A friend of mine graciously gave us a set of big blocks and I thought the kids would be bored with it after a while. But they still take it out to play occasionally and haven't abandoned it. KokoD really does a better job than me at creating things. He makes robots from his legos. He made a helicopter and airplane with the big blocks. I caught him making this a few weeks ago:
So, how do you encourage creativity in a child?
- I'm no expert but I believe having time for free play is important.
- Also giving them toys and tools that encourage them to create like legos and blocks. Not forgetting making readily available lots of recycled paper, stationary and art materials. I really don't fancy toys that require battery and make a lot of noise.
- In the beginning you may have to spend some time teaching them how to play with the stuff. But you don't need to include a whole lot of instruction. Just show them how to work it / use it / assemble it, give some examples to showcase the many possibilities of what can be created, then let them have fun with it. There is no right or wrong. For example, if they color an apple purple, don't tell them it's wrong.
- Praise, praise, praise.
- Show your appreciate their creation. I still keep most of my girl's "cards" and mini books that she made for me. These cards and mini books are really small pieces of paper that she took time to write and decorate. After a while, this bunch of tiny papers will look like junk. But she knows I keep them and that is my way of saying "your work is appreciated." Even taking pictures of what they have done is motivation for them. Sometimes they will make something and run to me shouting "mommy, take a picture of this!" Another thing you can do is hang their creation on the wall or stick it up on the refrigerator. Showcase it.
- Allow them to observe what you do. Don't chase them away and say they are "disturbing". Yes, they may be disturbing but they are learning too. One way to make them "less disturbing" is to involve them somehow. So, if you are cooking, maybe let them name the ingredients you are using. If you are folding clothes, give them a hankerchief and let them figure out how to fold it. The trick is to keep them occupied with something related to what you are doing but that will also keep them out of your way.
- Read more books and less television.