Creativity is one of the most desirable traits we seek to instill in our kids as they develop and grow into young explorers, artists, and intellectuals. Creative thinking and creative problem solving can be some of the greatest tools we can give little ones, who will eventually become our future leaders, movers, and shakers. Easy, digestible ways to instill creativity in our kids isn’t always obvious, though. So what can you do to expand their abilities and encourage creative thinking in little ones?
- Embrace their curiosity.
It’s commonly joked about that at one point in a child’s life, they’re obsessed with asking “why?” The reality is that this can sometimes be excessive or difficult to answer, as there can be no end to the number of times “why?” can be asked in conversation. But it’s important to encourage this curious approach to life in your little one. When possible, try to give them an answer (or a variety of answers) that will satisfy their curiosity, or approach their question in a way that helps them understand your perspective. As they grow older, continue embracing their curiosity and encourage them to always question why we do things, why things are important, etc.
- Encourage creative playtime.
While it can be hard for little ones to pull activity ideas out of thin air, they may surprise you if given the opportunity to choose between a few creative activities. Start by asking them what medium they might want to explore that day - clay, paint, chalk, paper, etc. Next, ask them to choose their own color palette, or decide ahead of time what they’d like to work on. Giving them the opportunity to choose the direction of their craft or creative time can help you understand more about how their brain works and where their interests lie.
- Indulge interests through reading.
Allowing children to digest stories about some of their favorite subjects can be eye-opening for them. As their brains work hard to fill in the gaps and background of the story, they’ll expand their ability to think creatively and problem solve along with their favorite characters and stories. Reading is so immersive for children, whether they’re reading on their own or being read to, the possibilities are endless when it comes to their imagination.
- Let them help you problem solve.
It happens often, we could use an extra set of hands while doing laundry, we aren’t sure how much of a certain ingredient we have left in the pantry, or we don’t know how many plates we’ll need to put out at the table for dinner. Bring your child along as you ask these types of questions in your own life, and allow them to make suggestions and help you solve the problems you face every day. This will introduce them to different layers and levels of creative problem solving and expand their horizons as they ponder about things in their own lives.