Our creativity is directly linked to the way that we think and is a direct expression of who we are. In terms of being creative from an art perspective, some of us are more creative than others. However, we do need to understand that every one of us is creative in one or other form, from being able to problem-solve, through to our ability to connect with people, all the way through to expressing ourselves on canvas or building and making things with our hands.
There are a number of ways in which you can encourage and strengthen your child’s creativity :
- Encourage independence. Independent thinking and freedom of expression will carry through into your child’s drawings and will interpret into everything that they do.
- Constantly being entertained by television without being encouraged to find things to do on their own only stifles their creativity. Teach them how to set aside time for themselves to do whatever they want to (obviously within the confines of your house-rules) – this could be playing outside just running around, riding bicycles, playing dress-up, putting on a play for their parents or drawing and colouring in pictures.
- Allow your child to make their own decisions : being allowed to think for themselves and come up with a solution that suits their immediate needs, builds your child’s confidence and encourages them to think out of the box, instead of merely following instructions.
- Provide your children with a creativity corner if at all possible, equipped with everything that they may need to get their creative juices flowing – colouring in pens, paints, paint brushes, sponges, coloured paper, scissors, glue, ribbons, string and any materials that allow them to experience various textures such as fabric, tree bark, pine cones, acorns, dried flowers and leaves. There is no end to what they can use to express their creativity in a natural way.
- Work with them to come up with ideas on what they can make with these materials and encourage any ideas that they come up with. A small reward system, such as a gold star or place of pride for displaying the best drawing of the week, will also encourage them to produce their finest work, even if drawing and creating is something they don’t really want to do.
- Of course, playing with your child even if for just an hour or two a day will certainly develop their ability to come up with their own creative ideas and build up their self-confidence as you praise and encourage them to use their ideas.
- Telling stories is another way of expressing and developing their creativity. Setting aside time before bed at night where everyone gets a turn to tell a story or expand on a segment of a theme that is set aside for that night, not only encourages family time, but extends on your child’s ability to express their ideas in a fun and safe environment.
Encouraging creativity from an early age cannot be emphasised strongly enough. Through independent thinking and enhanced problem-solving, we can only strengthen every aspect of our children’s development as we love and nurture them into free-thinking, self confident adults.