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4 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Children

By Debra Pachucki ; Updated June 13, 2017

Leaving Time

How did your child come up with that funny game, adorable costume or Picasso-like painting? What a little mind can do with some free time is amazing. Leaving time for creative play opens a world of possibilities. Unplanned time lets one thought build on another until your child has created something entirely new. Time allows her to tinker with notes on the piano. After a while, those random notes become a new song. Over-scheduling cuts into important time your child needs to let her mind relax and explore. Just like yours, you child's brain works best when it is well rested and able to think clearly. Allow your child enough time to work through a creative activity until she is finished. Then just wait and see what masterpiece she brings you.

Teaching Children to Take Risks

Creativity requires your child to do something she has never done or seen before. Sometimes, this next step happens without your help. At other times, a little encouragement is all she needs to stir her creativity. Maybe all your child needs is a gentle nudge to move from painting with basic colors to combining brilliant new paint colors. There are a few, easy steps you can take to encourage risk taking. Begin by taking interest in what she is doing. Let your child know that there are no wrong ideas. Explain to her that lots of people make things no one has ever made before. If your child starts a drawing and gets frustrated, let your child know that its OK if it doesn't work out the way she thought it would. Point out something positive about what she did create.

Create a Safe Environment

Experts say taking risks requires a safe environment. Your child needs to know that you think her ideas are great, and that no one will make fun of her ideas. If a child is worried about being teased, she will be less likely to take that step out of her comfort zone. Make sure your entire family knows mocking is not OK. Welcoming diverse ideas will make your child feel comfortable showing you her ideas. Let your child know her ideas are interesting and valuable. If you child makes up a new game, show her you think it is interesting by asking about the game. "McKayla, is this a new game? I would like to learn it. Can you teach me how to play?"

Provide Toys

Creative children see possibilities everywhere. A stick becomes a bridge for bugs to cross a miniature stream in the dirt. Chalk can turn a sidewalk into a beautiful garden. Simple wood blocks become a cubist version of a human face. Toys without specific directions stimulate creativity in your little one. The best toys for stimulating your child's creative mind are ones that can be played with in different ways. Examples of these types of toys are crayons, puppets and musical instruments. To encourage creativity, offer your child these type of toys.

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