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4 Ways to Foster Creativity in Kids

Here are some ways to foster creativity in your kids or the kids you spend time with…

Both of my kids love making things, drawing, crafting, and doing a variety of art projects. It might seem easy for me to have kids who love to create because of the nature of my job and my own hobbies. But I’ve actually had to conscientiously make an effort to encourage it, too. Here are some ways to foster creativity in your kids or the kids you spend time with…

Offer a variety of materials or activities (art, baking, music, etc.), but not too much at one time.
My kids were lucky to acquire a ton of fun art materials from my previous office to fill their play/craft room. But you can also provide a fun array of supplies that includes a mix of paint, crayons, markers as well as crafty supplies like popsicle sticks, pom poms, googly eyes, etc. Having a variety of fun materials allows kids to play while they create and to explore various textures and colors. To make it as cost-effective as possible, you can go in on a few materials with another parent so that you can split up those bulk packs while getting the savings on the larger quantities, too. While my creative focus has always been visual arts, keep this in mind for other creative outlets too, like baking, singing, dancing, etc.

Let them get messy (but it’s OK to have rules about it).
I am a neat-freak most of the time and like things to stay clean and organized whenever possible. But I also know that creativity requires getting messy…especially when it comes to creativity through visual arts projects. Paint, clay, glue, slime…all the fun things that kids like are messy. So we do have some rules about it in our house. If the kids want to use a messy medium, they have to ask a grown-up first. Then we can decide if there is time for it or where the best spot is to do it. Most of the time they can use their craft room, but sometimes projects must be outside on a covered surface. We currently have a “no glitter” rule after a disastrous afternoon with glitter (which NEVER goes away!). Also, if you make the mess, you clean it up! My kids are old enough now to do a decent job of cleanup, but I also need to be mentally prepared to go back over it sometimes (which is fine as long as I know ahead of time). In the end, the messes are always worth it and part of the joy that comes from creating things!

Watch to see what each child gravitates towards and foster that.
Some kids will constantly need a refill on paint or pipe cleaners or macaroni pieces for beads. If they love a certain type of art, you can find tons of free tutorials on YouTube or have them take Outschool classes or summer camps to help foster that love and teach them more than you might know yourself.

Join in on the fun!
Sometimes friends say their kids just aren’t interested in art or crafts. And while it’s certainly possible, I have yet to meet them! Those kids that seem hesitant likely haven’t been as exposed to adults in their life who engage in creative pursuits just for fun. So join in, especially at the beginning. And let your kids join you if you’re already an expert at something. A friend’s dad loves woodworking as stress relief, and when his grandkids are over they get to help use a handsaw or hammer with supervision. Another friends’ mom loves music and teaches piano and guitar lessons, and her kids get to learn from her as a bonus. Sometimes, particularly with younger kids, sitting down with them at the table and showing them how to finger-paint or make pipe cleaner friends helps jumpstart their imagination. You get quality time together, you get to learn or teach a new skill, and you create something together. It’s the perfect combination.

Photos by Bethany Nauert



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