Encouraging creativity in children

The idea that people are born creative is a bit of a myth. Some children might have a natural aptitude with a set of paint or a musical instrument, of course, but creativity is a skill that you can teach, and nurture in your children.

The big question is, what can you do to encourage your children to be more creative? Here are a few ideas.

Get them to do new things

Try and ask your children what they want to do – but encourage them to choose something new. Children learn so much from having new experiences, and it can help them think in a more creative way. Give them room to challenge themselves, and don’t decide for them. The more constraints you bind them in, the less likely they will be to think freely – a central part of creativity.

Don’t rely on toys

Being creative is all about imagination, so it’s important to let your children use their brains. It’s all too easy to buy them toys from the shops, that already have personalities, names, and that they see in character on the TV. The idea is to encourage them to play more in a child-directed way, rather than rely on what they are told. Dressing up, craftwork, and a large space to let their imaginations run wild will help foster their creative thoughts.

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Avoid rewards

Try not to reward children for being creative, as it will help them foster a sense of self-motivation. Real creativity comes from within, not as a response. That’s not to say that you can’t congratulate them at all – you can, of course, but be more ‘creative’ with your praise. For example, if they paint a wonderful picture, why not get some poster frames and help them mount it on their bedroom wall? Anything you can do to encourage their own motivation will help them far more than a packet of sweets or a new toy.

Let them fail

People learn through their failures – and it’s, even more, apparent in small children. Teach your children that it’s OK to make a mistake, especially if they are doing something for the first time. Talk to them about mistakes you have made in the past – within reason, of course, and most importantly, have a laugh and joke the next time you burn something in the oven or paint over something you shouldn’t have.

Read to them

Do you read your children a bedtime story every night? I know how tough it can be to muster the energy – especially after a long, hard day, but it’s vital for their creative development. It gets them forming pictures to the words that you tell them, and it will help encourage them to learn to read. It’s going to be so important as they grow older to have a release other than the television – and bedtime stories are the starting point. Audio CD stories are also a wonderful addition to a bedtime routine.


How do you encourage your children to be creative?

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  1. This is so true, with the era of technology we are firmly ensconced in, it is great to have some time out to let the imagination take over. We were treated to a *show* on Christmas eve just gone by my two (7 & 9) that they had spent 2 months rehearsing for in their bedrooms. Of course their were some Star Wars connotations in there but also plenty of carols and other songs plus mystery and intrigue too! Long live the imagination! #SharetheJoy

  2. This is really interesting. My 3 year has an amazing imagination and I love to turn off everything and just let him use it. He is in a much better mood for it rather than staring at his tablet for too long. #twinklytuesday xx

  3. Such a fab post. I really worry that my oldest doesn’t get much opportunity to be creative at school. She has homework every week where she has to read a book on the computer where I think it is much more important to be reading an actual physical book instead of it being another way of using technology.

    1. Oh that is a shame – the big kids have quite a lot of creative opportunities in their homework which is great. They are normally given a topic to research but then given free choice how the information is displayed which is great.

  4. Great advice. Reading to our kids is so important. Now my boys are a bit older the eldest sometimes reads to the little man. I love getting outdoors with my kids too that can really help to stimulate their creativity #sharewithme

  5. So so true! Although I am amazed by how creative my 6 year old can be with her character toys often combining two or more in an intricate storyline. Love your chalk floor picture – one of our favourite Summer activities! Thanks for linking up at #sharethejoy x

    1. I totally agree actually – we have lots of character toys as well that the children enjoy playing with and they take on different roles during playtime, so they absolutely have their place. I’m actually in the middle of writing something about how character toys can help development and learning – but sometimes we just like to step away from them and see what else can happen. Thank you for reading and sharing x

  6. I have to admit I am awful and making creative time with the kids as I fear the messy play but we do love sidewalk chalk in the spring and summer time. I have been trying to get better with bring out playdoh and tools to get creative there and crayons for coloring as they get older and more responsible. 🙂 Great ideas here hun. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me and your continual support as it’s getting quieter and quieter on SWM these days I hope it long continues for us all to share. #sharewithme

    1. I think you just have to embrace the mess and chaos sometimes. It all cleans up and the benefits out way any of the mess without a doubt, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time x

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