Creativity, I’ve decided, isn’t something that fades as we get older. It might look different in our adult lives, but it’s there just the same, and it’s a part of who we are which, if we let it, can be a bridge into the minds and hearts of our children.
After spending a few years teaching and few years nannying, here are some of the experiences I’ve enjoyed first-hand that can not only bolster your childrens’ creativity, but also your own:
Explore outside with your kids. Notice the ground, the pine straw, the bugs. Ask questions, like “I wonder what lives under this rock?” Don’t be afraid to get dirty or sweaty. Don’t try to organize a structured game – just let your kids lead the way in the exploration. Somehow, with my little friends I nannied, we usually ended up climbing on the same low, flat tree stump (a spaceship) which took us to more “worlds” than I can count on both hands.
Write a story with your child. Ask them questions like, “What happens next?” This way, if they aren’t quite old enough to write without frustration, you are the pen-to-paper for them, and they are writing the story. If your child IS old enough to write, ask him or her to write his/her own story to “help you come up with ideas for yours.” This way, they are writing a story, but are under the guise of helping you – the adult – which is super fun for kids.
Build a pillow/blanket fort with your child. I can’t tell you how many pirates, fairies, aliens, and robbers I fought off or teamed up with side-by-side my little nanny friends. The scenarios could go on for hours, and these make-believe situations always provided ample material for story writing or picture drawing. (Bonus points if your fort includes a secret back door…)
I hope you enjoy these ideas, have fun playing with your kids, and are inspired in the process!