When you are a busy parent it’s often hard to find the time to do the things that are SO important with littlies because regular life takes over (work, shopping, laundry, housework need I go on?)
Encouraging creativity in little ones is so important though and needs to come to the front of the list when it comes to parenting and childcare!
Creativite play sparks independent thinking, imagination and confidence, it also encourages speech development and self-thinking!
Nurturing your child’s creative abilities involves a bit of letting go really. You need to back off a little and leave their little minds to work on their own artistic and inventive decisions. This doesn’t mean leaving them to work on their ideas alone; Just to take a step back and be at hand to answer questions or help with tricky projects!
It’s very important that you provide reassurance when creative play and projects don’t go right. Ask questions such as ‘why wont the head stay on the robot?’ and work together to fix the problem. Always praise your littly for trying and join in when invited (Home role play- making a cup of tea ‘ooh its yummy’).
It’s helpful to your child if you trigger creative play by asking thought-provoking questions concerning the whys, hows, wheres and whats or by providing materials for play such as a large box( ‘what could it become? how could you make it become that?’)
When should I start to encourage creative play?
As soon as you can! You’ll see your littlies first attempts at creative play before they can even walk! Games of peek-a-boo are already encouraging imaginative play and creativity! Footprinting fun- turning a footprint into something else such a a buzzy bee are encouraging creativity from an early age!
Toddlers love role play – even before they are talking, little ones enjoy teddy bear picnics, dolls in prams, make-believe cooking and painting and crafts, a magical walk (‘where are the fairies hiding?’)
Your littly is smarter than you think! Try giving your 2 year old a floaty scarf. What does it become? A hidey place, a cape, a swirly snake on the floor? Encourage as much as you can and make time at least once a week (if you are very busy,) to have that special creative playtime.
Creative play ideas…
Some children go through a phase of having a pretend friend. Don’t worry! This is just another side of their creativeness and imagination coming alive. It doesn’t harm to set another place at the table!
Art and crafts
Your littly can develop creativity through painting, sculpting with play dough or clay, water painting, drawing, colouring, painting, sticking and junk model building. see our messy fun time area for more ideas on creative fun for your littly.
Try not to guide the activity too much and just be on hand to advise and supervise.
Music is a great way of encouraging creativity.
Listen to music and imagine where you could be! Classical music provides a variety of imaginative creations – are you in an enchanted forest perhaps or a jungle?
Encourage your child to make their own instruments! a bottle and some dried peas make for a fab music shaker- let them think about what would go inside to make a louder or different sound. Look around the house for things that could be turned into musical instruments – keys? Saucepans? encourage your littlies to think for themselves!
Turn old boxes into kitchens (draw some cooking rings on top of a box and let them play with your saucepans and pots)
Provide clothes to dress up in- your old hats and shoes – it doesnt have to be expensive dress-up outfits from shops.
Set up a doctors surgery or vet practice. Toys are great patients and can provide hours of fun and creative play!
Encourage ‘den building’ out of old sheets and blankets – this homemade tipi (pictured above left) provided hours of fun!
Have a teddy-bears or toys picnic – if it’s raining, indoors is just as much fun as the garden! Again – try not to lead the creative activity too much and sit back and supervise. Join in if invited and let them lead the play.