Tips for Encouraging Creativity in Kids

I want to support my kids’ creativity in every way possible because I believe that creativity is in part our soul. It is the passionate area deep down inside that compels us to take action in a way that may not be understood by others.

Creativity in kids - raising creative kids - Kids Activities Blog

Tips for Encouraging Creativity in Kids

Creativity in kids may lead to the destination of a gorgeous painting or an original song, but I suspect in most kids the journey of their creativity will take another path…maybe one the world considers {cough} more creative.

I am not crafty, how do I promote creativity in my kids?

We need to stop thinking about creativity within the boundaries of Kindergarten arts and crafts. While those skills are nice to hang on the fridge, they don’t hint to the creative process of most children. Your child’s passions propel his creative thought.

  • Inventing alternate rules to a family game
  • Ability to play with building toys for hours
  • A pun told in conversation
  • Using the playground slide as a concrete mixer
  • Assembling an outfit that mystifies adults
  • Inventing an alternate universe to interact with during a normal day
  • Singing along in the car to a favorite song
  • Telling a tall tale to a brother who believes
  • Creating a code or language
  • Taking pictures with mom’s camera
  • Folding paper airplanes in church
  • Dancing during TV commercials
  • Writing a comic book
  • Constructing a tent out of sheets in the living room

It is what your child DOES when they could be bored that really speaks to the passions behind their creative curiosity.

To promote creativity in kids is to promote boredom.

A child can’t be creative over the noise of entertainment. Chronic entertainment drowns creative thought. It is my concern that we are raising a generation of children who are waiting to be entertained.

Waiting for entertainment, instead of creating it.

I am not arguing for complete whitespace buffering our children, but merely an intention to include boredom into the family schedule. Blocks of time throughout the day where kids are left to their own devices for play.

Tips for Boring Your Children

  1. Bookend blocks of “boredom” with structured play.  
  2. Start with shorter boredom blocks of time and a timer.
  3. Let kids know what to expect: Let’s read this book together and then you can play for 20 minutes and then I will call you so we can fold the laundry.
  4. If kids have difficulty on their own, start with a play suggestion: I am going to set out this bowl of water and a paint brush on the back porch in case you want to “paint” the deck or even more directly, why don’t you go build the tallest building you can with your blocks and when you are done call me and I will take a picture of it to send to grandma.
  5. Separate squabbling kids. Give each kid their own creative space to breathe without competing with a sibling. It isn’t a punishment, simply assign an area to each kid for a specified time.
  6. Pop in with a little encouragement, when not expected.
  7. Limit screen time for TV and video games.
  8. Be careful not to overschedule the family.
  9. Random treats. They don’t have to be sweets or something that includes money, but an unexpected chance to play a game with mom or two books at bedtime can be a treasured treat.

I was recently on a panel discussing this subject hosted by Gigi Ross who was inspired to tackle the topic by this post on her blog:  10 Tips for Raising Creative Kids  a guest post by Steph Calvert.

The panelists:

Gigi Ross, Steph Calvert, Darcy Zalewski, Anna Ranson  and me.

photo credit: ThinkStock

Do you have tips for encouraging creativity in kids?

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20 Comments

  1. First of all, I LOVE the photographs in this post! Secondly- I whole heartedly agree. I try to foster my girls creativity by always having creative (paper, pens, scissors, glue, stickers, play-doh, the recycle bin- for recreating out of cardboard etc.) in a place that is easily accessible to them and I’m constantly surprised about how often they just go to it themselves and start creating their own world. They love playing Mom/Dad and kid with us, with the roles reversed. It’s a new favorite game of theirs. It’s fun to see what they think a parent does, says and expects as they play the parent. Great post!

  2. Totally agree!!! This is fantastic!

  3. I am so with you on letting kids be bored. My only problem is that my 6 year old fills out all her unstructured time by reading non-stop. I never thought I’d be complaining about a child who is reading too much, but I wonder how to encourage her to explore and play more.

  4. Good points. I am not crafty at all, but I have two craft kids. All I did was set out lots of art and craft supplies and limit screen time. Adults don’t create creativity; kids do.

  5. I’m a new co-host of the After School linky and will be featuring you this week – also pinned to our group board. Hope to see you linking up again!

  6. Holly, I love this post! You are so so right. Children, like adults, move mountains when it is their passion they embrace.

    I love where you said this:

    A child can't be creative over the noise of entertainment. Chronic entertainment drowns creative thought.

  7. Such fantastic information – I love the tips. Scheduling boredom blocks is perfect!

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. 🙂

    ¤ ´ ¨)
    ¸. ¢* ´
    ( ¸ ¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    Raising-Reagan.com

  8. There should always be some toys or containers lying around that don’t have any obvious purpose or way to put them together. And, of course, you can’t beat having paper and pens or crayons handy, even in church.

  9. Great tips. Thanks for linking up at Artsy Play Wednesday. Pinned to our group board.

  10. These are great tips! My parents were supportive when my siblings and I were younger and for that I’m grateful.
    I have to agree about the competing with the sibling part. It’s important that a kid doesn’t feel like he/she is second best to their sibling/friend – that really sucks. I think that’s where one my favorite quotes comes in: don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20.

    Stopping by from the Bouquet of Talent Link Party.

    Del @ spud-nails.blogspot.com

  11. I agree. Giving kids the time to act on their own thoughts is a great idea. Maybe provide more tools to enhance there creativity. Ex: crayons/colored pencils, books (my personal favorite), and even just random household objects (toilet paper rolls, empty bottles, etc.)

  12. I think my favorite tips you gave are the separate squabblers, avoid over scheduling, and the random treats. In the video, I love how your children are interested in technology and how you inspire them to be creative within that interest. My daughter loves drawing and computer games so we taught her some basic Adobe illustrator skills 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing all these tips at Mom’s Library!

  13. I love the top photo! It is fantastic. Also, such great tips! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays.

  14. Awesome tips! I invite you to link up and share at the TGIF Link Party happening now at APeekIntoMyParadise.blogspot.com. You just might be featured next week!
    Have a terrific week!
    Cathy

  15. Hello! I just want to share this with moms (and dads, too!) who want to give their kids these lovable plushies! They’re like stuffed animals + building toys combined, you can mix & make new creations. They’re giving away a free set here: http://win.theanimoodles.com/plushies

  16. Thanks for sharing your ideas on how to foster creativity in your kids. I think it is great to think outside of the box, you don’t necessarily need a craft project to be creative.

  17. I loved reading your article, Holly! The role of active playground time in promoting creativity among children, especially pre-schoolers and kindergartener, is undeniable. Using playground slides, rope equipment, swings and climbers can actually enhance motor skills and improve cognitive skills among children as well.

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