How to Encourage Creativity in Toddlers

kids playing
kids playing

Creative play and imaginative arts experiences play a central role in toddlers’ learning and development. You can encourage your toddler and support her creativity with free-flowing creative activities. Here are some ideas. Source: Raising Children 

Polymath: someone who knows a lot about many different things. Source: Merriam-Webster

I read a post titled Why the 21st Century Economy Needs More Polymaths on the Fast Company blog and it got me thinking about kids. http://www.fastcompany.com/3056140/why-the-21st-century-economy-needs-more-polymaths

What if you could raise the next Picasso? Picasso is considered the last Renaissance man. He was a painter, sculptor, and poet. Best known for his painting Guernica, he first learned the rules of painting and then had the confidence and creative urge to break every one of them.

Leonardo Da Vinci was another polymath. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, and inventor.

Emilie Wapnick and Multipotentialities

In a great Ted Talk, Emilie Wapnick also addresses this issue. But instead of using the little-known word polymath, she refers to this attribute as multipotentialities.

Now, I’m the first to agree that this is all heady stuff, isn’t it? By now you must be wondering how can all these highfalutin theories apply to your life with a toddler or kindergartner running around the house.

Well, it can. Just take baby steps.

Ideas You Can Start Using Today

Raising Children has these suggestions:

  1. Encourage creativity when your kids play. “For toddlers, creative play is about the process of creating. There’s no right and wrong in how toddlers create and respond to art.”
  2. Don’t criticize your kids’ efforts or misadventures in what they color or create. Instead, always offer praise and encouragement.

Here are some additional ideas from Becoming Mamas:

  1. Does your child want to wear mismatched socks or a striped top with plaid pants. Or, are their color combinations in the clothes they select for themselves a tad garish? Let them experiment. It’s okay.
  2. Visit art museums with your kids. Start with a children’s museum if you have one in your community. Take them to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Northern California where they can see the late cartoonist’s drawings and get involved in activities for kids. If those two activities aren’t available to you, visit any museum located in or near your city.
  3. Does your child play without using toys? This is wonderful for the development of their imagination and creative skills.
  4. As soon as it makes sense, based on your judgment, encourage your kids to solve their own problems.
  5. Suggest that your children play with random items and see how they connect them and create a unique play experience for themselves.

Activities to Promote Creativity in Your Kids

Looking for specific activities for your children? Here are some ideas.

Merriam-Webster defines creativity as “the ability to make new or think of new ideas.” What can you do to promote creativity in your kids’ lives?

Elizabeth B. Martin is the author and illustrator of six picture books for children. You can view her books here for free and download a Free coloring book here.