“I’m just not the creative type”. How many of you have said this to get out of a school craft project? Yet, we all practice creativity on a daily basis… From navigating a route around the traffic to whipping up dinner with what’s left in the fridge or even, simply, deciding what to wear each morning.
What is creativity and why do we need it?
“Much of creativity does not necessarily have to do with the arts. Activities in our everyday lives provide us with numerous opportunities for problem solving, lateral thinking and widening our thought patterns,” comments Liz Senior, Occupational Therapist and Founder of Clamber Club. “While creativity is a skill that should be nurtured from a very young age, it is something that we continue to develop throughout our lives,” she adds.
Creative activities provide a number of benefits
- Enhance the ability to visualise.
- Provide problem-solving and decision-making opportunities.
- Promote lateral thinking.
- Help to refine gross and fine motor skills.
- Assist in the development of concentration.
- Provide an immense feeling of satisfaction and gratification.
Creativity is also an important aspect of your child’s emotional development. Creativity helps them to communicate by expressing thoughts and feelings through dancing, drawing, pretend play or making music.
How can I help my child to be creative?
All art and other creative experiences are first perceived through the senses. Provide a rich sensory environment for your child that allows them to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. Expose your child to different art forms, listen to a wide variety of music and talk about the beauty of the world around you.
You should also encourage your child to think up games and story ideas and come up with their own solutions to problems.
Before starting a creative activity with your child, ask yourself a number of questions… Will the activity develop the imagination? Does it offer a sensory experience? Will it allow the freedom to experiment? Will it provide them with a feeling of success or satisfaction?
Children need to be given time to play in an unstructured way. They need time to reflect, to imagine and to use their own initiative in play. This is what allows creativity and imagination to develop.
Fun and games to inspire creativity
Painting and drawing
- Use finger-paint to paint on large surfaces using big arm movements.
- Scribble on paving stones with chalk.
- Make a collage out of sand, lentils, raisins and leaves.
- Sing your own silly songs, making up your own words.
- Fill empty plastic water bottles to make ‘shakers’.
- Dance together to a variety of music.
Drama and storytelling
- Collect old photographs and encourage your child to make up stories in sequence.
- Provide a dress-up box with scraps of material for the child to create costumes.
- Build a house by hanging a blanket over a table. Leave your child to invent the rest.
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