Parents & Teachers
Creativity Tips

Tips On Encouraging Creativity In Young Children

Here are some ways teachers and parents can help children learn to think creatively about the new situations they face and their daily activities.
  1. Help children see a variety of perspectives by generating several solutions to a problem or a question. For example, when you're on your way home together help your child think about the many different ways you could get home. Don't stop at the first idea when both of you can think up many more - some practical and some wildly imaginative.
  2. Give children time to play fantasy games and make up their own stories.
  3. Take some time for "silly" games and leave reality behind. Here are some examples you might want to try with your child or your class.
    • Play pretend. Give your child a handful of sand and ask him/her to pretend that he/she is the sand.
    • Start a story that takes place in a different country and/or a different time. For example, ask a child to describe what he/she would wear, eat, and how he/she would stay warm if he/she Lived in the Arctic Circle in an igloo.
  4. Give children choices. Children who are given choices show more creativity than children whose parents make all the decisions for them.
  5. Give children experiences that will stimulate all their senses. For example when you go to the park, ask children to smell the grass and the flowers as well as look at them.
  6. An environment that is filled with many different colorful, interesting objects and decorations can help them think creatively. For example, if you bring some boxes into a room, place them in different spots around the room, and ask, "What can we use these for?", children will come up with a few ideas. After a few moments they will start looking around the room to get ideas from their environment and more ideas will begin to flow. This is a creative problem-solving technique.
  7. Create an atmosphere where children understand that there is no one right answer for every problem. Enthusiastically encourage children to develop more than one solution to any problem. Chances are you will see greater creativity in problem solving.
  8. Perhaps most importantly, give children time: time to play, time to experiment, time to make mistakes, time to consider all the possibilities in a situation, and time to explore their own fantasy world. All that time will help them become more creative in problem-solving and they just may become the kind of adults who can easily "think outside the box."

Encouraging Creativity in Early Childhood Classrooms
ERIC DIGEST December 1995
Carolyn Pope Edwards and Kay Wright Springate

Creativity in Young Children
Sara Gabel, a human development specialist at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU Extension).
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