messy play paint with balloon

What is Creativity?

Creativity is much more than just artistic expression, it is a way for children to express their feelings. Being creative allows children to think of new ideas, use their imagination and to create something new.

Kids are born with a creative mind and vast imagination, they have a way of looking at things in a new perspective, identifying unthinkable problems and solve them with unorthodox ways. However, many parents unknowingly restrict their child, leaving no space for the child to be imaginative.

5 Tips for Nurturing Creativity at Home

Tip #1: Encourage Messy Play

Let your child explore objects and raw materials such as sand, water, chalk, paint, play dough, shaving foam and mud play. It provides them with opportunities to build and create their own. It fosters curiosity, imagination, cause and effect (experimentation), concentration, risk taking, adaptability, flexibility and to go with the flow.  You can create a messy play area for your child by creating a boundary with tubs, paper or tables. When clearing up their play area, get your child to help out and at the same time, it is an opportunity to teach them to be responsible of their own play area.

Tip #2: Provide Opportunities for Mess to form Experiences

Embrace mess, give them time and allow your child to explore. By offering a variety of choices, you will be amazed with what your child can come up with.

Embrace mess process

Tip #3: Provide Open-Ended Materials (Loose Parts)

Open-ended materials are timeless and limitless in their possibilities. You can provide some of the loose parts for your child to engage in construction play and dress up play. For construction play, parents can provide old boxes, scotch tape, yarn, newspapers, empty paper towel rolls, bottles and playdough. Dress up play requires a basket of different clothes for children to experience with various roles and create characters and stories

These loose part materials give children the chance to imagine and assign meaning to their play by encouraging children to create ideas and tell stories. It nurtures creative responses to the environment around them and to see things differently.

Tip #4: Encourage “Possibility Thinking”

To further encourage children’s creative thinking, parents can pose open-ended questions like “What if” and teach the children to shift from asking “What is this” to “What can I do with this?”

Children minds have the capability to think of creative possibilities to everyday problems that even adults have difficulty with.

Tip #5: Explore the Beauty of Nature

Outdoor environment supports children’s creativity and imagination. It has interesting and intriguing shapes, textures, colours and smells. The fact that natural materials are all different suggest different things to different people at different time. Children use their senses in ways that they cannot learn from books.

Role of the Adult

There is a delicate balance between the two extremes that must be achieved by adults. Parents have to encourage children to work through the problems and come up with solutions on their own, while providing them with time as creativity needs room to breathe.

Apart from that, it is essential that parents provide readily access to material/tools that supports creativity. You can facilitate your child by asking questions about their creations and invite children to share about their creation. By engaging in conversations with your child, it shows your interest in their work and increases their self confidence and drive to continue.

Books recommendations

Some of the books you can look into for enhancement of your child’s creativity.

  • Beautiful Oops! By Barney Saltzberg (Mistakes become creativity)
  • The Book With A Hole by Herve Tullet (Being imaginative with a hole)
  • Not A Box by Antoinette Portis (Being imaginative about a simple cardboard box)
  • The Dot by Peter Reynolds (Everyone can be creative)
  • Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier (Looking creatively at the world)

Recommendation booksAbout the Expert: Ms Pooja Vishindas

With over 15 years of early childhood experience, Pooja Vishindas is an expert in early care and education. A former preschool principal, she obtained her Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) from the University of South Australia and earned a place on the Dean’s Merit list. At present, she is the Chief Curriculum Officer at Nurture Education Group.

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