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.
Eileen marie says
My favorite subject was & still is Science -I teach it! ?
I loved school in general; I loved it so much that I became a teacher! As a student and teacher, my favorite subject was reading! I’m currently a SAHM to our 3 year old twins, and continue to enjoy reading, both on my own (when time allows), and with my children!
shelly peterson says
I liked math as a kid.
Judy E says
I loved math in school. I agree 100% with #2 my kids live to do “art projects” but the second a screen comes on the art stuff gets put down. Great article! Thanks for sharing
jeannine d says
My favorite subject in school was english. I love to read
Ashley T. says
I loved this! I definitely need it! Thank you! I’m going through close to the same thing. I had my 3 boys in 27 months. So i haven’t had any time myself for 6 yrs. Now my youngest is going to 3 days a week preschool. I’m having a very hard time with it!!!! Favorite subject in school was math! ?
Sara B says
My favorite subject when I was younger was Math.
Love the arts.
My favorite? Definitely art!!
Great reminders! The hardest one for me was always the “things will get messy”! But creating things with children is so much fun and worth the mess!
I loved English, specifically reading and creative writing.
no matter the interest, science, math, art, music – being creative is key to development of all parts of the brain!
Emily Smith says
My favorite subjects in school were math and art.
Elizabeth S says
I think my favorite subject was Science.
I am going to try to do this with my niece. She starts Kindergarten in less than a month! =(
Sarah C says
I always liked English, especially Writing
Math was and still is my favorite subject!
It took me a little while to appreciate school, but my favorite subject was & still is History?
Kelly D says
I enjoyed learning about history and reading.
I loved read aloud time and creative writing 🙂
My favorite subject was writing! 🙂
Carli Eklund says
I loved science!
My favorite subject was Spelling!
I loved spelling tests in elementary school. When I got older my favorite subject was history.
Andrea Kelly says
My favorite subject in school was math!!!
Vicki I. says
I’ve always loved to read! Math was a close second.
Carolyn E says
When I was little, my favorite subject was reading! I still love to read 🙂
Becky Thomas says
I loved history! Still do! My son is a science geek though.
Emily C. says
I always loved reading. Thanks!
Jillian Too says
Science was always my favorite subject. I loved recess too. 🙂
Mary Happymommy says
Social Studies was my favorite subject.
Samantha C. says
I always loved spelling!
I love learning the history of our great country!
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life says
I love this post! Being creative with my kids is one of the most fulfilling things I do as a mom. I used to draw and paint regularly before I got married, but then just stopped. That has changed now that my kids are old enough to sit at the table and create with me. They still draw and create things from play-doh without me, but sitting at the kitchen island or at our long dining room table and painting together is my favorite.
One thing that has helped to foster their desire to create in our home is not skimping on materials for them. It’s easy to think that they are so young, they won’t be able to tell the difference, but it’s not always true. Providing them with good materials makes the whole process more enjoyable. They didn’t really appreciate it when I tried to pull out my nice watercolors and then hand them the watercolors from the dollar bin. And since a little goes a long way, even the pricier supplies have lasted a long time. Another example is their preferred drawing tool– a simple black pen. They are now pen snobs and prefer the pens that my husband and I use– because who wants to write or draw with a pen that doesn’t work well or make clear lines?
I enjoyed this and I’m so glad I found your blog!
I’m so glad you found us Lisa! Thanks for your sweet comments. 🙂 Loved hearing about how you get creative with your kids!
Tabathia B says
I loved social studies when I was in school
Jessica Beard says
My favorite subject was reading!
Heather Hayes Panjon says
My Favorite Subject In School Was Reading.
Art class was always my refuge.