6 ways to foster creativity in your kids

August 7, 2012 in Creativity,lessons for daughters

Creativity is a divine gift for humans. It is a coping and survival skill. It can grow and flourish or shrink and barely survive. As a mom, I want to encourage creativity, foster it and make it grow in my girls. Creativity is not limited to crayons, markers, glue and scissors though when kids are young art supplies are certainly a way we encourage creativity. Creativity is not an end product. It is a process. So today, I share 6 ways we foster creativity in our house.

Disclaimer: If you are overwhelmed by the craft world, you need to know that my creativity isn’t of the artsy sort. I create mostly with words. I don’t like to sew, cook, scrapbook, and do DIY projects. But I value the entire creative world, admire the wide-range of skills creative people have, and want to develop these skills in my girls.

6 Ways to Nurture Creativity

    1. Accept that fostering this gift will result in messes. Be okay with that. Love the messes as part of the process. Still, teach your kids where the best places to make a mess might be in your house and then to clean up the mess when they done (accept that some creative projects will require a mess to remain for weeks).
      2. Provide access to materials. Since my girls where little, the craft shelf has been within their reach. Certain materials were kept up high, like liquid glue. But pipe cleaners, crayons, paper, glue sticks, wiggly eyes, popsicle sticks, sparkling buttons all have been within reach. As they’ve gotten older, we’ve added stamping supplies, painting supplies, scrap booking papers, felt, needles and thread, scissors with funky edges, and more. The house rule is that the girls have to ask before they create (in case we are about to leave or have company). When they were younger, I used to stress about how much paper they would waste on drawings they spent 2 minutes on. I’ve stopped worrying, because it isn’t worth it, but we have a drawer of scratch paper now.
        3. As they get older, teach them the importance of a plan. When kids hit mid-elementary, some of them will hit a road block. Creative projects can cause frustration because a finished project doesn’t match the image in their head or they will waste endless time and supplies starting over again and again seeking perfection. Teach them to use that scratch paper to make blue prints for projects. Even God gave plans for the furnishings in the temple. Turning creative ideas into reality rarely happens with out a plan and practice. This step is teaching them to love the creative process.

4.Don’t buy plastic stuff. Really. Who needs doll house furniture that looks pretty but collects dust? I have proud memories of my cheap press board dollhouse. My parents let me paint it and use old floor and wall paper samples to decorate the inside. I used cardboard and fabric scraps to make the furniture, and I was proud to show that thing off for many years. My girls recently are into horses. They thought they needed a horse stable. Toys R Us sells a cool plastic stable for a bunch of money or I have could spent hours looking for a used one and then proudly posted my good deal on Facebook. But my girls? They created a Popsicle stick ranch. It took hours of non-fighting time.

5. Let them fail. When your girl starts sewing a Tinker Bell costume with the felt you keep around and uses a stitch that you know won’t withstand her clumsy fairy flights you can suggest she use the right stitch. But when she insists that her way is going to work, drop it. Let her try.  Failure builds character. And there is no need to rub it in with an “I told you so.” But a kind,”Would you like me to help you stitch that so that it stays together?” might end the failure tears  and help you two bond. When a failure makes them want to quit, step in and help them see their project through to the end.

        6. Help them develop their own skills without making them love yours. If your daughter frowns at craft time at VBS (which you planned) or groans about art class at school, her creativity isn’t best nurtured through shopping at JoAnn’s. But if she loves Legos and building blocks, take her to some of the kids’ building classes at Lowes. If your daughter loves to sew and your only sewing skill is attaching buttons, sign her up for a class or ask a friend who quilts to meet with her once a week for a few months to complete a quilting project.

So friends, how do you nurture your child’s creativity? This post is part 3 of 4 in the creativity and kids series. Click here to start at the beginning.
Sharing with Studio JRU, where creative hearts link up their work for the week.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Blond Duck August 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

You’re such a great Mom. My mom encouraged our creativity with crafts and projects and it really helped make me the writer I am today.



Missy | Literal Mom August 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I’m nurturing my oldest’s creativity right now by allowing her to be in a summer play. She’s loved every minute of it.


Paloma August 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Beautiful! 🙂


jamie August 10, 2012 at 3:25 am

That’s so lovely, Laura! Nurturing the little ones at an early age is so important 🙂


Pieces of Sunshine August 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Looks like a good list Laura. Seeing that children have enough time to think/play creatively is important and I think it also helps to set an example of enjoying doing creative things ourselves as well, developing our own creativity.


Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios August 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

“Help them develop their own skills without making them love yours.” How right on that statement is. What a great list. Good thoughts… for fostering just about everything…


Beverley Baird August 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Reading and crafting were the 2 great loves I imposed on my kids – they loved it though. Some of the best memories were creating papier mache animals or painting. If there were mistakes, I always tried to show them that it could always be fixed someway.
At school. I will not take art out of my classsroom, even with all the push for improving testing scores. Kids need art and the crativity it develiops.
Great post and series!


Beth August 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm

What great thoughts! I think messiness is great. 🙂 Wandered over here from Studio JRU…


Jennifer @ Studio JRU August 11, 2012 at 2:45 am

Creating your own doll house furniture or horse fencing is so, so much better! Love that. Such a pretty quilt. Many wonderful ways to foster creativity!!


Shannon August 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I have a hard time accepting creativity will sometimes be messy! HA! I think it’s my OCD.

Visiting from SITS!


Katie E August 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Great tips! I like to think I foster creativity in my kids – mostly by allowing them to be their natural creative selves, and yes, allowing messes. I wish I were more creative myself so that we could do more projects together though!

Visiting from SITS.


Tonia Sanders August 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm

These are great tips. Perhaps it’s time for me to lower the art supplies on the shelf. I keep paper, crayons, and colored pencils out now.


misssrobin August 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Such wonderful tips! I absolutely believe we need to foster creativity in our children. What a wonderful gift we offer when we help them understand that they can create their own world.

Stopping by from SITS. Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


hilljean August 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm

This is such a great post! Fostering creativity is so important to me and I definitely struggle with keeping my opinions and suggestions out when my daughter is “creating” something. I also need to work on letting her fail at times. You are right–it definitely builds character.

Stopping by from SITS and I’m gonna pin this great post!


Trish @ The All-around Mom August 12, 2012 at 12:15 am

Dealing with the mess can sometimes get in my nerves but it’s true that we just have to let our children be because it’s part of them expressing their creativity. Thanks for sharing these great tips!
Visiting from SITS Saturday Sharefest. xoxo 🙂


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