Encouraging Creativity in Young Children

Keeping the Creative Spark Alive in Children

Young children are bursting with creative energy. They sing, dance, and make up songs. They dress up , create plays,  colour, paint, skip, and jump. But often their creative spirit collapses.

Why is that?

  • Some children lose the creative spark because they’re just plain anxious and depressed: life comes down on them hard;
  • The lure of electronic devices and video games, combined with isolation and the lack of encouragement  to be expressive, deadens the imagination of many children.

Our challenge as parents is to nuture that precious, creative wonder in young children.

What You Can Do to Promote Creativity

Give children toys that encourage creativity.

Old standards like Legos(™) are terrific. Avoid high-tech battery toys that encourage passivity.

Remember your own youthful creations.

Once upon a time we were all children, so this makes us all potential experts! Try to remember the creative games and activities from your own childhood. Pass them on to your children.

Donate scrap paper.

Schools often can’t afford to buy paper for creative projects; especially heavier weight, colour and specialty papers. Collect the paper that accumulates in the copy room and by the paper-cutter. Solicit donations at local printshop or office supply store and collect it.

Donate a musical instrument today.

School music programs are considered a luxury and are desperately underfunded. If you have an instrument collecting dust in your basement or garage, put it in the hands of a young student.

Make a Project Box.

Collect things: scraps of interesting fabric, bric-a-brac, paper towel rolls, pictures cut from a magazine, anything that catches your fancy, and put them in a box. At the end of your collecting, present it to a day-care centre, community centre or school as the raw material and inspiration for creative projects. You could also put together a box filled with old clothes, hats, cast-off costume jewelry, and masks.

Remember that the richness of life is found in slower moments, that the formation of creative young minds is accomplished not only by the hours spent in the classroom but also by watching tree branches move and the dust fall, and the love within families flourishes when there is time for love.

Richard Louv, Childhood’s Future.

Additional Resources

How parents can encourage creativity in children. By Sham’ah Md-Yunus, 2007.

Creativity and Play: Fostering Creativity. PBS.org: The Whole Child.

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