Child smiles showing his hands covered in paint

How to Nurture Creativity in Children at Home

Children and creativity go hand in hand. Not only are children natural innovators with powerful imaginations, but studies show that the more imaginative they are, the more likely they are to cope with pain, gain confidence, develop social skills, and learn more efficiently.

While daycare can help kids be creative, the first place to spark the imagination of creative kids is at home with parents. So here’s how to nurture creativity in children so your creative children can grow up to be successful creative adults.

#1: Lead By Example

Since children learn from watching their parents, kids with creative parents tend to be creative too. So let your child see you being creative. Whether doing something crafty or trying something new, let your child see you tackle new ideas and projects, failing at times while enjoying the creative process.

And if your child asks you to play, join them for some quality bonding time that will nourish your child’s (and your own) creativity.

#2: Invest in Open-Ended Toys

Open-ended toys are toys that can be used in a variety of ways depending on your child’s mood and imagination. These toys include LEGO, blocks, doll houses, sand, playdough, matchbox cars, stuffed animals, magnetic tiles, and dress-up clothes.

#3: Give Them A Space for Creating and The Supplies They Need

By designating an area in your home for your child to be creative, they will feel a sense of power over their space. This control over their own space will give them the confidence to embrace their creativity and let their imagination run wild.

A creative space doesn’t have to be large or filled with elaborate toys. It could be a simple corner in the family room with their favourite creative props, such as LEGO, clothes for dress-up, colouring books, or an easel.

When it comes to indoor activities for kids, kids don’t need much to fuel their imaginations. Simple toys, games, and art supplies will allow your child to be more creative. Instead of following directions or feeling overwhelmed by a complicated game, your child should feel free to do what they please with their creative supplies and space.

For arts and crafts supplies, think old boxes, scrap paper, empty paper towel rolls, and empty containers that would end up in the recycling bin. And don’t forget tape, glue, scissors, markers, and pencil crayons.

#4: Allow Free Time and Freedom to Get Creative

Unstructured indoor play is important for nurturing a child’s creativity. So make sure your child can spend a few hours at home without any planned activities. They can putter around, read, play, draw, or even help you cook if that’s what they want to do. And if it’s nice outside, they can play outdoors.

#5: Exposing Children to Various Creative Outlets

Creativity isn’t just for the arts. Kids can be creative in many ways. Here are just a few ways to expose your child to creative thinking:

  • Read lots of books;
  • Writing;
  • Draw and paint;
  • Listen to music and create music;
  • Have dance parties;
  • Build structures out of craft materials to spark an interest in architectural design;
  • Get outside and explore nature;
  • Teach your child to take photographs and videos, whether on a phone or a tablet;
  • Watch age-appropriate movies, especially those that embrace thinking outside the box (e.g., the magical Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).

#6: Spark Their Critical and Creative Thinking

Whenever your child asks you to help them solve a problem, start by asking them what they think. And show interest in their ideas, especially when they are unexpected and out of the box. This will help them learn to think critically and creatively and become better problem-solvers.

You can also ask them to help you solve family problems, like the mess in the living room. By asking your child how they would solve a problem, you can let them contribute to the family and feel important while sparking their problem-solving skills.

#7: Try Not to Manage Them, But Help Them Activate Their Senses

Children will be creative when allowed to play on their own without being told what to do. So avoid over-parenting or managing them too much. Let them do their own thing without you hovering over them. And don’t enroll them in too many activities that will take over their free time.

When it comes to extracurricular activities, ask them what they are interested in and let them follow their passion.

Read More: Supporting and Nurturing Your Child’s Passion

Even babies get creative, learn, and problem-solve by trying things on their own. So while it’s okay to keep a watchful eye on your child, you can be hands-off at times. And if your child invites you to play with them, let them take the lead and guide you.

Instead, you can help your child activate their senses by guiding but not directing them. Bring them out into the world. Take them outdoors, to parks, museums, and libraries.

You can also help activate their senses by asking them to imagine a place, such as a faraway place they want to travel to. Ask them what the place would look, smell, sound, and feel like. Or what the animals there would look and sound like.

#8: Ask Questions About Their Creations

Show interest in your child’s creations and ask them what they were thinking about while creating the object. These questions can encourage your child to articulate their creative process and ideas involved throughout the project.

#9: Brainstorm and Celebrate Ideas

Have family brainstorming sessions to encourage your child to share ideas and build on ideas. Creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas or put ideas together in innovative ways. So by celebrating everyone’s ideas, you can teach your child that it’s not scary to create and share ideas.

#10: Always Encourage Them Not To Give Up

Since parents are cheerleaders for their kids, not critics, always provide positive feedback to your child and don’t criticize their work or ideas.

Encourage your child’s efforts, not the results. For example, instead of focusing on the marks of a test, focus on the effort your child made to learn the test’s subject matter.

Depending on the task at hand, being creative can take some work. So encourage your child not to give up, and instead, to embrace their creative thinking.

Children are naturally creative thinkers. So give them the confidence they need to embrace and share their ideas with the world and continue making the most of their imaginations even as they grow up.