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8 Ways to Inspire Creativity in Your Toddler

We all know that our toddlers are innately and naturally creative.  Just watch them play with their favorite “toy”, that’s not really a toy at all, but something they’ve re-purposed to entertain themselves.

But, the unfortunate thing is that creativity is on the decline in our country, as our kids’ scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking have been steadily going down since 1990.

There are lots of factors that contribute to this decline, including more screen time for younger children, toys with batteries that do the “playing” for the child, and an educational system that needs to produce results on standardized tests, meaning less room for creative outlets at school.

We as parents can have a big impact on boosting our children’s creativity though, here are eight ways to inspire creativity in your toddler:


  • Power Down 1 of 8
    Power Down
    Kids who watch TV, or play computer games, are being entertained by someone else instead of spending their time in creative, imaginative play. So, limit screen time to less than two hours per day, for kids over two years old.
  • Get Back to Nature 2 of 8
    Get Back to Nature
    Let your kids explore the outdoors freely, without being too closely monitored. Nature provides the most basic and inspiring of things to play with - dirt, stones, sticks, leaves, and bugs.
  • Limit Scheduled Activities 3 of 8
    Limit Scheduled Activities
    As much as it is popular to enroll your tot in all different kinds of activities, if you're always running your child from one class to another, they have less opportunity for downtime, which encourages creative play.
  • Offer Creativity Boosting Toys 4 of 8
    Offer Creativity Boosting Toys
    Kids can come up with tons of fun uses for open ended toys like blocks, art supplies, dolls or balls. Limit, or completely remove, toys with batteries that do all the playing for your child.
  • Tell Them Stories 5 of 8
    Tell Them Stories
    Stories with imaginary places and characters are great, but even better is the story you tell where your son or daughter is the main character. This helps them to think about themselves in extraordinary and imaginative ways. Also, ask them to tell you stories in return, you will likely be amazed with what they come up with!
  • Being Bored is Okay 6 of 8
    Being Bored is Okay
    If my kids come to me and tell me they are bored, I say, "Good, you'll have to use your imagination to come up with something fun to play." Instead of having someone or something entertaining them all the time, being bored allows kids to learn how to creatively entertain themselves.
  • Let Them Learn to Problem Solve 7 of 8
    Let Them Learn to Problem Solve
    As parents it's tempting to want to fix all our kid's problems for them, we don't like for them to be uncomfortable. But, if we can encourage them to come up with problem solving solutions through support and asking the right kinds of questions, we will boost their creative thinking skills.
  • Model Creativity 8 of 8
    Model Creativity
    This one is hard for me, because I'm not super crafty or creative myself, but we as parents also need to find our own creative outlet and let our kids see us doing it. So whether it's taking up knitting, painting, or sewing, find something that you love and do a little flexing of your own creative muscles, and watch how it inspires your kids.

Photo sources:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

How do you encourage and inspire your toddler’s creativity?

 

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