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Encourage creativity

Children have wonderful imaginations and are capable of entertaining themselves, and us, for hours at a time. However, they slowly lose this ability as we send them to school and train them to be small adults.

Watching lots of TV, playing on computers and spending less time just playing has also had an affect on how creative children are as they reach their teens and twenties.

As creativity is an important part of problem solving and pleasure, it is worth doing what we can to enhance childrenís creativity. Here are some simple tactics to assist you in this venture:

  • Do jigsaw puzzles with them. To complete the puzzle, children have to visualise pieces from different angles and look for the big picture as well. Make sure you select puzzles that are challenging but over difficult for the childís development. Timber-riffic has a huge array of Australian and educational puzzles, whilst Pee Dee toys has puzzles with 3 pieces up to 1,000.
  • Constructions toys are great for coordination and dexterity, but they are very dependant on imagination and visualisation. Use a mixture of constructions toys rather than providing only one style. Some examples are Kínex models, bead blocks,  Meccano, Lego, modelling clay, wooden bones or wooden/electronic kits.  
  • Lots of opportunities to draw and paint can only build creativity Ė and the less structured the better. Children love making their mark on paper so it doesnít have to represent anything real. You can give them twistable crayons, coloured pencils, spider pens, gel pens, sponge paints, poster paints, foil impressions, chalk, window paints and many other art materials.
  • Donít limit children to painting or drawing on pieces of paper. Give them some fabric markers and a tee shirt, tea towel, cap or other piece of cloth and let them create unique clothing theyíll be proud to wear.
  • Face paints can take children into other worlds where their imaginations rule. Whether itís a fancy design that resembles a tiger, fairy or pirate, or just colours splashed on their faces, children are excited by experimenting with different looks and being different characters. Older children will also have fun doing the painting.
  • An easel or upright chalkboard is a great addition to a childís art tools. Different muscles are used when painting/drawing on an easel compared to on a table and this helps develop skills required for learning to write. Itís even better if they have an easel where they can do multiple activities Ė i.e. if the board has a chalkboard or whiteboard as well as holding paper.
  • Wearing dress ups allows children to explore different roles and act out things they are trying to understand. The best dress ups are those that can be used for many roles, such as a cape can belong to Little Red Riding Hood, a witch, a hobbit or a wizard and a tulle skirt could be worn by a fairy, princess, Lady or dancer.  Pee Dee toys and Early Learning World have a selection of dress ups for you to choose from.
  • Children need to be creative and imaginative to play with farm animals, toy cars, remote control cars and even slot cars. Give them some floor space, a patch of lawn or a pile of dirt and they can make up their own stories. Allow them to use stones, chunks of wood and the like to make roads and ramps and just let them go!
  • Although children will make up games from nothing, sometimes it is worthwhile prompting them with role playing props, such as tool sets, household appliances, market/shop sets, spy equipment, an airport or a BBQ set.
  • Dolls and doll houses are also great for encouraging make believe games - but why not add in a teepee, castle, farm, ship or motor home for more options.
  • Puppets and finger puppets, with or without a puppet theatre, are fantastic for imagination. Children can re use the puppets over and over to create different characters and stories. Puppets can be used to express things children canít say for themselves and also be a means of letting children build confidence by putting on puppet shows. And creating their own puppets only adds to the fun and benefits.

Tash Hughes is a Mum of two in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com






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