Creativity is not always valued in our culture. We tend to think that reading and math are all that matter. Our schools are indicative of this. Most kids hardly get any arts education anymore. It just isn’t valued. If this continues, the world will become quite boring. Math and reading and science all matter. They matter a lot. However, so does art and entertainment and beauty. We have to find ways to encourage these skills just as much as we teach long division and reading comprehension. If your kids aren’t getting enough of this at school or if you want them to get more then read on for 5 simple ways to encourage their creativity.
Play music. This sounds simple… and it is. But, playing music is a great way to creative juices flowing and encourage dance, singing and even the playing of instruments. It will also teach kids to appreciate music. Even if they never become a musician they will understand the value of music. Play music as much as possible and let them learn to enjoy it as a part of their everyday life.
Keep art supplies available. This can be tough because parents, understandably, don’t want to leave paints and play-doh out for the kids to use as weapons of mass destruction all over the house. However, you can choose some less messy supplies and keep them out for your child to use when they feel the urge. Try leaving out tissue paper to be cut or torn, washable crayons and scrap paper, childproof scissors and (if you trust them enough) stickers. That way, when the urge hits, they can go get busy one some art.
Encourage dramatic play with dress up clothes, props, etc. Let your kids be whatever they want to be. When they come to you dressed up, don’t say “Oh you’re a princess!” Instead, ask them “What are you today?” You may be surprised by their answer. Moreover, join in on their play. If they are a roaring dragon, run and act frightened. If they are serving tea, sit down and have a sip.
Encourage them to tell stories even before they can write. You can record some of their stories for them and write them in a book. You can also make videos of them telling their stories. Once they can write, give them a journal (with a lock!) and never intrude on it. Allow that to be a sacred space.
Take them out into the world and show them art. Bring them to art galleries, concerts, plays and more. Let them go to bookstores and revel in the creativity of others who wrote wonderful works. Teach them that art is everywhere and point it out wherever you see it.
If art is important to you then it will be important to them. If you value creativity, they will too. Your child may never be the next Van Gogh but that’s not the point. An early love of the arts will foster an innovative and inventive mind, a respect for others, confidence and a general sense of happiness and joy.