1. Open-ended toys – The more a toy does the less a child will be able to create, explore, and imagine. When choosing toys for your child try to stay away from the moving, walking, talking, beeping, and bleeping. I know that is hard to do in today’s world but these toys are hindering our children’s creativity. When a toy can be a
balance beam one day…
and used for roasting marshmallows the next
You have found yourself a great toy!
A toy also doesn’t necessarily have to be a “toy” at all. Bring the outdoors in… these natural elements just may very well be the best “toys” out there.
“Tree Blocks”, sticks, and bark become forests, bridges, and homes for animals.
Rocks become a forest for dragonflies. Do you see it? We do.
2. Art Materials – Your art materials should be just like your toys… open-ended. A blank sheet of paper and a box of crayons will take your children to way more places than coloring between the lines of an image in a coloring book. Coloring books tend to leave children uninvolved in their art. By offering and having materials that consist of paint, glue, glitter, buttons, cotton balls, etc. you are opening up their world to an endless amount of creative possibilities.
Open-ended art spaces
2 years old
20 Months old
3. Reading- The definition of imagination is “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality”. What a great way to bring this out by reading a book! By reading to your child they are able to imagine their own sights, sounds, and feelings. Have you ever read a book, went to watch the movie and hated it? Did everything look nothing like you pictured it? Reading expands your mind in ways nothing else can.
Let your children bring their stories to life.
“3 Little Pigs”
4. Respect- Let your children know that you value their play. If they are building or working on something ALWAYS ask them first if it is OK to clean up or put away. Can you imagine if you were an architect working on a big project and someone came along and threw all your blueprints away?
Display artwork on the walls and refrigerator. Let your children “overhear” you talking about how hard they worked on that play-doh creation. They are listening!
You will see creative works like this out in our homes for weeks on end. Yes, even if they are in the middle of the living room floor.
Artwork hanging on walls and from the ceiling.
5. Play – If your child asks you to jump aboard on their rocket ship say YES. If they ask you to join their tea party say YES. Get down on the floor and play! Be a pig-monkey for the day. Pack your suitcase full of clothes and head to the “beach”. Let them take you to places that you have never been before. It may just be your best vacation yet.