Have you ever been asked to come up with something for a work or school project and you immediately replied “oh, I’m not very creative?” How are we supposed to cultivate creativity with that mindset? What happened to all our incredible cardboard-box forts and sock-puppet shows we made as kids? It’s almost like we hit a certain age and just handed in our creativity license. Painting? Crafts? Oh, no—our creativity license has expired. We’re too old and boring for that now.
For some reason, society has taught us that creativity isn’t important and we don’t have time for it, but oh, how wrong they are. It is so important that we cultivate creativity—it’s how we grow!
Let’s look at a few ways to encourage creativity in children so they don’t hand over their creativity license in the coming years. And if you think you’re not creative anymore, you’ve got another thing coming!
How to Cultivate Creativity
Kids are born with creativity. I mean, have you ever asked one of your little ones to tell you a story or draw you a picture? It’s amazing what they can come up with! But how can you help them continue to cultivate creativity?
Having your young children play with open-ended toys allows them to imagine and create anything they want. Cars and dolls can be fun too, but when your child uses toys like Legos or Play-Doh, they have a greater ability to express themselves. Activities like drawing or painting can also prove to be great creative outlets for your little ones. Even some apps out there can help your child cultivate creativity. Check out Troomi to find what apps and devices fit your child best. And if you’re running low on ideas, never underestimate what a child can do with a cardboard box, some markers, and a pair of scissors (with parental supervision, of course).
Creative Family Activities
If you have kids of all different ages, consider doing some creative family activities together. This will help your children to cultivate creativity, and it can help you cultivate creativity too! Make up a skit, create a picture scavenger hunt, or paint pottery together. Not only will these activities help your family cultivate creativity, but they will also help you grow closer together.
Your kids are probably already involved in plenty of activities, but encourage them to get involved with something creative. It could be art, photography, writing, music, carpentry, or welding—just a hobby that allows them to make or do something that’s uniquely theirs. These hobbies can help your child continue to cultivate creativity even after they’ve outgrown their Legos and Play-Doh. You might even follow the example of your creative children and pick up one of these hobbies yourself.
Why Creativity Matters
You might be thinking, “I’ve made it this far without creativity—why is it so important?” Let’s take a look at a few reasons.
Believe it or not, creativity doesn’t just encourage imagination in your little ones. Creative children actually benefit developmentally as well. Creativity helps children with emotional, mental, language, motor, and cognitive development by encouraging them to solve problems, interact with others, and use fine motor skills.
Creativity at any age helps build critical skills like problem-solving and open-mindedness. As we experiment with creativity, we can find new solutions by thinking outside the box. Maybe you’re making jewelry and can’t figure out how to get the piece to hang the way you’d like. As you try out different ways and accept suggestions for things you hadn’t considered before, you’re exercising your problem-solving skills and practicing open-mindedness to others’ ideas.
Learning How to Cultivate Creativity = Happier, Healthier You
One of the most notable benefits of creativity is its ability to keep us happy and healthy. Not only can creativity keep you mentally healthy by reducing stress, but it might even help you live longer. And what about self-esteem? Take note of the pride you feel after completing a difficult project. When you create something that’s uniquely your own, you not only express yourself but you also feel more accomplished which can help boost your self-confidence.
Now that you know a few ways to encourage creativity in children and how to cultivate creativity in yourself, there’s nothing stopping you. So next time you’re tempted to push creativity aside as “unimportant,” remember all the ways it can benefit you and your children, and instead, choose to make time to cultivate creativity!