Creative development is the process of developing creative abilities through exploration, decision-making, and expression. Creativity is the freest and highest form of expression and helps children manage and cope with their feelings. For this reason, we want to be intentional about making room for creative outlets in our home.
So, how do we go about scheduling creative time into our homeschool day? The obvious answer would be to make time to do something creative. But allow me to go a little deeper and discuss specific ways to foster creative development in children that perhaps you may not have thought of before.
1. Give your child a variety of new experiences.
We don’t usually think of experiences like kayaking, strawberry picking, and field trips as fostering creative development but exposing our children to varieties of experiences offers them a more comprehensive range of creative expression. Even better is exposing our children to various new experiences, which will create new neural pathways as they adapt to the new experiences, learn new information, and create new memories.
2. Give your child multicultural experiences.
We must offer our children multiethnic and multicultural experiences through travel, visiting cultural museums and art galleries, and encouraging diversity in our friendships and communities. The more experiences children have with people and situations outside of their environment, the more material they can draw from to incorporate into their creative expression.
3. Give your child open-ended toys to play with.
This tip is for the little ones. Have you ever noticed that when your toddler opens a present, they are more fixated on the wrapping paper or box than the gift itself? That’s because the wrapping paper and empty box are open-ended, begging their creative minds to play along. While a toy sword and a princess castle can invite creative play, sometimes these objects can stifle the potential of the imagination. Instead, give your child a stick and watch as they go from pretending to be a knight with sword and armor to a master chef stirring a pot of their special soup. Or offer your child an empty box and observe as they go from pretending to be the queen of the castle to taking a drive to the grocery store. In a nutshell, when children explore and experiment with objects such as boxes and sticks, they are using both their sensory and physical senses to extend their thinking.
4. Introduce your child to a variety of creative expressions.
I remember falling in love with theater when my mom signed me up for my very first theater class in third grade. I was amazed by this form of creative expression. That for a moment, I could pretend I was outgoing and charismatic—the opposite of my shy nature as a child. But strangely enough, those theater classes introduced me to a part of myself I never knew existed. There was part of me that was bold, courageous, and fearless. I would have missed out on this experience had my mom never signed me up. I share that story with you to say, just as you’d sign your child up for different sports to gather which one they’d take a liking to, sign your children up for different kinds of art, music, and dance classes, or any other form of creative expression. You can also incorporate various forms of creative expression into your homeschool lessons. Just be sure to pay close attention to those activities that make their eyes sparkle.
5. Incorporate Whole Child Learning.
Whole Child Learning prioritizes the full scope of a child’s developmental needs to ensure that every child reaches their full potential. The education model is based on the premise that children have six selves that comprise who they are: cognitive, physical, emotional, social, creative, and spiritual. Think of the full scope of your child’s development as one giant puzzle. All the pieces work together to form the whole child. If just one part is missing, the puzzle is incomplete. For instance, creative play fosters physical development, which is tied to emotional stability, social intelligence, and cognitive function. Therefore, to ensure your child reaches their full potential, you must ensure they are developing well in all areas.