“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will be ever to know and understand” Albert Einstein
Creativity isn’t just about having fun painting pictures or playing music, it is key to almost everything that we do and can impact upon our happiness. Creativity is also required for ‘non-artistic’ expression too, we need creativity to solve science and maths problems too. Creativity can also help with social and emotional intelligence, which can lead a child to become more flexible and better problem solvers, which in turn will help make them become more adaptable
Creativity is something that can be encouraged and appreciated, and your baby’s or young child’s creativity will start being developed through the various ways in which you interact with and respond to them. You may not realise it but the different ways that you interact with your tiny baby (how you soothe them or play with them) will inspire their burgeoning creativity. Allowing your baby to play with everyday objects and use their emerging problem solving skills to learn to understand the objects and how to use or play with them is vital (heuristic play)
Encourage your toddler to be creative with art inspired activities (finger painting, scribbling and messy play) or engage in lots of musical activities: singing, dancing, making musical instruments. As they grow older encourage imagination games with role play and dressing up. Try to make all these activities child-led instead of parent-led – you are trying to foster their creativity.
“Every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”-Pablo Picasso
Young children learn about the world through their sensory systems, so encouraging lots of sensory play is key and something they naturally love to do. For older babies and toddlers, multi-sensory games are a great way to encourage imaginative thinking. With your young baby most of your interactions should be hands-on activities where you and your baby interact face-to-face, make sure you stay focused and be as expressive as you can: pull exaggerated faces, use different voices, say silly sentences (think Dr Seuss)
Toddlers are ready for more when it comes to creative opportunities. Give your toddler the time to express their thoughts, feelings, wishes and imaginings. Your toddler will learn about their body and abilities by copying, so challenge this development by encouraging body awareness games, such as hop like a bunny, roar like a lion, move like a crab etc. Be inventive with your games and encourage abstract thinking such as getting your little one to pretend to be kite blowing in the wind or a sunflower growing in the garden.
Encourage creative thoughts by making up stories together and seeing in they can add their own characters or plot lines. Bring literature to life by acting out a favourite book such as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Whose imagination isn’t ignited when walking in the woods searching for bears?
A valuable lesson for parents is to learn to give their children the time and space for play and to allow them to fail. Children who are afraid of failure may learn to suppress their creative thoughts
“A person who has never made a mistake never tried anything new” Albert Einstein