Getting Creativity Flowing with your Elementary Schoolers

Giving your children opportunities to express their natural creativity enhances their brain
development. When they have fun expressing themselves with activities like music, arts, and
crafts, they learn to actively solve problems and look at situations in new ways.
Creative expression is an important part of life! The arts provide opportunities to explore culture
and develop thinking, communication, and social skills. Music promotes number and language
skills. It also helps children develop rhythm, melody, and timing and is naturally calming. Drama
and acting develop spoken language. Drawing and creative movement activities like dance help
develop fine and gross motor skills. Encouraging and providing opportunities for creative
expression helps develop confidence and healthy self-esteem. Through the arts, children learn
more about their world!

It is important to focus on the process of creative expression, rather than the result. With
practice, curiosity, and repetition, their skills will develop over time. The pure pleasure of putting
crayons to paper, or manipulating a blob of clay in their hands is something to enjoy. Try to keep
judgments out of your comments to your child. Instead, describe what you see and ask open-
ended questions. For example, “There is a lot of red in your picture, can you tell me about your

Creative expression can help children access and articulate their feelings. It may be easier to
draw a picture of how they feel than to talk about it. You may hear them work out conflicts or
challenges through their creative play. By expressing themselves through art, music, or drama,
children can try out new ways of thinking and problem-solving, and sometimes come up with
creative solutions.

How to Encourage Your Kids to be Creative
Notice activities your child shows interest in

Often, things that our kids are interested in come out during playtime. Pay attention to repeated
activities that they do during play times to see what might spark their creativity. If your child is
always strumming on their toy guitar and banging on pots and pans, see if they are interested in
a local music class. If they love to move their bodies any time a song comes on the TV, a dance
group might be fun! Joining a group or class can be a way of encouraging and expanding their
interest and skills.

Let your child try different things

You might find that the first activity you try isn’t the one your child is passionate about, and that’s
all part of the learning process! Continue to pay attention to what they’re showing you they like through their play, and with time you’ll find creative activities they enjoy. Practice is how kids (and adults!) grow their confidence, so if you find something they enjoy, try to stick with it for a
little while to see your child grow and thrive with a new, fun skill being developed. When you
encourage your child to stick with an activity, even when it seems hard at first, you are building resilience!

Encourage your child’s interests

Incorporate creative play into your regular routine with your child. This could look like painting
and coloring, singing and dancing together, playing dress up, and making up silly stories. Find
whatever works best for your family!

When you’re out and about, make a point to talk about things around you that you find beautiful.
Is there a building you pass on the way to daycare that has a beautiful mural? A cherry blossom
tree that blooms near your house and creates a pink floor on your walks? Point out details such
as colors, lines, and textures. This helps your child see the world through a creative lens!

And encourage your child’s attempts!

If you’ve put your child in music lessons to learn to play the violin, show an interest in it by
listening to them play! When they bring home artwork they made at school, talk about what they
love about it and hang it up for the family to enjoy. Try to avoid any criticism, such as “Dogs
aren’t supposed to be taller than houses!” Let your kids express themselves freely, and give
plenty of praise for trying hard and learning new skills!

Creative hobbies are excellent for self-expression, self-confidence, and connection with others
who share the same interests as your child. Creative activities can be a source of pleasure and
pride for many children and parents, and an enriching part of life!

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