From a very early age it’s important to encourage your child to be creative. It’s not so much about discovering the next Matisses and Dalis, but about expression, fun and development. You might learn a thing or two too.
1.Painting – It’s going to get Messy! Children love nothing more than a selection of brightly coloured paints, a large sheet of blank paper and a selection of brushes or sponges. Put plenty of newspaper down, cover your little one in an old t-shirt or apron, and watch your child’s imagine let loose. For a bit of variety, swap traditional brushes for homemade potato prints, or let them experiment with fingers and toes.
2.Drawing – this allows your child to hone their fine motor skills. Using felt tips, crayons, coloured pencils or chalk, encourage them to draw the world around them, offering encouragement when they get stuck. Sit down together and spend a happy half-hour drawing a woodland forest full of animals, a snowy mountaintop or a family portrait.
3. Model making – at this age it’s less about the Lego and more about the play dough and plasticine. Children just love to feel the texture of this malleable material and squidge it into different shapes. Why not ask your little one to fashion you some fish fingers, chips and peas for a tea party, or create some cute farm animals to play with?
4. Nature – go for a walk with your young artist and see what inspirational treats you can find along the way for a future piece of artwork. Leaves of different shapes and colours work very well with a dab of glue, likewise pebbles can be painted or used in a counting game.
5. Sand – whether you’re at the beach or in a sandpit, there’s nothing quite like the feel of sand running through tiny fingers and toes. With a bucket, spade and some basic plastic moulds, there’s no limit to the castles and other imaginary kingdoms you can build.
6. Water – in a similar way to sand, water can also stimulate children’s imagination. Make bath times fun by providing some basic bath toys – even an empty shampoo bottle will do! Children love to pour water from one container into another, and this is the place for it! Also investigate bath crayons and blowing bubbles – it’s just as much fun in the bathroom as outside in the garden.
7. Stories – make storytelling a part of your day, every day. There’s no better way to send your child happily into dreamland than with a cuddle from a parent and a bedtime story. It doesn’t always have to come from a book – try telling each other stories too. There’s no limit to where your imagination might take you.
8. Music – let your child experience and celebrate sound, rhythm and melody by playing music often. Invest in some inexpensive child-friendly instruments, or simply bang along on an upside-down mixing bowl. Make up your own songs and why not dance while you’re at it?
9. Trips – family visits to museums, concerts and shows will educate your child about other people’s imaginations and how they express their ideas. It’s a great way to encourage creativity by showing how society values art, music and literature.
10. Role-play – let your imagination run riot and build a fort, play shops or take a rocket ship to the moon. Pretending games are a vital way to get your child thinking creatively, as well as challenge her to blend her ideas constructively with those of her playmates. Have fun.