Toddlers are naturally imaginative and creative. However, in today’s digital world, creativity can often end up taking a backseat to technology. While there’s no doubt a little screen time can be beneficial to toddlers, you also need to make sure they’re spending time exercising their creative side.
If you’re looking to encourage your toddler’s creativity, below you’ll discover some great tips and advice.
Have A Designated Creation Area
One of the main reasons many parents are reluctant to let their toddler’s creativity flow, is the mess it will inevitably make. However, you can solve this issue by creating a dedicated creation area.
This designated area doesn’t have to take up a lot of space. If you have a spare room you can use, great! However, just a small area in a corner of the house will do. It can be made especially with messy play in mind. Place newspaper or a washable sheet down to catch any spills from paint or pens to ensure easy clean up.
The space can be used for all kinds of creative play including painting, playing with blocks, making things out of putty or drawing and coloring in.
Make Sure They’re Given Plenty Of Time
When your toddler is engaging in creative play, the last thing you should do is cut their time short. Never rush them to be creative. Not only is creative play keeping them occupied (and quiet!), but its also helping with their development too.
So, don’t encourage your toddler to start playing creatively if it’s close to dinner time, or near a time where you need to pop out. Ensure they can play for as long as they want to.
Teach Them About Colors
Teaching your toddler about colors is a great way to encourage their creativity. Experts recommend talking about and pointing out different colors as frequently as you can. If you go out on a little walk together, talk about the colors of the trees, leaves and sky.
Introduce them to lesser common colors too such as Lavender or magenta. Explain how some colors work well together, while others don’t. Remember, your toddler’s brain is like a sponge so now’s the best time to teach them about the different colors.
Encourage Them To Use All Of Their Senses
Ensuring your toddler has exposure to activities which use all of their senses will also boost their creative development. Ideally, this means heading outdoors so they can see, hear, smell, feel and potentially even taste different outdoor elements. Say you come across a fruit tree for example. Your toddler can use all of their senses to explore the fruit.
Going to museums and libraries is also a great way to engage their senses. However, you don’t need to go outdoors to help develop their senses. You could also ask them to imagine a scenario. It could be a trip to the zoo. Ask them what animals they might see, what sounds they make and what they may smell while they are there.
These are just some of the ideas you can use to encourage your toddler to use all of their senses.
Take Advantage Of Things Around The Home
You don’t need to spend a fortune on creative toys, there’s plenty of things lying around the home you can use. Empty toilet paper rolls, plastic tubs and cardboard boxes can all be used to create things.
You could use a large empty cardboard box to create a little dolls house. All you need to do is cut out doors and windows, then let your toddler decorate the house however they desire. Empty toilet tissue rolls can also be used to create a little family. Just add cotton wool for the hair, draw on faces and stick on some paper clothing, then they can be used for imaginative play scenarios.
Invest In Building Blocks
Building blocks are fantastic for encouraging creative play. They’re so simple, yet toddlers love to use them. They can let their imagination run wild as they build stuff with the blocks. They can also be used to teach about colors and shapes. If you buy different colored blocks, you can ask your toddler to sort them out into same-colored stacks.
Enjoy A Little Dramatic Play
Toddlers LOVE dramatic play! However, it’s difficult for them to do it alone. So, get involved and let your inner thespian come out to play for a while. You and your toddler can create all kinds of wonderful, imaginative scenarios.
Not only does dramatic play help to build creativity, but it also acts as a great bonding experience and can really help to build up their confidence too.
Don’t Interrupt Their Creativity
It can be tempting to interrupt your toddler’s creative play sessions. Whether it’s because you feel they’re doing something wrong, or you want them to do something else for a while – interrupting their creativity sessions can deter them from being creative in the future.
There is no right and wrong way for them to get creative. So, whatever their little imaginations come up with, avoid telling them it’s incorrect or they should be doing something else. This is their creativity and it’s a very beautiful thing.
Ensure They Have Time Away From Creative Play
Of course, although creative play is important for your toddler’s development, you need to make sure they’re getting some time away from it too. No toddler wants to be creative 24 hours a day. So, let them watch television for a while and play without expectations.
Remember, anything that you try and force your toddler to do, will ultimately end up with them refusing to do it. So, keep creative play sessions relaxed and never force anything.
The above are just some great ways you can encourage your toddler’s creativity. You don’t need a huge budget and the great thing about creative play is that it keeps them occupied for potentially hours! So, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to start encouraging your toddlers creativity.