As Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. As a parent, creativity is one of the most important traits and skills to nurture and support in your child; creativity is the basis for independence, problem-solving and many other characteristics of successful adults. However, many older children lose touch with their imagination. So, beyond the obvious, encouraging arts like drawing and painting, how can a parent cultivate creativity in their child, from infant age to their teenage years?
Start at a young age with creative exploration
Before your child is of the age to hold a pencil, you can provide them creative stimulation through sensory play. Sensory play is defined as anything that engages your child’s senses; touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing. By introducing your young child to a variety of new textures and experiences, you foster their curiosity, which will be invaluable in raising them as a creative young adult.
You can produce a variety of sensory activities at home with very little cost.
Raise keen observers
The game ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’ has been played by generations, and for a good reason. Not only does it provide entertainment, but it also gets children to engage with the world around them, as well as teaching them the basics of spelling.
Awareness and observation skills are crucial to creativity, as it’s by joining the dots between thoughts that new ideas come to the fore. You can raise your child to be observant by playing games like ‘I Spy…’ and getting them into the practice of being mindful in their surroundings. For example, when walking home from school, give your child a color, it could be pink, and then ask them to tell you everything that they notice is pink on the walk home. Then, when back at home, get them to write for 5 minutes about just one of the pink items they saw; who did the item belong to, where was it, and so on.
A positive flair for the dramatic
Teens often need no encouragement to be over-dramatic about situations, but an active interest in drama and performance can be a great indicator that you’re raising a creative soul. From a young age, you can fortify an interest in performance arts by making impressions, mimicking accents, or role-playing around the house. As this Montessori School in Essex explains, dramatic performance helps children gain confidence, self-expression and act on their imagination.
Celebrate your child’s creativity
In whichever way your child starts to illustrate creative ability, this skill or talent needs to be reinforced by praise and celebration. Positive feedback is paramount to inspire repeat behavior, so make a song and dance of your child’s creative expression. You can display their pieces of art around the house and be a willing audience to their stage shows. If you can introduce creative activities at a very young age, send them to a school which respects the arts and encourage divergent thinking when they’re at home, you’re setting them up for a creative adulthood.