Children are the world’s biggest creative force, we just need to encourage and harness that naïve, wonderful, endless imagination. It’s important to stimulate their minds early on and teach them to think creatively about the world, as that’s the basis for a lot of the skills they will utilize later. Plus, it’s fun!
There are lots of ways to bring out the creativity in kids and put that imagination to good use. Here are 6 fun ideas that encourage kids to use and develop their creativity.
Sometimes, the best way to get through to children and get them to exercise their creativity, stimulate their imagination, and incorporate their ideas is to have them write a story. But don’t give them free reign; paradoxically, unrestricted freedom can cause a creativity block, because there are too many options.
Instead, supply them with a prompt, or certain words or markers they have to hit. Suppose their story needs to include an animal, a color, a country, and the number 7. That gives everyone a starting point and a guideline. They can start building their story around these elements. But at the same time, it also teaches them to use these elements in context, or even better – think outside the box and use these basics in creative, exciting ways.
One of the most popular activities for kids is to have them build something they know – a house, a bridge, a castle, etc. but using materials that aren’t created for this purpose. Anyone can build a castle out of building blocks, but can everyone build a bridge out of straws? What about a house made out of popsicle sticks?
This type of activity is excellent to get those creative ideas flowing and come up with new approaches to attain the same ultimate goal. It can be a solitary activity, but it works even better as a group activity. That way, everyone can come together and use their imagination to create something truly unique. You will be surprised at what children are capable of when given a challenge.
Kids love playing pretend, and it’s always a good idea to get them thinking about the future. What if you had children come up with a business idea and pitched it? Think of it as a Children’s Shark Tank.
It’s really important to get children thinking creatively about problem-solving. What is something they need or would like? What is their dream product? How would they get you to buy it? That puts them in a position where they need to come up with creative ideas, but also think about the way they need to present it to make it seem interesting.
In a way, it’s like telling a story, but with applications in real life. It’s never too early to inspire possible future entrepreneurs.
Children need to be challenged, pushed, and prompted to expand their horizons, put their minds at work, and flex that creative muscle. A great way to teach them to think for themselves and use their imaginations is to ask them to explain a concept they may not understand, or give a response to a question they may not know. Why is the sky blue? Why do some animals have tails? How does the internet get to us? How do boats float?
The aim isn’t for them to necessarily give correct answers, it is to encourage them to be curious, to think critically, and to come up with possible explanations. It teaches them to question things they normally take for granted and to try to understand how and why they work. Emphasize that there are no wrong answers and then give them the real explanation.
A good general practice is to never jump with a direct answer when kids ask “how?” and “why?”. Instead, start by asking them what they think the explanation might be. Really listen to what they have to say, you will be surprised at their imagination and even the accuracy of the explanations they come up with.
Kids’ imagination truly has no limits, and that’s the most entertaining toy they can ever get their hands on. Can you imagine anything you would have liked more as a child than to imagine a toy and then make it a reality?
Why not do that for your kids? Have them imagine and draw a new animal. It can be a scary beast, a cuddly creature, or an animal that’s half-cat, half polka dot horse. Let them run wild.
Then, based on their own drawing and understanding of the creature, have them create it. All you need is some fabric, stuffing, buttons and beads, and needles and thread. Encourage them to follow their own design and bring the fruit of their imagination to life.
Problem-solving is a massively important skill that they will use throughout their whole life, so it should be nurtured as early as possible. It marries creativity with out of the box thinking, so it’s something you want to actively encourage as a parent or educator.
Presenting them with a problem-solving game that features different scenarios and situations is a great exercise, and these are easy to find online, on websites and apps. Even the classic problem of the wolf, the goat, and the cabbage is an excellent puzzle to pique their curiosity and give them a taste of applying reasoning and creativity to situations, real or imagined.
The best thing about children is their unrestricted imagination, and it is our duty to encourage it and stimulate it as much as we can. Using their imagination helps them solidify skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative thinking, all of which are essential life skills.
We can help them build upon these skills and unleash their imagination by engaging them in fun, creative exercises. From writing stories to creating their own toys, solving problems creatively, or even giving a business pitch, any of these activities will not just keep the kids entertained, but they also offer a valuable opportunity to put that amazing imagination to good use.