Using our imagination to express our originality is an important skill that, when nurtured during childhood, can last a lifetime. From drawing and painting to playing an instrument or dancing, there are many ways that children can be creative while having fun. Here are 4 tips to set you and your child up for success as they explore creative pursuits.
Get Them Involved
If you notice that your child is interested in a creative activity like art or making music, help them take action. Schools, afterschool programs, museums and performance organizations often have low-cost classes and will rent materials so your child can try a new activity for less money.
You can also involve children by exposing them to different types of art, music and performance available in your community. Many museums have free or reduced-price entry days and in the warmer months, outdoor concerts, plays and dance can be a great way for your child to have a new experience.
Try to keep new activities at a low commitment level (a 6-week dance class rather than a full year of classes) and allow them to try several different forms of creative expression as they figure out what interests them most.
Provide a Rich Environment
Giving your child free time and the space to be creative goes a long way but having a variety of materials on hand can encourage children to be more creative in their day-to-day play. Old clothes and household items can encourage dramatic play, and keeping items such as scissors, glue, scraps of paper or fabric, magazines, boxes and paper towel tubes can encourage art activities.
The outdoors can also be a wonderful place to encourage creativity as there are many things to notice: patterns on trees, color shading on flowers, how different animals move, and the different tunes we hear birds singing, just to name a few.
When your child participates in events, help out whenever possible and be a part of the audience at recitals, plays and other performances. Every day you can show your children that you are interested by talking to them about their creative activities. Ask them to tell you about their drawing or teach you a new dance move. If they practice regularly, watch them from time to time and make positive comments about their efforts.
Watch Them Learn
Finally, one of the most important things we can do as adults to help children be creative is to step back. When your child is engaging in a creative activity, resist the urge to correct them or show them your way of doing it unless they specifically ask for help. Give them space to figure things out on their own and allow the teacher to make corrections as needed during their time with your child.
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