I love my children to use their imaginations and be creative. I love to see the new ideas they come up with and unique creations. I think letting our children be creative and allowing them as many opportunities as possible to use their imagination is one of the best things we can do for them.
As they grow, these skills will help them in many ways, such as being able to find unique solutions to their problems when challenges arrive. The great thing is kids are born creative. It’s only as we age that we can lose that and instead start to conform to others ways of thinking.
So how do we keep that creativity alive in our kids and encourage them to be creative? There are many ways to help our children maintain their creativity. Here is just a handful of ways to help accomplish this.
5 Ways to encourage children to be creative
Keep supplies available
If you want children to be creative it helps to have supplies available for them to do so. I have a cupboard full of art supplies in my home that are always available for my children to use. In this craft cupboard, I keep crayons, markers, colored paper, glue sticks, scissors, pom pons, popsicles sticks, stickers and more.
Also, I sometimes keep recyclables for them to use. My Sweet Girl is always asking if she can keep “trash” to make things. While boxes and bottles might seem like trash to us, to a child it might be a boat or rocket.
The picture above my daughter painted using cooked spaghetti noodles and paint. Think outside of the box. You can find supplies for children’s art anywhere.
Ask them to tell you about their art
When your child shows you a piece of their art ask them to tell you about it. You might be surprised what they have to say. Asking children about their art is better than just trying to guess what it is because often we guess wrong.
You don’t want to tell your child that you love their pig drawing only to find out it was a pink cow. There is a good chance if you guess wrong they are just going to agree with you and then the next time they draw a cow it will be your standard black and white. This can be avoided by simply saying, “I love your picture can you tell me about it?”
Buy notepads not color books
I had an art history teacher in college that was always trying to convince us coloring books kill creativity. While I don’t think as ill about coloring books as he did and occasionally buy them for my kids, I do think notepads are a better option.
How often do you give a child a blank piece of paper and crayons and they stare at you and say, “I don’t know what to draw.” I would guess hardly ever. Children have no problem filling up a sheet of paper and while we might have no clue what they are drawing, they do.
Coloring books take out the challenge of thinking about what they will create. They are given an outline and are simply learning how to fill in the space and stay inside the lines. Put the creativity back into their coloring and buy them a blank drawing pad instead.
Let them make a mess
When kids are creating art lots of times it’s messy. Don’t stifle their creativity by insisting that everything stays clean. Instead, set up a workspace for them that can get messy without damaging anything.
In our home, my children know if they want to do artwork they must sit up at the table. We bought a clear vinyl table cloth to protect our table. The kids also have art aprons that they wear to protect their clothing. I bought each child a small cookie sheet at the dollar store that they can put their pictures on while painting. If I think things might get really messy I lay down newspaper also.
This lets them create to their heart’s content without me having to be on their case for making a mess. When they are done I simply wipe up the table and sweep the floor.
Set an example yourself
The best way to encourage your children to be creative is to create yourself. Your children are always watching you. When they see that it is important to you to be creative in your life they are more likely to make that a priority in their own lives also.
It is also important not to knock yourself down when a project you are working on doesn’t turn out perfect. We want our children to be proud of the things they create and so we must set the example by being proud of the things we create ourselves. So what if your project doesn’t look like the ones you see on Pinterest the most important thing is that you are creating something.