To promote creativity in kids for me means giving them an environment where they can let their imagination run free and think without barriers. My elder son Nik is soon going to be 7 years and the younger one Lucky is 3.5 years. There are a gamut of activities that I engage them in and continue to do to help them fly high with their imagination.
I personally feel that free play is the best way to help kids run free with their creativity. Yet, kids need a guided platform to make good use of their time and develop their skills. Thus, apart from free play I engage my kids in some guided activities that enable them to let their imagination run wild. These activities undoubtedly also give a strong foundation of independent and free thought for kids.
How I Promote Creativity Among My Kids
I have been reading to my kids from the age of 6 months. With almost 40 story books in our home library, I take turns with books that they are fond of and new books that they don’t find very interesting yet. Slowly I added a new dimension to the reading routine. With a book in my hand, I ask them questions like
a. What do you see in the picture?
b. What is the character in the book doing?
c. What is happening in the picture?
d. What do you think will happen next?
The above questions give them enough leads to think on their feet and come up with a story of their own. The stories are kind of absurd, but they are cute and are a reflection of what and how my kids’ mind works. So for the picture where Alladin enters the cave to find a room full of jewels, Nik has his own version. According to him, Alladin was getting bored during his vacations so he asked his uncle to take him to the secret cave where he could play with the toys. But wen he comes to the cave instead of his toys he finds these jewels and a lamp. He decides to play with the lamp and finds a Gennie.
A simple one, yet I am impressed!
Ever since birth, my kids have been in a habit of listening to lullabies while being put to sleep. Let me tell you that Nik is a slightly difficult child to put to sleep. He wants to wait for his father who generally works late and it means remaining awake well past his sleeping time. I have to placate him through new stories and lullabies. Where would I learn so many lullabies from? Or rather why would I spend time learning lullabies? So I decided to make my own lullabies. I used the rhythm of the existing lullabies and put in my own words in them. So for example, the one line from “Nani teri morni ko Mor le gaye…” became “Papa apke Nikku ko Chachu le gaye, Aur apke pass Kairavi ko chod gaye” (Kairavi is his first cousin) “Khake Peeke Lambe hoke Nikku pahuncha class mein, Class mein sab exercise karke Nikku ban gaya Strong re”. I know it sounds absurd but he really enjoys these and has now started coming up with his own versions.
Playing with Clay
This is something I picked up from my own childhood. I along with my sister, in our childhood were always high on making something or the other with clay. So is the case with the kids in my household. Currently what they make is not anything definite, but its fun to listen to their description of weird things that they make. I am sure it’s the imaginative nerve tickling within them. And these days you have the Active Sand too. It opens up limitless opportunities for kids to create new things while having fun. Clay definitely tops my list of preferred activities to promote creativity among kids.
We have all done it in our childhood. Remember the never-ending “Ghar-ghar” , “Chor-Police” acts which went on like the current day soap operas (only that ours where very innocent in our agendas such as How to convince mom to buy us a chocolate today or How to convince dad to take us for an outing?) I initially engaged in role plays with my toddlers where I would become the monster who is out to search for kids who have not had their dinner. Recently Nik has become the monster who is out to look for Mamma(s) who do not give candies to children. Some days Lucky plays a cab driver, a Chaat vendor or a mechanic. Oh and there are days when the two wreck a havoc in my living room, by removing all the cushions from the sofa and aligning them to make their jet plane. They become pilots some days, while on others they are out in a motorbike conquering the world.
How do you promote creativity among your kids? Do you work on specific focused activities, or are you a mother like me who believes in the power of free play?
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