever sit and watch your child while she’s playing and wonder to yourself, "What is she thinking?" To promote your child’s development, ask her. Ask about her doll when she’s playing "babies.” Invite her to tell you a little bit about the creation she’s building with blocks. Encourage her in creative play.
Allowing your child to use his imagination and be creative offers him an opportunity to express himself. Share his individuality. Giving your child a way to broaden creativity and imagination benefits all areas of growth and development. These experiences help provide a basis for how a child may handle different circumstances later in life.
Six Ways to Support and Encourage Your Child’s Creativity:
Tall Tales: Listen to your child’s stories. Stories of all kinds. Tales of adventure and fun. If your child is willing to tell you a story, ask questions to encourage him to continue the tale. If your child is not quite old enough to tell his own story, maybe he could add bits and pieces to yours. While you know your child didn’t really eat lunch with a 6-eyed, purple monster, you might enjoy hearing about what might happen if he did.
Give Your Child Props: Common everyday items can offer your child hours of entertainment. You and your child can go on a scavenger hunt around the house to see what you can find (you may want to find just the right storage container for these priceless items). Ask what your child sees as she looks through the binoculars made of toilet paper rolls. Remember how much fun you used to have in your cardboard box race car. Your child might even let you play the paper plate tambourine in the kitchen utensil marching band!
Dress to Impress: In addition to having just the right props, a child needs to look the part. You don’t have to pay a fortune for a dress-up trunk—just make your own. Find old hats, shoes, clothes and costume jewelry, and let the fun begin. You might even be able to hit up grandma and grandpa for some gently used items they may have lying around the house.
Be Art Smart: Keep crayons, markers, paints, construction paper and other arts and craft materials accessible to your child. You never know when your child will decide he is ready to create a masterpiece. When the impulse strikes, you want to make sure you have what you need to make your kitchen an art gallery.
Don’t Stress About the Mess: Messes may happen with creative play and that’s okay. Setting safe guidelines is a must, but allowing for a little bit of flexibility occasionally is motivation for endless potential.
Walk This Way: Don’t be afraid to share your creativity with your child. Ask if you can be a secret agent and help solve the mystery of the missing teddy bear. Think of something you used to play as a child and invite your child on the adventure. Sharing imaginative adventures with your child may be just the break from the adult world you are looking for!
For more information and resources on creativity, check out the following websites:
- How to Raise an Imaginative Child
- Encouraging Creativity in Children
- How to Nurture Your Child’s Imagination
- Creativity and Play
- Family TLC