child coloring with crayons
parenting,  raising kids

Fostering Creativity in Children: A Few Ideas

If there’s anything I’ve discovered through my many years of raising kids, it’s that children love to be creative. Their creative outlets may be different, but they love to make and do things that express their creativity. I LOVE to see my kids be creative and express themselves and I encourage them any chance I get.

As a mom, I want to always nurture my kids’ love of the arts. Since I’m an author (you can visit my author site here), I especially love to encourage my children to write stories, but I like to see them develop talents in all areas of the arts.

I believe that fostering creativity in children is so important. Here are a few ideas I’ve used over the years:

Writing Stories

Like I said, I’m a writer and I’ve been creating stories most of my life. When my oldest children were much younger, I instigated a school-wide book project at our elementary school. I found a company that published books written and illustrated by kids. Many of the students participated and ended up with hard copy books they could take home. Some of the books were placed in the school library (and are still there). Two of my daughters participated and we have their books in our personal library.

My kids have written stories about dreams they’ve had, other books they’ve read, and experiences at school. I like to have notebooks available for my kids to use for their stories and art pads for them to use for illustrations.

To spark ideas, you can choose a noun (a dog, an astronaut, an apple, a chair) and add an adjective (wrinkly, blue, cloudy, long), then add a place (the moon, Hawaii, the kitchen, grocery store). Have your child pick a combination, then try to write a story.

For example: dog, blue, grocery store. Encourage your child to write a story about how the dog was discovered or who found the dog or why the dog is blue. There are so many possibilities and kids love to think outside the box.

Kids writing in a book

Providing (Homemade) Instruments

Music is a big part of our lives. One of my daughters loves to write songs and plays the piano, ukulele, and guitar. We love to listen to all sorts of music from classical to rock to pop. My youngest son is Taylor Swift’s biggest fan, so I know all of her songs.

We’ve also made instruments to play. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make maracas by taking empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls and filling them with rice or beans. Secure one end of the roll with some packing tape or duct tape, fill the tube, then secure the other end. Kids can decorate the tubes by covering them with construction paper or painting the tubes. You can use crepe paper to add streamers.
  • Make a gutiar by finding an empty, sturdy box (I’ve used a box that greeting cards came in) and then slipping rubber bands over the box. Kids can “strum” the rubber bands over the open area.
  • Make drums using empty margarine containers. Or go to a local ice cream shop and see if they’ll give you their empty tubs. Kids can use unsharpened pencils as drumsticks.

When the kids have finished making the instruments, they can perform with their “band.”

Boy playing guitar

Making Art

My kids love, love, love to draw, paint, and color. I make sure to have plenty of paper on hand for their masterpieces. I also have containers of crayons, colored pencils, markers, paint, and pencils. We have a scratch paper drawer so we can reuse paper.

When one of my daughters was about four-years-old, she drew a scene of a baby with angels singing to the baby. We entered it into an art contest in our county fair and she won Reserve Grand Champion in her age group. Two of my kids entered a drawing contest and won enough tickets for our family to go to an amusement park in Denver.

My oldest daughter illustrated my picture book, Grasshopper Pie, and has since become a professional artist.

One of my sons loves to work with clay. I bought him a sculpting clay kit so he could include even more details. He has a box of different color clay and I’ve been impressed with how intricate his models of people are. He is a talented sculptor.

Did I mention my kids love to do art? 🙂

Art ideas:

  • coloring
  • sculpting using clay or play dough
  • finger painting
  • drawing
  • using sidewalk chalk to draw on the driveway
  • painting on canvas

Child with paint on hands

Dance Party

We’ve had many dance parties through the years. We’ve danced to Brtiney Spears, The Bee Gees, and Taylor Swift to name a few. Encouraging kids to express themselves through movement not only fosters their creativity but also helps them get some exercise.

A dance party can be spontaneous or it can be planned out and kids can take turns showing off their moves.

My kids have choreographed dances for their own enjoyment over the years. For my oldest daughter’s birthday one year, her sister and I choreographed a dance and posted it on YouTube.

Dancing is a great way to express creativity.

Make a movie

My kids have made countless movies. Movies can pull together many forms of creativity from writing the story to painting/making the sets to sewing the costumes. Some of their movies have been spontaneous, but many of them took some thought and effort to produce.

My youngest son absolutely loves to watch himself. He has special needs, but that didn’t stop him from learning how to access and use the video camera on my phone, laptop, iPad, and Kindle Fire. He sings, tells stories, and has his toys “perform” for the camera. He rewatches his videos over and over and over again.

My children who are now adults enjoy watching the movies they created as kids, including several music videos. We laugh and talk about the memories of creating those movies. I believe makng all those moives helped my children explore their creativity.

My nephew started out making movies as a kid and is now making movies professionally.

For making a movie your kids will need:

  • a camera (your phone will do if you don’t have an actual video camera)
  • some costumes (we used old hats, dresses, scarves, material scraps)
  • sets (as easy or complex as they want)
  • a storyboard (basically writing down the scenes they’ll perform and in what order)
  • editing app or software to create the actual movie

Making Jewelry

When I was a little girl, I used to go with my grandma to the swap meet every weekend. It was held at the drive-in and people lined the rows with tables of stuff for sale. Grandma would pick through old jewelry looking for beads. She collected so many beads over the years and used them to make beautiful earrings.

Grandma spent time teaching my girls to make jewelry and I’ve since spent time making jewelry with them as well.

But jewelry making doesn’t need to be complicated. Kids can make bracelets and necklaces out of materials at home, such as pasta noodles and yarn.

Using a yarn needle and some yarn, kids can string macaroni noodles together. Noodles can be used plain or if you want to get fancier, you can let the kids paint the noodles different colors (we’ve used spray paint on pasta) and then string them on colorful or sparkly yarn.

There’s no end to how creative kids can be when making jewelry. And this jewelry makes great gifts for cousins, friends, or grandmas :).

Macaroni

Conclusion

Kids love to be creative. Whether that’s painting an art piece, making something out of clay, or writing a story, kids need a creative outlet.

Most of these creative endeavors can be made from household items, so it doesn’t have to be difficult to encourage creativity.

Nurturing creativity and then praising the results will go a long way in helping our kids to express their creative energy. In my house, my kids are happiest when they are being creative.

What creative projects have you done with your kids? Please share!

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