Happy summer, gang! This month, it’s all about CREATIVITY. We’re sharing ways to encourage creativity and offering a fun way to help a friend out with our FREE DOWNLOAD.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a creative household. My parents were both singers & my mom played guitar on Saturday afternoons. My parents curated a “dress-up box” for us that was regularly overused (Orphan Annie or Snow White costume, anyone?). I had very unstructured summers to explore, play, and make believe. I firmly believe my creative childhood helped form the parent, friend, & adventurer I am today.
As it turns out, research agrees with me: Creative play is a vital part of childhood and child development. For many children, creativity will reach its peak before the age of six. Enter the onset of formal school and the developmental drive towards conformity, and creativity tends to decline. However, supporting your child’s creativity in preschool sets the stage to foster its continued development in the years well beyond age six. Take it from me, a creative 46-year old!
This month’s FREEBIE is an adorable way to give back while adding that CREATIVE, PERSONAL piece from you. It’s our MEALS FOR FRIENDS FREEBIE to share with new neighbors, a friend’s new baby, or just because! Want more? Don’t forget to sign-up for the Empowering Kids with Character Newsletter.
Don’t feel like the overly creative type, yourself? Fear not! Coming up with ways to play creatively doesn’t have to be stressful or take a lot of time.
A joke-telling fork while you’re eating lunch. A stuffed animal with a bandaid on their arm and a story to tell! A box of crayons and a big white piece of paper with an afternoon to draw and dream.
Ideas for creative and imaginative play are available all around us! Often we overlook the simple things, that to a child, aren’t simple at all. Emotional, cognitive, and fine motor skills develop with the introduction to the simple things.
You wouldn’t believe the number of hours my 3 year old nephew and I have spent talking about “Larry the Fuzzy Caterpillar” we saw in a garden last summer. Larry has taken on a life and persona all his own and we make up stories about him when we are together all the time. My nephew made his very own “Larry” with a popsicle stick and we even take him places. The point? We took a simple moment on a walk and the creativity continues!
The science behind creativity and the brain is fascinating. Kids love pretend games and have a natural tendency to fantasize, experiment, and explore. This creative drive ignites a desire to learn and supports intellectual development across all subjects.
Encourage creative problem solving: Ask your child open-ended questions that have no right or wrong. Encourage her to tell you why she thinks as she does. For example, “What could happen if dogs could talk?” Accept any answer as “enough” and invite your child to go further with more questions or curiosities!
Break the rules: Have a picnic in swimsuits in the winter. See how many different uses your child can come up with for a paper clip or a paper towel roll. Add cotton balls atop abandoned train tracks and declare an avalanche!
Encourage inventive storytelling: Invite your child to make drawings to go with the stories she tells or the art she creates. For a favorite tale, switch something around. Make the main character a bear instead of Goldilocks, or have the story take place on a ship instead of the forest.
Make movement creative: Especially if you have a wiggly one, have her be the leader in Follow the Leader. Have her show you how she’d move if she were sad, angry, or joyful. He could show you how different animals move. You’ll be fostering vocabulary and social development as well!
Let the kids figure out what to do next & follow your child’s lead: Play is key, since it lets the frontal lobes take a much-needed breather. Building forts, imaginary friends & mock battles – that downtime is so important. Let them lead and see where it takes you!
Looking for more bi-weekly tips and ideas in your inbox? Don’t forget to sign-up for the Empowering Kids with Character Newsletter, so you always are in the know and you are receiving our awesome FREEBIES like this month’s MEALS FOR FRIENDS CARDS!
Do you have some creative juices flowing at your house? We’d love for you to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
Sarah Cavanaugh is a Marketing, PR and Communications Specialist with over 25 years of experience writing, building effective campaigns, and creating brand awareness. Sarah can usually be found exercising, drinking coffee and watching Saturday Night Live skits on YouTube. She lives with her two active teens and husband in Grand Rapids. Find her at www.CavanaughCommunications.com.