Five Ways to Encourage Creative Play
Creative play supports cognitive development, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills.
Creativity involves cognitive processes that transform one’s understanding of, or relationship to, the world.
Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.
Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!
The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits. If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well.
Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys. Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.
Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal. See the article How Lazy Parents Win at Parenting for more information.
Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.” A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.
Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand. Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” — Maya Angelou