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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My name is Holly Homer & I am the Dallas mom of three boys…

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  1. 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.