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Our Favourite Ways to Boost your Child's Creativity

Children have amazing and often zany imaginations, which can be key in later life. We asked a primary teacher for some helpful activities to bring out more of the creative spirit in your little one

 

As adults, we become quite stuck in our ways and unless we're an artist or a designer, our creativity can be confined by the jobs we do and the lives we lead.

But children are often bursting with creative ideas. They want to tell stories and create things; they create alternative universes, have tea with imaginary friends and have an open view of what is possible.

Get the creative juices flowing!

It can be difficult to understand where they are coming from when you're making dinner for the family, while washing the sheets, overseeing homework and prepping for a big meeting the next day. But allowing your child the time to foster their creativity can have a significant effect on their future - whether it's their grades, their careers, or their ability to think outside the box.

Even if you can't imagine a blue princess living in a castle made of cauliflower, pretend for a moment that you do. Listen to their stories and foster their ability to be creative.

We asked Primary teacher Rachel Barker for her top tips on how you can help your children be more creative and increase the number of smiles all around.

Make up a story using props

Collect some objects and toys from around the house to use as props in a made-up story.

Start by giving them an example, e.g. "Once upon a time, Teddy was feeling very sad. He had no one to play with. Suddenly, there was a loud, impatient knock at the door. It was owl, holding a..."

Help your children if they are stuck for ideas, but they will probably want to join in when they see how much fun you are having.

Note: Talking 'through' a puppet or toy can often get a shy child to join in.

Nursery rhyme giggles

Take a familiar nursery rhyme and have some fun with it. For example, start by saying:

  • Humpty Dumpty sat on a chair
  • Humpty Dumpty sat on a... bicycle!

See if your children will join in. The more the family giggles, the more it seems to encourage children to think up their own creative, wacky ideas.

Tell a story JUST from the pictures

Even if your children are just starting to read, announce that today, no one is allowed to read the words, even you! Alternate telling stories with reading stories as this will help them to use the vocabulary they are learning to read in their stories.

Begin by modelling storytelling by interpreting what you see in the pictures.

Emphasise that, because words are banned, there are no 'right' or 'wrong' ways to tell the story: everyone can narrate how they see the pictures.

This is a wonderful way to encourage thinking skills, interpretation and narrative flow.

You may find the plot gets lost with some picture books, but don't let that spoil the fun you are having, sharing ideas with your creative brood.

Note: Remember your rule about there being no 'right' or 'wrong' way to interpret the story, and just enjoy whatever your children have to say.

Think up creative uses for a pencil

Think up as many alternative uses for a pencil (or other common object) as you can.

Start the ball rolling by suggesting: a drumstick; a back-scratcher; one half of a pair of chopsticks; a spike to make holes in a paper lid to allow a pet mouse to breathe inside a box...

Scratch your head a lot, to model the thinking process, and demonstrate your ideas to add to the fun.

Accept whatever ideas they offer. If you criticise their first idea, you may find it is their last!

Note: If you can, let each person have the object in their hand - it really stimulates creativity, especially for younger children. Encourage your children to suggest objects for the next round too; just finding suitable everyday objects is a creative exercise in itself, and will make them feel more engaged in the game.

Dance as though no one is watching

Get moving and giggling by dancing to your children's favourite CD, or just take pot luck by turning on the radio.

Regular exercise increases the amount of grey matter in your brain, as well as being fun and good for physical health.

Each person can take turns to suggest a theme. For example, 'Dance like an elephant,' or 'Dance like Shaun the Sheep', or 'Dance like a happy mouse' etc. The experience of everybody in the family following their lead will boost your children's confidence to express their own creativity.

Just make sure the curtains are closed, so the neighbours can't see you!

 
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