Creativity has played a major role in my life. Since I was child, I’ve always been interested in creative pursuits such as art, writing, and music. Although my mother couldn’t afford expensive lessons for me, she managed to nurture my creative spirit by exposing me to many different experiences. She took me to museums, hung my drawings on the refrigerator, and encouraged me to expand my imagination by giving me plenty of free time to play and explore.
Because of my mother’s example, I do the same things to spark my children’s creativity. Whether through art, music, sports or literature, I strive to give them many opportunities to express themselves. As parents, it is important for us identify our kids’ talents and look for ways to channel their creativity into positive outlets.
The following 15 activities will help you to spark your child’s creativity. Talent is not important when attempting these activities. Having fun is all that counts.
15 Ways to Spark Your Child’s Creativity 1 of 16
Make up a story 2 of 16
Begin with a simple phrase such as "Once upon a time..." Allow your child to add a sentence to progress the story forward. No matter how silly the story gets, keep taking turns until someone finally brings it to a close. I always like to interject an outlandish plot twist to keep the story interesting. The kids follow my lead and together we've created some interesting stories.
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Break something 3 of 16
Kids are always breaking things. Now is their chance to break things without getting in trouble. Gather all of those old electronics, broken toys, and irrepairable appliances and let your children dismantle them. Not only will they have fun using tools, but they will also learn how objects work by examining the individual pieces. After they've had time to adequately dissect the item, challenge them to put it back together again.
Build something 4 of 16
I've built many things with my kids: model cars and rockets, pinewood derby racers, a cigar box guitar. But our favorite activity is building things with LEGO bricks. We've built entire Lego kingdoms from scratch complete with buildings, people and vehicles. We have some many Lego pieces that my house looks like a LEGO factory. I endure the clutter because I know that something interesting will rise from the chaos.
If you're not sure what to build with your kids, you get a few ideas from the book, "Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share."
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Talk a nature walk 5 of 16
Today's kids are so plugged in that they sometimes suffer from sensory overload. That's why it's nice to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. Once a year, my family takes a camping trip to a location where we cannot get a cellphone signal and there is no Wi-Fi. Each day, I take the kids for a walk through the forest. I try not to talk so they can listen to leaves crunching underneath their feet, animals rustling in the trees, and wind winding through the forest. We always feel rejuvenated after a weekend in the woods. If you don't have access to a forest, take your kids to the local park or down a hiking trail and let them experience the beauty of outdoors.
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Hold an Improv comedy show 6 of 16
Kids like to laugh and many of them are natural jokesters. Having an improv comedy night will not only spark your child's imagination, but it will also hone their critical thinking skills. Doing improv will force them to think fast and flex their comedic muscles. Everyone will have a great time as the kids create humorous scenarios from mundane or outrageous topics.
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Create a new language 7 of 16
I taught my kids Pig Latin two years ago. Since then, they've been creating their own languages. Although their new languages are very similar to Pig Latin, I enjoy listening to their creating a new way to speak. Your kids will also enjoy making up new languages because it gives them a way to speak in code and say things in a way that only they understand.
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Start a band 8 of 16
If you have actual musical instruments, that's great. But they aren't necessary to form your band. Neither is any actual musical talent. All you need is a few pots and pans, some wooden spoons, rubber bands, a cardboard paper towel cylinder and plenty of enthusiasm. With these simple instruments, you and your kids can rock and roll all night.
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Go on a Scavenger Hunt 9 of 16
Scavenger hunts are exciting because they have elements of mystery and adventure. Kids love to seek out hidden objects. Make the hunt fun by developing interesting clues that make the kids think. Encourage them to work together as a team to find the treasure.
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Travel 10 of 16
I never got to travel much as a kid. That's one of the reasons why travel is so important to my family. So far my kids have experienced things that I didn't experience until I was an adult (they've visited over a dozen states).
Kids need to see different cultures and understand that the world is a diverse place. They need to eat different foods, hear different music, and attempt to speak different languages. You don't even have to travel out of the country to expose your kids to different environments. New Orleans is much different from Los Angeles and Miami is much different from Boise. Identify a place that is unlike where you live and plan a trip. You will create lifelong memories and expose your kids a new points-of-view.
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Dance 11 of 16
Children enjoy movement. Dancing allows them move around while listening to their favorite music. It's a fun way to get some exercise. I like to have dancey-dance time with my kids. We plug in the iPod and take turns picking our dance songs. Although my kids are rhythmically challenged, I love to seem them express themselves with their movements. They don't care that they look silly. They only care about enjoying the moment.
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Write a poem 12 of 16
Your poems can be whimsical like Shel Silversteins, or an epic tale of the life of a 5th grader. They can rhyme or not. It's entirely up to you. Challenge each other to write to a particular style of poetry such as haiku, sonnet, or limerick. After you're done writing, have a poetry reading in your living room. Berets are optional.
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Have a Puppet Show 13 of 16
Start by finding some old socks to make the puppets. Let your kids decorate their puppets and give them a personality. When the puppets are complete, crouch behind the couch and start the show. It can scripted or totally improvised. You may discover that you're raising a the next Jim Hensen.
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Read a book 14 of 16
Reading feeds the imagination. When I was a kid, I was rarely seen without a book. They were my escape, taking me to places that transcended the poverty, squalor, and despair that surrounded me. Through my books, I could be an astronaut, detective, or brave knight. My kids feel the same way. They love to read and would rather buy a book and a toy.
Allow your kids to read a variety of books. They will probably settle on a genre they like, but make sure they are exposed to different stories and authors.
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Let them shoot 15 of 16
Buy some disposable cameras and leave them around the house where the kids can find them. Tell them to use them to take pictures throughout the day. Since the camera only has a limited number of exposures (as opposed to a digital camera), your kids will consider each shot more carefully. When the roll is complete, get the film developed (their imaginations will run wild while they wait on the photos) and share the photos with your kids. They'll enjoy telling you the stories of how they created each photo and you'll cherish the moments that they captured.
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Draw Portraits 16 of 16
Grab some art supplies and draw portraits together. First draw self-portraits then draw portraits of each other. This activity is fun and interesting because it will give you some insight into how your kids view themselves and you. Take some time to talk about what they were thinking while they were drawing. Hang the pictures on the refrigerator to acknowledge your budding Picassos. I like to have my kids repeat this exercise on a regular basis to see how their perceptions change over the years.
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