Inspiring creativity in our children can be intimidating for some families. Many have no idea where to begin, or believe that since they aren’t artistic or crafty themselves, that they have no way to pass creativity on to their own children.
It can be done, and should be done. It will look differently in every home, but it begins with the same idea: exposing your children to the creative side of life.
This is what it looked like in our home when our girls were small.
Outdoor free play was important. Sometimes it was making a train out of lawn chairs. Sometimes it was filling buckets full of earthworms or cardboard cities in the back yard.
Music was vital. We listened to all types of music, sang songs and danced around. They made noise, played on instruments, and made up songs. Growing up, they knew the sounds of Bach, the Wiggles, the Beatles, Union Station, Guns and Roses and Norah Jones.
Our home was imagination friendly. As long as they weren’t overly destructive, or in danger, they had the freedom to play. As you can see in the photo below, we had all sorts of things accessible, even as toddlers and preschoolers. The desk and drawers were full of paper, glue, markers, scissors, paint…you name it. And they were allowed to use them. They were allowed to empty closets of blankets and pillows to make forts. They were allowed to drag baskets of books under the table to read.
Yes, sometimes their creativity ran away with them…
But even then, it was an opportunity to learn about personal responsibility, caring for your home, and how to clean up.
We had toys that had no specific purpose. Simple wooden blocks that provided years of entertainment and learning, marbles and balls, nameless dolls, boxes of odds and ends for inventing; all were available for play.
We let them take some risks, like climbing trees, and playing in creeks. Yes, they fell. Yes they bled. And oh, did they get dirty! But they made some wonderful memories, and can still recall the elaborate dramas they created in their minds as they played outside.
They used real tools, like scissors. Yes, hair got cut occasionally. It grew back.
Sometimes, paint got eaten. (Non-toxic, of course.)
Sometimes it was actual food…they learned how to cook and use real kitchen appliances. A real oven was used instead of an Easy Bake.
They even had places to go for quiet contemplation or just to be alone.
And plenty of opportunity for complete silliness.
Their adventures led them to all sorts of imaginary places.
And sometimes even turned up an Oompa-Loompa.
The point is, creativity doesn’t have to be a beautiful work of art. It is often messy and a little wild. It is simply the freedom to let your mind play.
Apryl–Born and raised in Tennessee, Apryl is a southern girl at heart. She lives out in the country with her husband and her three daughters. After having an unfulfilling public school education herself, and struggling to find peace with the education her girls were receiving in the public school system, she made the choice to homeschool. When they began their homeschool journey, the girls were in the third and sixth grades. Now she is happily coaching three teenaged daughters through their high school years.