by Melanie Sklarz of A Dose of Creativity.
Part II: Encourage Your Child’s Creativity
As I mentioned in my last post (Part I), creativity allows children to develop skills for life. So how can you encourage creativity in your child?
First of all, you don’t even have to consider yourself creative. Raising a creative kid is more about the attitude you have toward your child than your actual skills as an artist or innovator. Some of the attitudes that parents can focus on include, respecting the freedom to think and question, valuing creativity, appreciating creative achievements, and encouraging independent ideas.
So, if we were to sum up these, it would seem that the most important role as a parent to supporting your child’s creativity would be to encourage curiosity and openness.
Here are some examples of specific creative activities divided by discipline that work well with children of all ages. I encourage you to make it an entire family event.
Create an art studio in your home: It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. It could just be a box of crayons, pencils, markers, and paper. You could keep it in their room or a spare corner. Encourage them to spend some time each day just creating for the fun of it.
Go on a color/texture/pattern scavenger hunt: This could be done at home, while shopping, or outside. Ask kids to find and identify different types of each of these. It helps kids to become more observant.
Collect the work they create: You can hang it on your refrigerator to create a mini-gallery. Encourage them to look over previous works to see how far they’ve come creatively. Plus, looking back at prior works gives them inspiration for future art.
Play instruments: Recycle household materials to make instruments. For instance, plastic tubs can be cleaned out, turned over, and used as drums. Or try filling empty plastic jugs with dried beans.
Sing together: Find music you can sing along to. Or create your own silly songs by having kids choose rhyming words.
Make a stage in your home: This can be as simple as hanging a curtain or a blanket over some chairs. Encourage kids to act out stories from their favorite books or tv shows.
Put on a puppet show: Using the already created stage, decorate old socks by adding a face with markers.
Designate a dance studio: Use a small space to allow kids to express themselves through movement. Provide them with scarves and music to encourage their creativity.
Discover new movements: Have kids make shapes or animals with their bodies.
Move to music: Encourage kids to run, skip, or walk to music. This allows them to increase their listening skills and physical creativity.
Play the “what if” game: Ask children fun questions to stimulate their creativity, like ‘what if our clothes were edible?’ See what creative answers they come up with.
Melanie Sklarz leads innovative programs for museums as a teacher and curator, most recently in Washington, DC. Also an informative speaker, she has facilitated workshops for creative women entrepreneurs and led a parent workshop on raising creative kids.
Melanie is also a mixed media artist specializing in collage. Her artwork has been exhibited at the FAVA Gallery in Oberlin, Ohio, the Dialogue Gallery in Buffalo and The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, Virginia.
Finally, as a blogger, she has been a panelist on a women bloggers discussion and her blog has been added to Creativity-Portal.com’s creative journey blogs.
Melissa’s Note: Aren’t you so glad I convinced Melanie to guest blog? She’s so encouraging for us as parents who seek to develop young creative spirits, isn’t she!? Thanks so much, Melanie for your creative inspiration!