Creating something is one of the primary joys in life. I can’t think of anything more satisfying than putting my hand to something and beauty comes out on the other side. Our children are the same way. That’s why they want to show you every drawing, dance, or lego creation they come up with — they are proud and satisfied with their work and want to bring you into their joy.
Yesterday, my 5-year-old was coloring a picture print out of a bird. She got the bird all colored and then drew in branches and leaves to make it look like the bird was in a tree. She was so ecstatic about her creation and showed it off to everyone in the house.
Because all of us are wired to be creative, it’s important we encourage our children to live out the creativity that God gifted them with. That comes with being attuned to how your child is gifted and nurturing them in their unique, individual creativity.
And because our children so often desire to be like their parents, modeling creativity is one of the best ways to spark creativity in your child.
Creative Kids Have Parents Who Do These 7 Things
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1. Take the Time to Be Creative Yourself
I often think I have to wait until my children are asleep or gone to really dig into my creativity. But this is so untrue. If I let go of having the perfect scenario — quiet, no one around, ideal music playing in the background, etc. — I have found that I open myself up to so many more opportunities for creativity, as well as teaching my kids how to live out their own creativity.
For instance, I had been wanting to create a wall hanging for weeks, and I was stalling, waiting until I had the perfect amount of time alone. I finally decided to jump in and do it one day with my kids at home. They were so interested in what I was doing that they busted out their own canvases and made mini wall hangings of their own. Check out our inspiration from @thisminimalhouse on Instagram.
It is helpful, especially if you have a houseful of children, to keep a running list of creative things you want to pursue. Then, when you get half an hour, you can jump right in with your kids, instead of trying to think of an idea.
2. Model the Joy of Creativity.
Passion is contagious. In fact, there’s probably nothing more contagious to your kids than your passion. You could talk to your kids until they are blue in the face, but they can sense the authenticity and feeling (or lack thereof) behind our words.
Think about the teachers in your life who had the most impact. What did they all have in common? My guess? Passion for the subject matter. Most of us can point to a concrete moment when we developed a passion of our own, and much of the time, it had something to do with a person who impacted us deeply.
Be excited about one of your creative outlets — with your kids. Invite them in, show them what you do, and tell them why you love it. Let them see your eyes light up as you paint on a canvas or write a poem or do a craft or execute a dance.
They may not become passionate about the same outlet you are passionate about, but it could undoubtedly spark their passion for creativity in the broader sense. We may not all be artists in the traditional sense — but that doesn’t mean we’re not all creative in some way or another.
My husband has a friend who finds creative joy in creating fishing flies. His eyes light up when he talks about it. Show them the way by inviting them into your passion.
3. Give them Access to Different Mediums.
Let your kids explore different ways to express their own creativity. It’s definitely in there! It might be expressed through painting or drawing. Encourage them to try their hand at writing a poem or a song.
Let them try dancing, build a popsicle stick house, legos, or computer coding. Creative outlets are endless! Watch them closely. See what makes their eyes light up and what creative activities they can’t get enough of. Some kids might need to try many things before they find something that sparks their imagination, and that’s okay. You can have a great time trying new and different things together. It is part of the fun!
Once they find something they love, invest in it. If you see a spark, fan it!
4. Get them into Nature!
Nature is arguably the most inspirational place for creativity. Countless songs, poems, plays, and books have been written with the natural world as the muse. Why is this? I think the original creativity of God calls to our hearts in ways we can’t even understand.
Kids need to be outside for countless reasons, but one of them is to be creatively inspired. Our family goes for walks often, and my kids are always exclaiming, “Mom, look how beautiful the mountains look today!” or “Look how tiny this leaf is!” Nature excites them. Seeing God’s creation is a gift. Looking at all the different colors and textures in nature is awe-inspiring. It feeds their souls.
5. Let your Children be Bored.
Boredom is challenging for parents and children alike. But being bored is okay, and necessary. In fact, it sparks creativity becaus eyou are forced to come up with something to do. Boredom leaves opportunities for creativity, so don’t always swoop in and rescue your kids from it.
Let them think of their own ideas. Our kids have access to so many distractions that they rarely have to sit and think up something interesting to do.
My children have made up crazy games, whole cities out of cardboard, crazy kitchen concoctions, and so much more when I let them think of their own things to do. This is such an excellent opportunity for them to grow in imagination and creativity.
One of the fun things we do is get the whole art supply box down, set it in the middle of the table, and see what everyone comes up with; no plan, no Pinterest instructions, just plain old paints, scissors, glue, and pom-poms. Sometimes it’s a disaster, but it’s a glorious one!
Here are a few things we keep out that have inspired some creative play with my kids.
You might want to try this on yourself as well! When you get a moment, resist the urge to pick up your phone or turn on the TV. See what your brain comes up with on its very own.
6. Read Books. Lots and Lots of Books!
“Children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, at other times – a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their storybooks.” Charlotte Mason
Reading is the best way for your child to experience things right at home that they might never experience otherwise. It can give them access to ideas that inspire courage, kindness, thoughtfulness, beauty, and creativity.
The more books, the better. Give your kids access to excellent books and excellent authors. Read together, let them read alone. Talk about what you are reading. Sarah Mackenzie at Read Aloud Revival has excellent reading lists that we have used over the years, and it is a great place to start.
“There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy.
Help your children enlarge their world with books. As a parent, you can only expose your kids to a finite number of things in this world full of infinite beauty. Books let them explore subjects you could never teach them.
Creativity always begins with an idea. Expose your children to an extravagance of ideas through reading.
7. Engage your Community
Are your kids interested in something you know nothing about? Ask around. Maybe someone in your community has some expertise. My daughter loves to sew, but I don't know anything about it. So this summer, my mom taught her the basics, and she made her own dress! She was so proud, and as a bonus got to spend some meaningful time with her Nana.
Maybe your child loves robots. Ask around. There is probably someone who knows someone who could help your child dig into robot building.
Is nature their thing? Grab some friends, go on a nature hike together, and talk about how you could recreate textures or colors you see there.
Does your child love to make up stories? Find a local writer or a friend who loves to write and invite them over for a writing workshop.
We have found people to be such an incredible asset in encouraging our creativity and our children's creativity!
You Won't Regret It.
You won't regret an ounce of time or effort towards instilling creativity in your child. I hope these tips encourage creativity in your children and also help you find your creative juices more quickly as well! Creativity sparks joy and there is never too much of that!