How to Encourage Creativity

December 18, 2012 at 16:24 | Posted in Educational, Family Time, General, Kid's Arts & Crafts | Leave a comment
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Drawing with ALEX Toys Metallic Crayons

Encouraging creativity is a core feature in my parenting strategy. Creativity has more benefits than I can count, but here are few:

  • Encourages self-expression – drawing and engaging in other creative pursuits gives kids a voice. I have learned a lot from and about my children by listening in as they create.
  • Builds fine motor skills – many creative pastimes help children develop the fine motor movements that are important for scholastic success.
  • Helps children discover passions – Pretend play and creative expression help children discover what truly interests them.
  • A great way to de-stress – I often set out a creative activity for my kids to do after school, as I find it soothes tired nerves and makes it easy to ease back into home life. This also motivates my first grader to get her homework finished (so we can get started on the activity), and it’s a wonderful bonding time for me and my kids.

Now that we’ve covered a few benefits, here are things I do to encourage creativity.

  • Choose a few basic supplies that you always keep out – Identify creative items that won’t add to your stress level. In our house, keeping crayons, tape, paper, and scissors readily accessible works well, but if you have a child who eats crayons or draws on the wall you may need to find an alternative (I have had great success getting crayon off walls using a plain rubber eraser). Dress-up clothes, play dough, and blocks are all excellent alternatives.
  • Bring out special craft items from time to time – My kids drew picture after picture when I brought out our new ALEX Toys Creamy Metallic Crayons. I especially love to keep “luxury” craft supplies like these for times when I know the weather will be bad and high-stress situations.
  • Sit and listen while they create – My kids love for me to sit at the table and just listen while they create. Sometimes they tell me about school or things that are bothering them, sometimes they describe what they are drawing, and sometimes they have me draw with them.
  • Be creative yourself – You don’t have to do the same thing your child is doing, but I think it is great for them to see parents modeling creativity. I find that doing something creative is a great way to relax – while challenging my mind.

Here’s a quick video of a creative afternoon with my kids – you’ll see a few examples of what I’ve been talking about!

What do you do to encourage creativity in your home? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!

Thanks to MaryAnne from Mama Smiles for today’s post. MaryAnne lives near Boston, Massachusetts with her husband Mike and their four children. Before having children she spent most of her time teaching and learning; she has degrees in Music, Education, and Medicine and has taught everything from piano lessons and French to research methodology and ethics courses. She is now a stay-at-home mother, and enjoys the learning, creativity, and play that happens naturally in a young child’s everyday life, which she shares on her blog, Mama Smiles. Follow Mama Smiles on Twitter and Pinterest for creative inspiration!

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