Having crayons at the ready and being a playdough professional goes with the parenting territory. But what is the next step?
Once our children are settled at school, many of us can feel like we have done our bit for getting our children’s creativity started. We have sat patiently helping to colour in, hold scissors, stick shiny bits of paper on to larger pieces of shiny paper and molded play dough into an almost perfect pig. It can be easy to become deterred from attempting more advanced creative projects when our children bring home elaborate creations from school that need a whole shelf to be displayed on. Take heart, it doesn’t need to be daunting. What an older child will need now to keep the creativity flowing is the time, space and opportunity to have a go. And an encouraging smile or two.
Whether you, or your child for that matter, believe they are artistic or not is irrelevant. The enjoyment and stimulation to their growing brains from using their hands and minds together are the real goals. Attempting new activities creates new pathways in a child’s brain, and something as simple as painting on a piece of paper, turning an old egg box into a dragon, or a sock into a pop singer, can allow their imagination the time and space that it needs to be expressed. It is important to leave some spare time each week in a child’s busy schedule for some creative, imaginative play. This can also be a perfect time for a child to release any emotions that they may have been unable to express in other ways. Spreading fiery red paint across a whole page can be much less damaging than yelling at their little sister!
As they get older, let your child lead the way with their creativity. Provide the tools and the time for them (making sure they are just as willing to clean up afterwards too!) and you will have done your part in nurturing their imagination and creativity.