All children are born creative. From the moment they start learning to speak, they’re in a space with endless resources. They observe and come up with new words and expressions. But somewhere along the way, they lose that creativity. They stop thinking outside the box and become afraid to try new things.
Sometimes that is a result of shaming or self-consciousness. As a parent, it is important to learn how to develop a safe space that encourages this creativity for kids.
Fostering creativity is one of the pillars in Montessori schools, so we design learning spaces that inspire curiosity and exploration essential for children in the early years of development.
This article will give you 10 ways to do the same as a parent to help your child boost their creativity.
Unique Ways to Encourage Creativity for Kids
Fact is, from early childhood, through school years, and into adulthood, creativity fuels innovation and problem-solving.
Creativity is a vital component of health and happiness. It’s not just for artistic expression — creativity plays a role in science, math, and language skills too! Creative people are also better problem solvers, which allows them to adapt fast to new situations.
A lot has been written about the connection between being creative and overall human progress. For example, Everest was climbed by those who never wanted anything but an adventure; paintings brought into life from simply seeing something beautiful outside your window at night.
How does a child get there?
1. Provide Opportunities for Creative Expression
Children need a lot of time and space for free play or imaginative, unstructured play where you are not controlling what they do. If you have enough room in your home, it is wise to have a dedicated play area or even the great outdoors.
What you put in these spaces also affects how much it encourages creative play. Toys and entertainment tools are fun, but they have a way of doing all the creativity for children.
Prefabricated toys, props, and stories take the creativity from kids.
Instead, why not add resources to your child’s play area like art supplies, cameras, building materials, fabrics, costumes, etc.?
2. Encourage Imagination and Exploration
The atmosphere is everything. Apart from spaces that allow free play, create a safe space for imagination and exploration.
How do you do that? By encouraging your child to come up with ideas but resist the urge to evaluate them or decide which are best and those that are not. For instance, ask children to contribute ideas for upcoming holiday activities during family meal times.
Building the atmosphere for creativity is about innovation and the process and not an outcome.
Interaction and parent-child bonding are other perfect opportunities for inducing creativity in kids. Share your interests and hobbies, and discuss your favorite people, role models, and scientists. Invite your children into your inner world of creativity by letting them work with you on your garden, joining your passion for architecture or photography.
3. Foster Independence and Autonomy
For most parents, the biggest accomplishment for their children is joining a prestigious university or ivy-league college. That’s excellent but is that your child’s dream or yours?
Here is the thing, graduating from top universities doesn’t make someone happier or accomplished, walking in their purpose does.
4. Promote Thinking Outside the Box
Encourage your child to have differing opinions from yours. You will be surprised by the perspectives they bring in. Help your child find different ways to solve a problem by asking them questions like, “How do you think this could work?” or, “What if we tried doing it differently?”.
Let children disagree with what you say and embrace their divergent thinking skills!
5. Help Them Overcome Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure
Doubt and fear kill creativity. To boost creativity for kids, you need to help them find confidence and take pride in their work.
6. Encourage Risk-Taking
As we pointed out earlier, children are born creative but develop self-consciousness that inhibits their ability to express their thoughts. They become too careful about failing and the consequences that are attached to failure.
When we fail, our children must know they can do so too without fear or regret — that laughter becomes an essential happiness habit for both parent and child when this happens together.
You can share personal stories with your kids about what went wrong recently on a light note, trying new things despite knowing there was a potential risk.
Encourage children to make mistakes by showing them it is okay to make them.
7. Nurture Curiosity and a Love of Learning
Show children the connection between indoor and outdoor learning. Learning is not only what they do in school but a lifelong process. Even chores are an extension of learning, and in them, they can develop a love for learning. Help them achieve this by not differentiating and creating time for indoor and outdoor activities.
8. Embrace Failures as Part of the Creative Process
This one goes for both the parent and the child. How you react to the child’s ‘messes’ hinders or promotes their growth. They need to learn from the mistakes they make. Don’t try to aid them in finding the right solution or answer to a problem.
When children embrace failure, they can find creative solutions. They start with an idea, but it is through trial and error of what can be done with materials that help evolve their play into something new, which explores all possibilities for creativity in their imagination.
9. Support Their Passions and Interests
We always advise parents to take note of their child’s interests and strengths. As our teachers evaluate them, they identify these aptitudes.
The more you spur them to explore the things they love, the more creative they will naturally become.
Once you do, give them opportunities to experiment. Let them paint, draw, build, and create however they want – without judgment or criticism. This freedom to experiment will allow them to explore their creativity and find their own unique voice.
Lastly, provide them with practical learning opportunities —whether that means simply learning about different things or people in their field or interest.
10. Encourage Meaningful and Creative Entertainment
Another way to make room for creativity is limiting their exposure to screens. This includes phones and other devices, as they have been shown as distractions that can take up mental space when they should be working on something else.
A great idea would be setting aside one day each week where they are unschooled – no phones allowed or laptops. Make these comfortable hours spent in active hobbies like drawing, reading books from favorite authors… anything goes really so long as it’s creative.
In a Nutshell
The goal of fostering creativity for kids is not about what children achieve but the process. So the takeaway as you apply these ideas is to look at the process and not the results.
Creative minds are always at their best when they’re allowed room for creativity. That’s why we focus more on the process of fostering diverse abilities and interests rather than pressing them toward a specific outcome or grade level goal.
So if you want your kids to become creative thinkers with broad skill sets, try implementing these Montessori-based strategies.
We hope you enjoyed learning!