I am thrilled to have Shara Lawrence-Weiss of Mommy Perks and Personal Child Stories as a guest here today! Shara has an extensive background in early childhood education and she was kind enough to share her insights on how we can all foster creativity in our children. Thanks Shara!
* * * * * * * * * * *
Fostering creativity in kids: birth-teen
By Shara Lawrence-Weiss, Mommy Perks
Simple ways to foster creativity in babies include singing, gently dancing while holding your child, basic story telling, etc. Even if your baby can’t yet answer, she/he will hear you, listen to your tone and take in everything you are doing/saying.
At this age children are picking up on every detail of their day. Sing songs, dance, color, do simple craft projects, collect leaves/rocks/sticks, read lots of rhyming books with quality text and play CD’s that teach about colors/shapes/numbers/letters/animals/family/feelings.
Toddlers want to touch, explore, learn, ask questions and feel as though they are “in charge” of something. Do your best to offer this environment. Keep your child safe but attempt to hold the words, “Don’t do that!” to a minimum. Allow your child to explore both indoors and outdoors. Birds, trees, streams and more – all offer creative exploring. Talk about what you see, feel and hear each day. How could something small be embellished? Does a cloud look like a dog? Does a tree appear to be bending down to hug someone? There’s so many things to think about and ponder! Playing dress-up is another way to encourage creativity. Young children adore dressing up in play clothing, hats, mom or dad’s shoes/ties/jewelry, etc.
Your child is likely entering school now (or is home schooled). Attending plays, musicals and educational movies is a good way to foster creativity. Reading and singing continue to be great ways to foster creativity now, also. Story telling can become more detailed with “to be continued” story-lines. Give your child time to consider how the story will carry on the next evening. Bake and cook together, adding unique and fun ingredients that might not be called for in the recipe book. Extend on school projects at home through additional reading, talking, questions, field trips and so on. Visit farms, museums and zoos, too! Incorporate crafts into your weekly activities (see Freckles Crafts for great kits, ready to use with no waste).
Field trips, swimming, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, crafts, theatre, traveling, journaling, music or art lessons, sports and more! At this age, kids are ready for more detailed activities that foster creativity. If you have incorporated the things above, your child will readily embrace the “more.” If not, your child may hold back a bit and will need some extra encouragement to jump in. Don’t over-schedule but rather, choose a few activities each year that your child is excited about and will engage in, willingly. This will also make it easier to talk about their day; if they are enjoying what they are doing, talking about it will come naturally.
While kids at this stage typically enjoy electronics and gaming now, creativity can continue to be fostered in un-plugged ways. Play board games together and games that engage everyone in the family: talking about feelings, opening up, sharing ideas and so on. Attend events together that foster communication and thinking. Kids at this stage need avenues for sharing their own developing opinions and they need to know you are listening. What’s their opinion about politics? Friendships? Faith? Clothing? Music? Movies? Games? Encourage your child to consider not only their own opinions but those of others. Empathy should be established and built from birth and during the tween/teen years children can put those lessons into action. If your child is interested in hosting a fundraiser to help others, say yes! Would he/she like to write an essay for the paper, sharing ideas for how to end hunger? Help! All of the work you‘ve done to foster creativity can now be put into real action for the betterment of your community.
The ideas above are general suggestions. Please feel free to mix and match, at different ages and stages, depending on your own child’s needs and abilities.
A Little About Shara!
Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, freelance, special needs, nanny work and marketing. Shara resides in Northern Arizona with her three adorable children and husband. For more information about Shara please visit the following websites: Mommy Perks, Kids Perks, Early Childhood News and Resources, Pine Media and Personal Child Stories.
Did you like this? Share it: