Importance of Playtime: How to Encourage Your Child's Creativity & Imagination

Importance of Playtime: How to Encourage your Child's Creativity & Imagination

As a parent, it’s exciting to watch your children explore their creativity! Creating a supportive environment and gently guiding your child as they lean into their natural curiosity and wonder can help their creative talents flourish. 

The challenge of helping your child enjoy creativity isn’t so much about teaching them how to be creative. Rather, it’s about finding the delicate balance between providing guidance and stepping back while they explore. The more creativity focused time you spend with your child, the more you’ll recognize what they need to experience the full benefit of their inquisitive nature.

Here, we’ll explore why play is such an important part of the learning process, and how you and your family can create spaces and experiences conducive to creative growth.

Importance of Play in Child Development

In many ways, the world is still brand new to children, which is why play is so important. It’s how they learn about everything! Playtime doesn't just spark your child's imagination — it also has myriad benefits that allow them to grow and learn. 

Play:

  • Supports children’s mental growth in areas of problem-solving, measurement, balance and spatial relationships.
  • Promotes new thought patterns through reflection, inquiry and curiosity.
  • Allows children to develop their verbal, sensory and hand-eye coordination skills.
  • Creates space for social growth including empathy, understanding different perspectives, valuing the needs of others and learning how to understand their feelings and the feelings of their peers.
Activities to Try at Home to Boost Creativity and Imagination 

Great news, it’s not expensive or difficult to support your child’s creativity! Simply understanding how to create an environment that fosters imagination can work to help your child discover their inner creative genius.

  • Nature walk: Taking your child for a stroll outside and encouraging them to collect stones, sticks and leaves empowers them to interact with their world — and with you. Encouraging your child to move creatively can add a new challenge as you walk together. Playing a game of follow the leader on your walk – where your child gets to be the leader – gives them a chance to be think creatively.
  • Fun in the kitchen: Invite your little one to join you in the kitchen and encourage them to explore textures, smells and tastes. Discover along with your child, tasting new spices, fruits and vegetables. If you’re trying a new recipe, work to emphasize the process you’re going through – not necessarily the end product. If the food you create is a dud, laugh it off together and ask your child what you should do differently next time. 
  • Encourage mess: We get it – it can be tough to step back when watching your little ones get messy! Doing so, however, can spark ideas for a new project, help your child discover new ways to manipulate objects or create an opportunity for a new social interaction with siblings or friends. Jumping in on the mess making can be an exciting way to encourage your child and have fun as they discover their creativity. 
  • Sensory bins: Encouraging your child to play with different textures — like rice, pasta, sand or beans — can help them to get curious. When it’s warm enough outside, placing toys in tubs of water can be a fun way for your child to explore and get creative. No matter what type of sensory experience you create, switch out materials regularly so that your child is challenged and has the chance to explore new ideas.
  • Music: When your child is exposed to art and music from a young age, they get a boost in motor skills, visual learning and even confidence.
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