26 Jan Encouraging creativity in children
Since becoming a parent, almost two years ago (scary how fast they grow!!) I’ve been amazed at the number of times I’ve heard fellow parents say things like … ‘she’s not getting paint everywhere in my house!’ and ‘you let her play with Play-Doh at home?!’ Many similar such comments are becoming more frequent. So what if I do let my almost-two-year-old tinyfeet make a mess in our home?
But that’s just where I seem to differ from most of my parent friends. Why shouldn’t I let tinyfeet get messy with paint, or glitter, or Play-Doh, or why not all three at once, in the house? She takes after her momma – she has a creative mind. I am encouraging her to develop her imagination and creativity, and to discover the wonders of these different textures as we go through the messy list.
And if she makes a mess, that’s how she learns that we tidy up after we have had fun.
Children’s minds are like sponges, they take in everything from their surroundings, they listen when you think they are distracted and they play their own little games in their two-foot tall worlds.
In encouraging my tinyfeet to get messy with me at home it is my intention to develop her skills all round. That doesn’t mean we don’t play educational games, or read, or sing, and yes we do watch TV and play on the iPad too. We do a bit of it all and when meeting up with fellow tiny people of similar age, she is the one who stands out for her development level and never shuts up. I don’t know who she gets that from though!
I had a creative childhood. We made things with Play-Doh, made mud pies and painted a lot, which I’d like to think has helped me into my career. I’m a designer and amateur cake decorator and the person people seem to come to for ideas. I like to sew but just don’t have enough time for everything at the moment. So, do the people who don’t encourage young creative minds to thrive, struggle for ideas in later life and take the more “safe” career route? Or are our career paths determined by those of our parents as we follow in their footsteps?
I imagine our parents play a large part in our life choices, but I certainly didn’t follow mine in anyway. Both me and my sister did creative degrees which turned into creative (although different industries) career paths. As children of an electrician and a credit controller, we couldn’t have strayed much further from the paths of our parents, so was that down to our creative childhood or have we chosen career paths based more on job satisfaction than anything else? I’d probably agree with the latter.
By encouraging the development of a thriving imagination full of ideas in my tinyfeet, and by including a certain proportion of educational activities, I’d like to hope that I’m helping her to develop in all areas, which in turn may help her through school life into adulthood, and hopefully, into her future career. Encouraging her to express her creativity and imagination within certain boundaries will also help her to be disciplined.
So go get messy with your children. Make Play-Doh shapes and laugh!