Ahh, what did kids do before XBOX and Wii? What did kids do before computer games? Well, they probably had a much stronger imagination. And imagination is important to a child’s cognitive development. Studies show that children who have imaginary friends are more likely to be more creative and better able to solve problems.
As it turns out, the things that you are able to do for free with your children are also some of the best for them, like engaging them in creativity. Here are some ways to encourage creativity in kids that doesn’t cost a lot of money:
- Make-believe – A few items from the closet, like hats, purses, and common household items can be transformed into characters with a little imagination. Get your child to come up with stories based around those characters and act them out. Kids love it when adults join them in their make-believe storytelling. This helps to strengthen their communication skills and builds confidence.
- Reading aloud – Creativity is about making associations between different kinds of ideas and creating something new from them. Reading and hearing stories stimulates their creativity by getting them to be exposed to new things. Also, reading aloud to your kids helps improve their listening skills. It can be entertaining and educational.
- Encourage independence – Allow kids to make as many independent choices as possible. Kids and adults will tend to stick with things that excite them. Let them choose the hobbies, books, games, and activities they want. Then give them the tools and encouragement they need to succeed.
- Forget about results – Studies show that children from a results-oriented culture like China tend to be less creative because they are so pressured to focus on memorizing information and passing tests. Creativity is a process of it’s own with no test at the end. Let kids experiment without deadlines or the stress of actually producing anything at all. They will learn more about creativity through the actual trial and error process.
Kids are naturally curious and open minded. Challenge them and nurture that curiosity, and allow them to make their own mistakes, while keeping them safe.