Sparking your child’s imagination and creative thinking is easier than you might think. It’s not unusual for practical life skills to take precedence over teaching children how to get creative and use their imagination. Studies show that creative people generally have an easier time reading people and empathising with others. They are more often able to see issues from multiple perspectives and have above average self control, likely because they are better able to find multiple ways to resolve an issue.
Nurturing your child’s imagination and creativity isn’t just limited to story telling and picture drawing. Yes, it is definitely a part of it but there are many opportunities in day-to-day life to model creative thinking and encourage imaginative solutions. Here is a list of easy ways you can help stimulate creative and imaginative thinking with your child:
- Instead of immediately answering a child’s question or solving an issue for them, first ask them what he or she thinks. Make sure to support their ideas and offer assistance rather than just a solution.
- Let your child take lead during play time with you. This will allow them to stretch their imagination rather than be guided by an adult.
- Ask for your child’s opinion when solving family issues. For example, how should we organise our toys? Where is the best place to hang this picture? This allows your child to feel important and creates a space for them to formulate creative solutions.
- When playing old games with your child, try encouraging them to think up new ways to improve the game, or make up a new game all together.
- Stretch your child’s imagination by asking them a daily quirky question. For example, if you could be a super hero, what power would you like to have and why?
- Lead by example and try tackling everyday problems yourself instead of hiring someone to do it. This shows your child it is normal to find your own creative solutions.
- When shopping with your child try to find a food they have never eaten before. Help your child look for recipes online and cook it together. You can even try altering the recipe to see if you can make it better!
- Instead of immediately trying to console your child about something they feel they have failed at, try asking them questions about the experience. “How do you think you could have done better?” This will encourage them to think creatively about the experience so that they can improve next time.
- Put more emphasis on praising your child’s effort, rather than the result. Motivating hard work and problem solving leaves a much more lasting impression than a test score.
- Encourage your child to play with open-ended toys, that is, toys that can be moulded or used in a variety of ways depending on where their imagination takes them. Some examples include building blocks, play dough, art easel, stuffed toys and dress up clothes.
At Angel’s Paradise we encourage healthy learning and imaginative solutions.