Welcome to week 35 of The Mom Challenge!! If you are new, please know that you can jump in at anytime!! Check out all of our previous weeks here.
This week we are talking about how to raise creative kids this week. I think being creative is so important! Now, we aren’t talking about raising your child to be a musical prodigy (well, they could be!) or the artist of our time (it could happen!) but being creative leads to being good problem solvers! That ability to think outside the box will serve your child well through adulthood! And it’s something that can be learned! So here are ten ways to keep the creativity flowing in your house!
1. Ask “Why?” and “What if…” Questions
Kids ask a lot of questions! In fact, one study said that kids ask 300 questions a day! I know that it’s hard when you are asked 300 questions, but encourage your children to ask questions! You are never going to learn about things if you don’t ask questions! Even as an adult, I ask a lot of questions. (I blame my Mother who, also, asks a lot of questions!) I promise I don’t ask 300 a day, but if I’m ever curious about something - I ask! People are generally happy to teach and pass along what they know.
What if questions are my favorite. Josh asks a TON of what if’s. Some people will say “Stop with the what if’s! It’s not even possible!” but I say “Bring them on!!” When he asks things like “What if a monster came for dinner?” or “What if you were driving and it literally started raining cats and dogs?” I love it! It means that he is thinking! And when he asks silly questions, it means he is using his imagination to create those silly questions!
2. Answer Those Questions!
So now your kids are asking a ton of questions. It’s so important to answer them! Answering their questions shows that no question is a bad question. Plus, you are helping your child learn!
If your child asks a silly what-if question - answer them back with a silly answer! Not only is it fun, but this keeps the imagination going! Then, they have to tell the next part of the story!
If you don’t know the answer, don’t feel embarrassed! It’s ok! And actually, it’s good! It shows that no one knows everything and that we all, even as adults, still have more to learn about the world. Go ahead and tell your child that you don’t know. But make sure to make time to find out together the answer. This is a great way to show children how to search for answers! Plus, it’s great mom time to learn together!
If you find your child asking a lot of questions on a specific topic, it’s a great way to take your learning to another level! Visit the library, do a quick Google search or visit a museum! Get your child involved! It may help them discover a new passion.
3. Encourage and Have Open-Ended Toys
What are open-ended toys? Open-ended toys are toys that don’t have a set of instructions. They can be things like Legos, play kitchens (or pretend food), dolls, art supplies or Play-Doh. Open-ended toys are great because they allow to kids to use their imaginations! Are they playing house or opening a restaurant? Are they building a spaceship and then traveling to Planet Zion or building a town? (Psst! You can see our favorite open ended toys here! )
4. Have Easy Access to Those Open-Ended Toys!
I used to teach pre-school and one thing that some teachers did that drove me absolutely crazy was that they would ‘close’ centers or keep the art supplies up high where kids couldn’t use them. If you would ask why they had a good reason - it gets messy. But that’s not a good enough reason! Who cares if the kids drag every.single.piece of dress up clothing out? And seriously, wiping down the paint table takes just a few minutes! Giving kids easy access to ways to pretend and create is SO important in fostering creativity! Encourage children to play! Even if that means there is a mess! (And then, encourage them to help!)
5. Be Open Minded
A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page and it made me laugh. Been there! But I try REALLY hard NOT to! So what that they Lego set they are using is to build a pirate ship and they chose to build a space ship? Give your children the tools and let them create!
One thing I learned while teaching is not to ask children what they made? (Who wants to work hard on a project just to have no one be able to recognize it?) Instead, ask them to tell you about their project!
6. It’s OK to Try
If they are trying do something and it turns out not to work or work like they should just remind them that it is ok! It doesn’t mean you failed - it means you succeeded in finding a way that it doesn’t work! Ask them questions to help guide to what could be fixed and to help brainstorm ideas that might work.
7. Keep A Stress Free Environment
This is important just for overall health in general! Stress is no fun. Nothing kills the creative mind like stress! If your child is painting try not to say, “Are you done yet? Are you almost done?” I understand and am all for time restraints! But make sure your child has enough time! Don’t rush them through their work! I wouldn’t want to be rushed either! While they are complaining try to keep your grumbles about noise and mess to yourself (unless things get out of control!) As long as kids help clean up their mess and aren’t crazy and disturbing the neighbors (or you on the phone!) let them play. Let them be kids! If you find your kids (or yourself!) getting stressed - go for a walk, take a nap or my favorite….
Reading is SO good! Good for the mind! Good for relaxing. Good for learning. Good for creativity. Good for bonding. Good for everything! Read to your child! Everyday! When they are older make sure they have a reading time. Books are so powerful!
9. Cook Together
Cooking is another great bonding time. It’s a fun process that kids can do and make something seriously delicious (or, well, not! We’ve made those too!) When kids get older it’s a great way to turn it into a chemistry lesson! And even better, when they get older they may turn into a great chef and make you deliciously awesome meals! :)
10. Model a Creative Lifestyle
Showing your children that creativity is important to you is a great way for them to grow up with it being important to them. I’m not saying you need to be creating a mural in your living room, but if painting is your thing do it! If gardening is your peace go for it! If you love to read, make the time! And not only while the kids are asleep! Let them see that you enjoy giving your mind an exercise! Be a role model!
(Don’t forget to pin!)
What is your favorite way to be creative?