1. Don’t Provide Answers
Before we dive into this tip, let’s take a moment to clarify that you shouldn’t provide immediate answers when your child asks questions. While the questions aren’t likely to be too tough during the preschool years, it’s a great stage to practice answering their questions with a question. Practice the habit of asking them what they think before you provide an answer. This seemingly small shift will help them cultivate their creative-thinking skills, as well as allow you to help guide their thought processes as you understand their reasoning.
2. Let Them Get Dirty
Unfortunately, many families unconsciously prevent their children from getting dirty. When you think back to your own childhood, however, you may remember that some of the most fun memories involve playing in the rain and mud, digging in the dirt, and more. Not only are you enabling them to use their imagination in different ways, but you will also help them to feel free and happy in a way that they may not when they are aware they need to stay clean.
3. Use “What If?” Questions
What if you could be invisible for an entire day? What if you could fly? What if there were no bugs? As you think about these questions, your imagination begins to work to fill in possibilities. While you may think of more logical answers by virtue of being an adult, imagine some of the answers your child might offer. Try to come up with a “what if?” question once a day or once a week to keep their imagination muscles working. You might just be surprised at some of the fun conversations that result from these questions.
4. Solve A Family Problem Together
A unique way to foster creativity in your child and help them feel like an important part of the family is to ask them to help you solve a family problem. For example, if the living room always seems to be a mess, then you might ask them what can be done about it? Not only will they need to use creative thinking to come up with possible solutions, but they also will feel like a valued member of the family. An added bonus might be that they come up with a great solution to the problem!
5. Go On A Nature Walk
Take a walk with your child and look for items such as rocks, twigs, flowers, and leaves to collect. Be sure to bring a bag on the walk to make collection easier. Encourage your child to select just one of each item to ensure that you have a variety of items when you return home. Depending on your child’s age, you can ask them to tell you their observations of each object, create a story with the objects, or trace the shapes on paper as you discuss how they look, feel, and smell.
6. Provide Unstructured Time
While there are many more tips for fostering creativity in your child, one of the best ways you can help is to provide unstructured time for them to play and entertain themself. Whether they play indoors or outside in the backyard, they will be developing the skills that help them to think and see things in a more creative way. Trying to plan activities for every moment of the day is one of the worst things to do if you want to foster a truly creative child. Planned activities are fun, but do not require your child to figure out how to occupy themself. The act of choosing what to do is, in itself, a truly creative accomplishment.