How Do We Foster Children’s Creativity?

Encouraging children to make their own choices is important. The development of creativity in early years essentially guides children to develop problem-solving skills in later years. It is one of the important skills that numerous research on education have suggested are critical for children’s development. The development of creativity involves frequent exploration, adaptation and expression of thoughts. It is a learning process that helps children to discover about themselves and develop independence and self-learning. So how can we help our children to develop creativity? LET’S BE CREATIVE OURSELVES!
  1. Observe your child’s play: observe your child carefully when they are playing. Meet their needs when they approach you for help, provide additional supplies when needed and allow your child to decide when the work is complete (the actual product might look incomplete).
  2. Play with your child! One of the most important types of creative activity for young children is play. Play with your child creatively, for example, encourage them to use familiar toys in a new or unusual way, engage your child in imaginative play, expand the stories during storytelling. Nothing reinforces the creative spirit more than letting children act in a spontaneous way.
  3. Involve in pretend play: Children weave between real and imaginative worlds simultaneously, they explore real and pretend situations by making sense of their imagination and pretend actions. They learn cause-and-effect and develop problem-solving skills when they observe and take an active role in engaging the characters in the play.
  4. Being creative comes hand in hand with having to be MESSY! If you do not want your creative child to mess everywhere, designate a place (a table or room) at home where they can make a mess from painting, making Lego, build things, etc.
  5. Be ok with mistakes and failures: being accurate is not the key to becoming creative, encourage your child to come out with new ideas, for example, coming up with activities for the weekend, try out new recipes, etc, could help them to become flexible. Children with developed skills could evaluate whether their plans make sense or if their ideas are implementable.
  6. Ask open-ended questions. Ask them about their work by asking open-ended questions, work with your child to further transform their words into writings or visuals to help them understand their own work, provide them with vocabularies to expand their expressions.
  7. Focus on the creative process. Ask children about the creative process, for example, “How did you mix your paint to get this colour?”, “How did you make a hamburger?” Encourage your child to talk about the process but not the product, how they explore the materials, discover new ideas and experiment the implementation. The process is always more important than how the actual product looks like.
  8. Share art and passion! To become creative is a learning process, children learn to be creative when they can make references. Tell your child about your favourite artists, musicians, and scientists. Share your passion in photography, architecture or any new ideas that you enjoy. Encourage them to explore and gather further information about specific topics that they are interested in.
  How can we make use of different types of toys to promote creativity?
  1. Construction toys: (examples: Lego, blocks, puzzles, playdough) - These allow children to solve problems at their own pace. Children will have to come up with their own strategies to solve puzzles and create something new. The best thing about blocks and playdough is that they can decompose what they have made anytime and start all over again.
  2. Pretend play toys: (examples: doll house, toy food, mini figures) - These toys can help children to think beyond usual combinations, for example, they can make new dishes with toy food, while figures and doll houses can help children to understand social situations and to create their own stories around different characters.
  3. Art materials: (examples: drums, piano, kaleidoscope, colour pencils, crayons, fabric) - Art materials help children to naturally express his/her ideas through visual arts, sounds, gestures and more, they can also help children to express abstract ideas and attune to their emotions. For example, introducing a “jamming session” for children to just dance around to any tunes, they can add sounds, gestures or make use of materials like scarves to supplement their dance.
  4. Physical toys: (examples: balls) - Children are supposed to be active. Engaging them with physical activities can expand their abilities to swing, run, roll, spin and express themselves through their bodily gestures.
  5. Technology: (examples: music videos, nursery rhymes) - Experimenting with technology activates children’s senses, they can imitate speaking, writing and drawing when they are engaged in technology. Your child can also access new information quicker with the use of information technology.