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Key Takeaways:

  • At a young age, children learn to become creative through exploration and play. Creative kids have big imaginations and often generate new ideas.
  • It’s essential for kids to exercise their creativity, as it makes them better communicators and problem-solvers.
  • Some creative exercises to try with kids include arts and crafts, gardening, dancing, playing music, and improvisation.

Many parents assume that creativity is an inborn talent—that their children are born with or without it. The truth is that creativity is a skill that parents and caregivers can help develop.

Because creativity plays an essential role in a child’s future success, practicing creativity activities with your kids can inspire flexibility, better problem-solving skills, and the confidence to express themselves.

Definition of Creativity for Kids

Creativity is the ability to generate novel ideas, solutions, and expressions. Creative children often think outside the box, connecting seemingly unrelated concepts and approaching problems innovatively.

Children learn to become creative through exploration and play. They are innately curious, leading them to explore the world around them. When parents provide their children with opportunities for autonomy and the freedom to discover, kids can express themselves freely and without fear of judgment.

Importance of Developing Creativity in Kids

Reinforcing creativity in children makes them better problem-solvers, as they approach issues from different perspectives and can develop innovative solutions. Creative children who think critically are likelier to succeed in their daily and academic pursuits.

Creativity makes children resilient and encourages them to persist when their progress becomes hindered. Because creative and critical thinking goes hand-in-hand, they are precursors for career success [*].

In addition, engaging in creative activities is often therapeutic and promotes emotional well-being [*]. How? When parents and teachers encourage creativity in children, they develop proactive personalities. Proactive children are biased toward action, solving problems, and taking personal responsibility. They are oriented toward personal development and are excited to succeed, making them less stressed and more self-reliant.

13 Activities to Foster Creativity in Kids

Creativity goes beyond creation, and there are so many ways to inspire it. Here are a few simple and fun creativity exercises for kids.

1. Drawing

Drawing comes naturally to many children—you’ve probably already had the pleasure of wiping crayon marks off your walls! From infancy, children are keen on experimenting with drawing tools. As a parent or caregiver, the key is to focus on the process—not the final product.

Provide your child with safe and age-appropriate drawing tools and give them the freedom to create whatever they want. Through drawing, your child will develop better hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills [*].

2. Painting

The best way to immerse your child in the world of painting is to go beyond the typical brush and canvas. Have them experiment with finger, sponge, roller, and spray painting. Introduce various painting instruments like feathers, string, toothbrushes, and mediums like acrylics and watercolors.

Painting is a messy yet enjoyable experience that promotes sensory development and gives your child a sense of accomplishment.

3. Theme-based art projects

Theme-based art projects are fun and engaging for sparking creativity in children, especially when they feel “stuck” about what to create. Some themes you can suggest include forest or sea animals, outer space, superheroes, fairy tales, or portraits of family members and friends.

4. Storytelling

Crafting stories together is an excellent way to encourage imaginative thoughts. You can read aloud together, make up stories on the spot, act out your child’s favorite books, or even write and illustrate a picture book together.

5. Journaling

Journaling is an excellent tool for self-expression and provides children with a private space to ponder their thoughts. Through journaling, kids can develop communication skills and identify and express their emotions thoughtfully.

Journaling also promotes self-reflection and awareness, allowing kids to gain insights on their past experiences.

6. Cosplaying

When children delve into the world of their favorite characters, they can reflect upon why they relate to them. Cosplaying provides a wonderful opportunity for your child to think about their best features or what traits about their favorite characters inspire them.

Most cosplayers also create their own costumes, allowing children to flex their skills and resourcefulness as they figure out how to bring their visions to life.

7. Crafting puppets

Puppet crafting leaves so much room for imagination. Children can create unique characters ranging from fantasy beasts to everyday objects come to life—the possibilities are endless. Through puppet-making, children can explore the art of self-expression, developing personalities, voices, and mannerisms of their own creation.

Children can use their puppets to act out scenes and improvise dialogues, developing their communication skills and engaging in imaginative play.

8. Building blocks

If you have a younger child, building blocks are great for open-ended play and exploration. Children can experiment with differently shaped, sized, and colored blocks, allowing them to be imaginative with their designs. As an added perk, building blocks help refine a child’s spatial awareness and fine motor skills.

9. Music instrument exploration

Dabbling in music, whether learning to play an instrument or experimenting with singing, is a great way to introduce volume, echo, rhythm, pitch, and tempo. Beyond learning how to play an instrument, you can immerse your child in musical pieces from their favorite films.

10. Dancing

As young children learn to move and control their bodies in expressive ways, they may show interest in learning to dance. Through dance, kids have higher self-confidence and self-esteem and also experience physical benefits like healthy blood pressure, better agility, increased muscular strength, and improved cardiovascular health [*]. You can enroll your child in dance classes or just go wild at home!

11. Planting and gardening

While iPads and screen time have become a staple in many households, nothing quite beats spending time outdoors. Get your child immersed in nature by planting and gardening. Creativity-wise, caring for a plant patch will teach children that there are many ways to keep their garden healthy.

Children can also be hands-on about decorating their garden spaces and become curious about other plant and animal life.

12. Roleplaying

During pretend play, children naturally tap into their cognitive abilities and skills. As Albert Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge, and roleplay helps children embrace the world and its uniqueness.

Roleplaying also fosters social and emotional development, as children learn to interact and cooperate with others. It provides opportunities to improve language skills, expanding a child’s vocabulary and enabling them to create many fun and exciting play scenarios.

13. Improv and acting games

Improvisation encourages kids to think on their feet. Through fun improv games, they become sharper communicators and creative thinkers. Some improvisation games include storytelling circles or word-at-a-time stories, which encourage creativity and listening skills.

Another game you can try is the character switch, in which two players set the scene, with the audience instructing them to switch at any given moment. Throw a few props in to make things more exciting.

The Bottom Line

When children learn to be creative, they become better problem-solvers and are more confident in their abilities to think on the fly. By hosting creativity activities for preschoolers and older kids, children can better learn to think outside the box.

Don’t forget to check out our character education posters to help your child improve their interpersonal skills.

Sources:

  1. Fernández-Díaz JR, Gutiérrez-Ortega M, Llamas-Salguero F, Cantón-Mayo I. “Creativity and Resilience as Predictors of Career Success.” Sustainability, 2021.
  2. Jenaabadi H, Shahidi R, Elhamifar A, Khademi H. “Examine the Relationship of Emotional Intelligence and Creativity with Academic Achievement of Second Period High School Students.” World Journal of Neuroscience, 2015.
  3. Minciacchi D. “Assessing the Development of Fine Motor Control in Elementary School Children Using Drawing and Tracing Tasks.” Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2021.
  4. Fong Yan A, Cobley S, Chan C, et al. “The Effectiveness of Dance Interventions on Physical Health Outcomes Compared to Other Forms of Physical Activity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Sports Medicine, 2017.

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