“Brucey and Diana are probably the most hyper children I’ve ever met. Getting them to sit still for more than two minutes is a feat I’ve yet to master. However, a few months ago, I started working from home, and my beloved spawn couldn’t be bothered to learn the meaning of ‘Mommy’s busy.’
In the end, and out of sheer desperation, my husband and I started to look for things to keep Batman and Wonder Woman occupied. We also needed to find ways to make up for all their months of missed school.
That’s when we discovered STEAM, and it was a godsend. For the most part, at least. We’re now using everything, from games and puzzles to setting ‘pretend-time’ to help the kids learn new skills. Not only do the activities tire them out, but it also spurs their creative thinking.
Naturally, we thought that was a good thing. The twins communicate more effectively and work together a lot better than before; no more toys are being torn in half. Having set times for fun has, blessedly, allowed me to focus on work, too. I can finally spot intelligent beings underneath the layers of my hyperactive spawn.
Unfortunately, they’re still my children. I shouldn’t be surprised that their attempt at ‘science’ blew up the kitchen. Never trust smart, quiet kids.”
Like this supermom, we all want to find ways to help your kids develop their creative side. Unfortunately, a common misconception is that people must be born with innate artistic, imaginative talent and creative thinking skills, or they’re doomed to live without it.
What Is Creative Thinking?
Creative Thinking is the ability to create tangible outcomes and solutions out of ideas and connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena to generate solutions.
The truth is that you need to stimulate your children with various activities to find what sparks their interest and gets their creative juices flowing. By adding a few fun and exciting activities into their daily routines, you can encourage your children to become more artistic and improve their problem-solving and communication skills.
If you want to inspire your kids to think more creatively, try out a few of the activities we’ve listed below.
5 Starter Ideas To Boost Creative Thinking
1. Use STEAM Activities
Also known as STEM, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts, and Mathematics.
It’s a comprehensive system that uses fun activities to develop children’s creative, communication, and problem-solving skills. The best part is that you can use everyday things you have at home to get started.
There are hundreds of games and experiments to choose from online, from making magnetic slime to composing stop-motion animations and creating a cloud in a jar. Many sites will even classify them under the appropriate category, so if you’re looking to improve a specific skill, you can find a suitable activity.
Whether you decide to build an epic marble maze or create geometric string art, you won’t run out of things to do with the kids.
2. Use Board Games
There are dozens, if not hundreds of games out there that’ll help spark your kids’ imagination. Some are ideal for improving communication, others for spelling, problem-solving, and logical thinking.
From Guess Who to Dungeons & Dragons, Pictionary to Scrabble, encourage your children to grab a board game and start to have fun. Get everyone together to join in and spend a few precious hours bonding with your family.
You can make board games a little more entertaining by using an appealing dice set rather than the standard black and white cubes. With various colors, patterns, and themes, you can add a little more stimulation to play.
If you want to make things more interesting, ask your kids how they would improve on one of the games. You could even work together to build a completely new one, encouraging creativity and teamwork.
3. Dress Up and Storytelling
Most kids love to play pretend, becoming a superhero, princess, or vigilant knight for a little while. Several benefits come with this kind of activity. In fact, it can help improve your child’s language, social, emotional, and thinking skills.
By allowing children to dress up and tell a story through a character, you’re encouraging them to explore who they are, their emotions, and their empathic abilities. Think of it as teaching them to walk in someone else’s shoes while still making it fun.
Here’s a critical parental tip: if your kid prefers to dress like Loki over Thor, or Darth Vader instead of Luke Skywalker, don’t discourage them. Villains are deliberately written in a way that makes them smarter and more interesting than the hero. That’s why some kids might gravitate towards them rather than the “good” guys.
If you want to have a little extra fun, bring out the video camera and allow the kids to act out their stories. It’ll help the kids learn how to deal with being “in the spotlight,” which is a big confidence booster. Having these precious memories recorded and preserved is a bonus.
4. Get Artsy
Start by ditching the crayons and regular drawing tools. Instead, fish out paint, glue, glitter, pastels, and colorful paper. Try creating paintings with sponge brushes instead of standard ones, try quilling for kids, or just let them loose to mix and match whatever mediums catch their eye.
There’s a lot you can do if you toss the “rules” and make an inspired mess instead. There’s no right or wrong way to create art, and allowing your children to find their own style is better than forcing them to stick to “traditional” concepts.
Choose creative activities that are age-appropriate, but don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re with the kids and teaching them to use the different tools responsibly, it just adds to the whole learning experience.
5. Challenges and Inventions That Stimulate Creative Thinking
Have you ever noticed how easy it is for kids to turn a few empty bottles into a mighty army? They can turn a couch into a fort and a boring broomstick into a legendary sword. However, you can encourage your children to turn that same type of out-of-the-box thinking to another use.
You could give them a set of toothpicks and marshmallows and challenge them to build a sturdy bridge. Alternatively, take conventional household objects like bottles, baskets, straws, etc., and ask them to invent a new use for it.
Remember, there’s no incorrect answer, so never respond to a suggestion with “No” or “That’s wrong.” That defeats the point of the exercise.
There are so many ways you can encourage your children to think creatively, and it’s nearly impossible to list them all. If you’re looking for a comprehensive program that’ll help your kids develop their general skills, try to find a few STEAM exercises you can do at home.
Other fun activities like board games and inventive challenges can improve logical reasoning while playing pretend is great for sparking their imagination. Get artsy, messy, and have fun; the rest will follow.
Regardless of their age or preferred activity, there’s always something you can do with your kids to help them improve their skills while having fun. In fact, you can join in and bond with them at the same time. Just don’t forget to keep an eye on the little tykes, or you might have to remodel your kitchen, too.