The Top 10 Ways to Foster a Child's Creativity

Aahhhh, the magic of childhood! It's a time when kids' imaginations have no limits. Creative children view the world as endless possibilities and adventures, and can imagine their life as a princess or pirate or dream of their future with no boundaries applied. Here are 10 ways parents and child care providers alike can inspire children and encourage their creative genius.

Create a Magical Dress-Up Box

Girl Playing Dress-Up
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Create a fantasy dress-up box. Stock it with hats, costumes, capes, shoes, wands, armor...whatever you think your child will love. Consider adding in career-related items as well and adventure accessories such as a butterfly net, fossil rocks, or magnifying glass. Remember even an old sheets makes a magnificent cape for a kid! A cardboard box can be taped and painted and affixed with gems to make it extra-special.

"When I Grow Up" Drawings

Encourage kids to make a picture of themselves as a grown-up in the job of their choice. Create some extra fun by having children lay on paper, cut their basic shape out, then have them color or create their particular work-related attire. Creative adults can help kids add 3-D fabric to their ​drawing, such as tulle for a ballerina, a knight's armor, or a pirate patch cut out of black construction paper. Take photos of them by their "grown up" selves. Enchanting!

Cast the Kids In a Play

The only thing more fun than having kids act out a simple play is to have them create the play themselves (you serve as the scribe) and then act it out! Let kids participate in the planning and all parts of the simple production. The "stage" can be the outside patio or a game room, and it is most fun to have students create their own homemade costumes (nothing store-bought) out of paper bags, supplies at home, and imagination!

Create a Never-Ending Bedtime Story Starring Your Child

Cast your child as the main character in a never-ending bedtime story that you create together. Ask your child what adventure he/she wants to go on for each evening, and both of you use your imagination to tell a 10-minute story each evening. Involve your child by asking what he'd be wearing or how she'd like the castle to look.

I Feel Like Dancing!

Dancing is a very creative form of expression, and kids interested in music, dance and singing can entertain themselves for hours through choreographic routines and creating lyrics and parts to music. There are a number of kid-friendly CDs on the market aimed at children (and often sung by children). Sit back and enjoy the show!

Plan a Garden Together

What child doesn't like to dig and plan and watch things grow? Let kids do just that through having a patch of dirt of their own that becomes known as their garden. Let them pick inexpensive flowers or plants (who cares if the color schemes match), and let them take responsibility in nurturing it. Children delight in watching a small plant bloom in glory in the summer, and will learn a lot about growing things in the process.

Make a Kite First...Then Go Fly It!

Instead of just buying a ready-to-go item, such as a kite, consider having a child put his hands and heart into a project to create something...then watch the creativity soar! A kite is a fairly simple project that teaches kids a variety of basic skills, and watching their kite take off (hopefully!) will be a lasting memory of a good and creative time!

Let Your Kid Lead the Way

Too often, adults are quick to snap that they are the leaders and in charge and that kids should follow their direction. For a change, let the kids be the ones to lead on a walk, bike ride, game, or whatever. Say you are just along for the ride (of course keeping safety as an utmost priority). Let them determine direction and which path to take, and have them invent games or lead songs along the way. Letting them lead helps to foster self-confidence as well as creative thinking.

What's Cookin' Outside

On a nice afternoon or evening, plan a "backyard camp trip" that includes cooking out, playing outdoor games, sitting around a campfire, telling stories, and having some good "togetherness" type of fun. Providers can apply the same fun at a center or during the day as well. Let the kids roast hot dogs and make s'mores (melted marshmallows and piece of a chocolate bar tucked between two graham crackers). The small backyard firepits make this activity easier than ever before.

Create a Musical Band

Create all sorts of different instruments from sticks, bells, rocks, bowls, and string (to name a few possibilities) and combine those with the inexpensive clarinet-like and harmonica instruments you can find, and have a "mad musician" night. Challenge others to create a memory, and have someone dance to the music as the beat goes on.

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