Winter vacation, just like any vacation, tends to start perfectly and then slowly devolve into a “when does school start again?” kind of mood. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the break, but after the holiday festivities and that strange time of Twixmas, it can be challenging to keep everyone happy and entertained. Although the new year brings lots of excitement, it can also be daunting as you try to figure out how to make the upcoming year better for both yourself and your kids. However, this time of year is the perfect time to start developing creativity practices that can be continued into the new year.
New Year’s is a time for growth and innovation. Here are some ideas to inspire your kids’ creative side as we enter into 2024.
Going outdoors may sound counterintuitive because most people associate creativity with indoor arts and crafts. However, creativity is about freedom, and getting your children outdoors allows them the freedom to be creative and find new ways to interact with the world around them. Being inside often comes with a lot of restrictions, i.e. use your inside voice, no running, don’t draw on the walls, etc. but going outside gives children limitless possibilities. Going outdoors can be as simple as going to the playground or going for a walk, but it can also encompass creative activities such as making a mud kitchen or creating nature art.
Engaging in art is probably the most traditional, yet still extremely valuable, way to foster creativity. We often discuss science, math, and tech, as important and prestigious fields of study, but visual and performing arts are just as important. Providing your child with art activities and materials can allow them to experiment, express themselves, develop fine motor skills, and enhance critical thinking. Remember art can include anything from drawing, painting, collage, dancing, singing, sculpting, and so much more.
Focus on Play
Mr Rogers once said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” This statement highlights the importance of play and allowing children the time and space to learn without adult interference. Play can help encourage the growth of cognitive, physical, social, sensory, and emotional skills in children. Additionally, imaginative play grants children control over their world. It allows them the freedom to create and adapt to the ever-changing situations and scenarios that may arise from their imaginations.
Ask Open Ended Questions
One way to get children engaged in creativity is to provide activities that are based on their interests. Asking questions and listening carefully to the answers is a great way to find more activities for your child. Additionally, open-ended questions allow children to think about and reflect on their experiences and activities which can help them build their creativity as they begin to problem-solve and strategize in response to adults’ questions.
Some questions you may want to consider asking could be: “How did you come up with that idea?” “What will happen next?”, and “What would you like to change?” These kinds of questions promote more complex thinking and just may be the spark for more creative ideas. Additionally, don’t forget that Childwatch is a great tool for parents and childcare providers to stay in contact with each other and discuss some of these interests and activities to support the conversations we have with our kids.
Creativity is important, not only because it allows us to have fun, but because it fosters mental growth and can help kids try new ideas. Change is integral to our lives, and having the creativity and flexibility to adapt to these changes is essential for our constantly evolving world. Fostering creativity in our children helps us in the short run when it comes to encouraging independent play, but more importantly, prepares them for adulthood and the challenges they will face later in life.