In an age where iPads and television are very prominent within our children’s lives, it can be worrisome to think about the loss of curiosity, creativity, and innovative thinking. When our children spend too much time on these devices, it causes a dependence and can have an impact on their mental health.
Children are creatures that do not need much to keep entertained. They can be happy colouring, painting, playing dress up, amongst many other activities! There are no limits to a child’s imagination, and it is very important that as parents and teachers, we help cultivate it! Giving a child the tools to get creative and let their imagination run free is an important component for both their cognitive development as well as their socio-emotional development.
First and foremost, children’s screen time needs to be limited. Studies show that children spend an average of 4-6 hours of screen time per day! Although there are ways to monitor our child’s devices, we are not able to know all the time what they are watching. This means that there is a much higher risk of our children being exposed to violence, sexual content, cyberbullying, amongst other things. On top of these issues, too much screen time can also disrupt our children’s mental health. Some of the most common problems are with sleep, mood, and social anxiety.
As a parent, you can also influence how your children spend their screen time. There are plenty of educational shows and games to be found on the internet. Click here for free online kid’s stories!
Making sure to have craft supplies available is a great way to keep kids busy and off their screens. Try to prepare a craft box full of supplies that children can use to be creative. Make sure the craft box is accessible to them anytime without needing to ask for help to get it. Include a variety of different things such as glue, crayons, cotton balls, and basic craft supplies. Once your child creates something new, ask question such as their thought and story before their creation. Asking these questions can them process their artistic expressions.
Another idea would be to create a gallery in your home for your children’s art and crafts. By framing or putting pieces on display, your children will feel appreciated and perhaps motivated to create more!
Try one of our STEM activities for inspiration!
When a child is very young, it is common to read stories to them before bed. As they get older, we stop incorporating stories in their upbringing. Stories are a great way to let a child’s imagination wander. Instead of reading to them, try setting aside a time to do activities involving stories. Whether reading a chapter of a book all together, writing a story together, writing poetry, or having them read on their own, stories are an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to creative thinking!
Every child loves to play pretend and get silly with dress-up clothes and props. It is nice to have a dress-up trunk available to children to reach in and step into a new character of their own imagination. This is also a great way for siblings to do an activity together or have friends over to play! Make use of old Halloween costumes, dance recital costumes, or thrift store finds! You can even incorporate stories from story time and act out scenes that the children created or read in a book!
Ask your child what sort of activities they would like to be a part of outside of school. Many times, parents decide what activities they will put their children in, without asking the child first if that is what they would like to be doing. First, make sure any class your child is taking is something they actively enjoy. If it feels like a chore to them, it will not be aiding in their creative thinking. Whether it is a one-time workshop or weekly lessons, let your child decide the route they take in their young lives. There are plenty of options to choose from including dance, art, music, photography, language, and writing.
Many times, parents are busy and when it comes to play times, they let their children play on their own or with their friends. Although, it is very important to be a part of these creative moments as well as the more serious moments. You will get to see first-hand what your child’s creative process looks like and what they are more receptive to.
Try sparking a child’s ‘what if’ questioning which help trigger creative thinking. Asking what if can lead to thinking outside the box. Ask question that can spark their imagination such as “what if animals could talk”. Questions like these allow children to think about the world in new and creative ways, not only logical ways.