5 Ways to Encourage Kids’ Creativity – Creative expression is essential for kids; tips and ideas for fostering creativity with our children.
A special thank you to Gymboree for sponsoring today’s discussion on fostering creativity in kids – at home and in the classroom! Don’t miss the fun giveaway they’re hosting at the bottom of the post!
I’m entering new territory as a mom this year. My baby started kindergarten last week, and I’ve been a bit emotional about the whole thing. It seems like this day has loomed in the distant future ever since my babies were born. But now, in what feels like the blink of an eye, they’re all off to school.
This big change has prompted me to do all I can to make the most of the small moments I have at home with my kiddos. Knowing school would be in full swing this week, I did what my mother heart felt we needed this past weekend and we got out the watercolor paints and painted together!
Being creative together is one way I love to connect with my kids. Meaningful conversations and laughter seem to come about naturally when we sit down to color, paint or craft. I know that when my kids are grown, some of my favorite memories will be of the times we sat at the kitchen table crafting or snuggled up on the couch to color together.
Not only has being creative with my kids helped build bonds between us, I realize the importance of creative expression in their overall development.
“Creativity produces much more than a unique work of art or an original idea. A child’s ability to think creatively promotes self-expression, emotional health, mental growth and an appreciation for diversity — all skills and traits that are vital to a child’s overall development and well-being.” – Debra Pachuki
Because I know how important it is for kids to be creative, I try to make time for it at home as often as our schedule allows. Here are a few ways I’ve found to help encourage my kids in the creative process.
5 Ways to Encourage Kids’ Creativity
1. Designate a space where they can be creative. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate art center; my girls have a small Ikea table and chair set in their room where they love to color. If we are all crafting together we typically use the kitchen table. The important thing is for them to feel like they have a welcoming place they can go to create.
2. Turn off the screens. I find screens (tv, iPads, phones, tablets) to be a huge distraction when it comes to being creative. When a screen is on my kids gravitate towards it, and when we turn them off, I see the crayons and art supplies come out. It’s just one more benefit to carving out some screen-free time each week. Turning off the screens leaves room for creative endeavors.
3. Be prepared for mess. As a new mom I used to get frustrated with our creative endeavors mostly because we always ended up with a huge mess. Glue covered fingers, paint on clothes, etc. Since then I’ve learned to adapt my expectations and just plan on messes. I know they will happen so it’s no surprise when the paint spills or the marker gets on the table. Wearing clothes that can get dirty, using an art apron, and covering your work surface are good ideas, but to the rest of the mess – I say let it happen!
4. Let go of perfectionism or the idea of what the finished product should look like. Nothing stifles creativity more than the fear of making a mistake. Make the process more important than the product, and allow your child to create freely without expectation of what their project should look like in the end.
5. Keep it simple. You don’t need to have expensive art supplies or plan a complicated project. Creativity blossoms in simplicity. I find my kids often get overwhelmed when there are too many supplies to choose from or the process feels to complicated. Simple is best.
As much as I try to foster my kids creativity at home, I’m thankful that my children are cared for by wonderful teachers at school who also help them to explore their creativity. Creative expression is essential to all kids, yet many don’t have access to basic tools like crayons, markers and paint in the classroom. This year alone, 1.7M students are in need of arts & crafts supplies!
Gymboree Providing Arts and Craft Supplies for the Classroom
It’s for this very reason that I’m so thrilled about Gymboree’s Let’s Color Together program. Gymboree has teamed up with DonorsChoose.org to bring coloring supplies to students nationwide from 7/20-9/7. The money donated goes to projects in the highest-need schools in the donor’s community. Even $1 supplies a child with a pack of crayons for the year.
You can get involved by donating at Gymboree stores, Gymboree outlet stores, and online. Simply enter your zip code to find a local school in need!
Check out this sweet video to see how a team from Gymboree surprised a local elementary school in Oakland, California with much-needed coloring supplies!
Enter to Win a $75 Gymboree Gift Card
Gymboree celebrates childhood. They believe that kids should be kids – free to laugh, dance, dream and explore. Every day the imagination of a child inspires them to make cute, colorful, quality clothing and accessory collections.
Today Gymboree is giving one lucky Simple as That reader a $75 gift card to spend on their new Back to School collections! To enter, simply follow the prompts in the rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway closes this Friday at 12am MST. Winner will be announced over the weekend.