How to encourage creativity in your toddler/preschooler

There is no doubt that Aidan has a strong creative side whether he is making up stories to tell me, making up songs to sing, painting or taking pictures, it is a big part of who he is at the moment.
Creativity is a great skill to have, it opens you up to a world of possibilities so I try to encourage this side of him…(without ignoring the other sides naturally)As I’m not a trained teacher or child psychologist the following 10 tips have not gone through clinical trial 🙂 It is just what I believe as a “creative adult” and parent to a “creative child”.

The pictures in the post (excluding the picture above which shows the leappad 2 he uses to take pictures) were all taken by Aidan. I was pretty impressed by it, these were the best of like 40 he took, not bad for a 3 year old

1. Try different things
Maybe painting is your child’s thing, maybe it is making figures with play dough or making music…you need to keep trying different things and exposing your child to different creative outlets.
2. Lean on other creatives
If being arty farty is not your thing, chat to a friend who is, or enroll your child in a class and even easier than that…use the internet! use blogs or columns like mine over at tums2tots (shameless) or just check out pinterest.
3. Don’t be afraid to get messy
The best part of being crafty and creative with your child, is doing it with your child. Enjoy the experience of being messy together, even if it’s not your thing, your creative little one will appreciate it.
4. Step away
This is hard for me at times…letting him colour outside of the lines, paint over already painted pictures and the like (my poor heart) it’s tough but it’s good for them.
5. Forget the rules
You know those colouring pages they give at restaurants? Well Aidan likes to turn those around and draw his own pictures, the first time he did that I was tempted to “show him the right way” but leaving him to do what he wanted resulted in his first “picture of me” .
6. Be open to new things
Toddlers/Preschoolers are quite affected by how we react, if mommy/daddy  seems to like this new project they would be more willing to try it out.
7. Make mistakes
My parents are pretty creative people but I know they make mistakes, they never hid that, through them I learnt that it’s okay to mess up and that it is part of the fun to go from there and make something better than you imagined. I don’t hide messing up from Aidan, we have had many a good laugh about the fact that his mom can’t cut straight without a ruler .
8. Set up creative spaces
Sometimes all you need is some art supplies and a quiet corner, leave your child to it and see what they come up with.
9. Make it okay to be different
Encourage your child to be him/her self and not follow the crowd. Creatives are often outsiders and you as a parent need to show them that what makes them different is what makes them special.
10. Don’t micro manage boredom
This one is tough because you want to make sure your child is happy and entertained, but in my experience…imagination grows in the “bored spaces” just yesterday we went for a drive and I cursed the fact that I didn’t bring a tablet for him to watch but within minutes he was staring out of the window pointing out clouds shaped like animals and donuts
I am always willing to learn so if you have any tips that work for you please comment below 🙂

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