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Engage Your Child's Creativity: Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Engage Your Child's Creativity: Dos and Don'ts for Parents
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~Albert Einstein

“Creative” is a word often reserved for a famous painter or songwriter, but this is skill lives inside us all. When a toddler figures out that he can climb a sturdy chair to reach a cookie on the kitchen counter, he has engaged in highly creative problem solving (to the dismay of his parents).

Whether you consider your child a natural creative or not, engaging their creative side has countless benefits for young minds. Here are a few of them:

  • Creative play reduces stress and improves attention span.
  • Creative activities support developmental skills like sensory perception, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.
  • Creativity unlocks divergent thinking skills like curiosity, reflection, and wonder.
  • Creativity helps children access and cope with feelings that they may struggle to identify or express verbally.
  • Creativity is the best way to practice original thinking, particularly when kids are allowed to engage in self-directed exploration.
  • Creativity shapes social skills when kids see and experience different perspectives in other children’s art.

Image of hands playing with slime with text overlay 'creative play dos and don'ts'

Facilitate More than Teaching

Although it’s true that children are naturally curious and inquisitive, they need support to develop their creative capacities and reach their full creative potential. The key challenge is not how to “teach” creativity to children, but rather, create a fertile environment in which their creativity will take root, grow, and flourish.

Experiment & Embrace All Types of Making

Different children are interested in different types of making. Some enjoy making houses and castles with LEGO bricks. Others enjoy making jewelry or desserts. Writing a poem or a short story is a type of making, too. Children can learn about the creative design process through all of these activities. Help children find the type of making that resonates for them. Even better: Encourage children to engage in multiple types of making.

Image of an inquisitive child with text overlay that reads 'what sparks their creativity?'

Visual and Tactical Creative Play

Spend time outdoors. The benefits of nature for child development are endless because nature is ever-changing. Children can draw in the sand, make designs with twigs, build forts with branches, or simply lie on the ground and check out the shapes of clouds.

Engage in art. Through painting, sculpture, collage, clay, drawing or any other medium, art is a way for children to work through emotions, make decisions, and express their ideas—all while fine-tuning developmental skills.

Verbal and Imaginative Creative Play

Invent scenarios. When your child invents a scenario, he/she tries on different roles while developing social skills. Encourage your child to play doctor, zoo, farm, space station, or school. Join in the imaginative play by taking on a role yourself and asking thought-provoking questions.

Play verbal activities. From rhymes to riddles, silly sounds to phonics, games such as "I Spy" or making up lyrics to common tunes, verbal interactive activities can inspire and nurture creative minds.

Make literacy fun. Make reading time memorable by using voices and discussing other possible endings to the story with your child. Make up stories with your child as the main character and propose moral dilemmas to solve.

Harnessing Creativity in a Digital World

Limit screen time. Nurturing imagination and parenting in the digital age can be tough. Focusing on a screen is a passive way of learning for children. An alternative would be to encourage children to create something new and different. Engaging children in a kinesthetic manner using their entire bodies and their five senses also opens the mind.

Enjoy downtime. Unstructured, unscheduled time allows children opportunities to imagine and create. Many adults will tell you they have some of their best ideas while brushing their teeth, washing their hair, or doing other mundane tasks that are not actively engaged.

Image of a child drawing with text overlay 'Enter our drawing Contest!"

This month's giveaway is a coloring contest for kids!

It's free to participate and easy to win! Download our coloring sheet or pick one up at any Pediatric clinic for a chance to win one of three $50 Amazon gift cards.

Download Coloring Sheet

How to submit:

If you’re inside the clinic, simply hand the completed sheet to the front desk or provider’s assistant (make sure to fill out the contact portion!) To participate digitally, take a photo of your child’s completed sheet and send it to OR direct message @ogdenclinic on Instagram or Facebook.