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Learning in the Early Days and beyond…

small girl looking up smiling and covered in paint splashes
Photo credit: Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Creative learning is best started young. It’s never too late, but the earlier you start to instil a creative way of thinking, the better.

I know I have mentioned this numerous times over the past months, but I make no apologies for saying it again: Creativity is such an important part of learning and growing into an adult with the skills to face an ever-changing world – problem-solving, innovation, thinking outside the box.

So, especially if you have just found us here, let’s just look at a few more tips on how to “grow” a creative child.

Tip 1:

Allow your child to explore their world…

…and where it is safe enough to, that includes doing things that you would normally not allow. This can be different for different people. I’m not talking about letting them wander off down the road alone, before they are ready and ‘trained’, but I do know parents who would stop a child digging in the dirt with their hands at a friend’s party or wading into a muddy puddle in the woods that you have already assessed will be deeper than the top of their wellies!

If you are prepared for these situations (yep, just a quick change of clothes in the back of the car and some dry socks and shoes) then it will allow you to relax (and laugh about it) and your child to discover what happens when you are in a situation like this. Take the puddle. They will learn from it that one puddle can be different depths depending on where it is and also how to deal with a situation they find themselves in – do they cry, standstill and don’t move until someone rescues me or do they work out what to do next, wet feet or not. See what happens and try to encourage the second scenario – it might not work the first time but it will the more they are exposed to situations where they need to think creatively.

Obviously, I’m not suggesting you go out and find a puddle to test your child, but not being afraid as a parent to allow them to test boundaries in the natural world will give your child some freedom to explore and gain knowledge. It’s a bit like becoming what we call “streetwise”. As a child myself, I remember people calling children this when they were confident out in the real world. The streetwise child would be the one to walk to the shop alone at a slightly younger age than the norm, be safe crossing roads - understanding how to ‘read’ traffic - and, basically, not wrapped in a snuggler their whole life.

Tip 2:

Explore new things together.

Whether that is food, walking somewhere new or just trying new activities, whatever you try make it an experience. And I don’t mean spend a fortune on these adventures together. The simplest things are often the best and most worthwhile. They are the memories you will make and offer opportunities for you both to step into creative thinking.

Here’s an example: Plan a winter picnic

child and adult sitting on a log in a filed with smoke in front of them
Photo credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Do this together, even with very small children. Make it a family plan, so everyone has a say. You decide where. You decide when and then plan together.

What do you need?

Food: what can you make? Decide to make everything you take unless it is eaten raw. Choose recipes and make them together. Let your child do as much as possible, even if you measure everything out for them. Let them play an active part.

Clothes: Let them make the decision (and take back up as mentioned before). Explain what the weather might be like (don’t not go if it’s lightly raining, but maybe have an indoor picnic if it’s a thunder and lightening sort of day!) and then let them choose accordingly.

Other items: Think together about what an adventurer might take. How will they carry these things? Agree that everyone will be responsible for carrying their own stuff for the whole day!

As the adult, you can make the big decisions, but keep them to yourself. You are capable of ‘guiding’ a situation to the right outcome, whilst also allowing the freedoms we talked about above.

Tip 3:

Get out in the garden or park.

Being outdoors is such a great way to develop creative ideas. Simple things like planting a seed will encourage caring and nurturing but will also grow something that will be eaten or admired🌻Flowers can be pressed, drawn, painted, some eaten or used in a bouquet. Vegetables are eaten or preserved – try growing unusual varieties to explore flavour as well and challenging the known! Developing a creative eater or cook can have a huge impact on a child in their future life, be that for independence or health reasons.

Child watering plants with a silver metal watering can
Photo credit: Filip Urban on Unsplash

Even the smallest space can be used to grow plants. Herbs are a great way to develop taste in young children and can be grown on a bright windowsill. No excuses! 🪴

Use the park to create family games. Get out in the fresh air and play. Over time, you will be surprised that you will start with games you know and then gradually adapt them for your children whether that be changing the name of it because of something someone says every time or changing the rules slightly (or a lot!) to suit you and your children. Whatever you do, it’ll be fun and create lots of laughter (and thinking!!).

I hope you have picked up some ideas today to start that creative journey for your child. Remember, it’s NEVER TOO LATE to start developing creativity, so if you are thinking it is, just stop and use the ideas above and adapt them for your child’s age (although I admit, I’m a sucker for a winter picnic, even at my age! 😉)

If you are stuck for ideas, why not download our 28 Not-So-Random Acts of Creativity Calendar 2022 and use it to bring some easy creative activities into your days. Use over the days, months or even the year – no time limit, just fun times!

And look out for emails (if you are signed up) and social media posts with tips and videos for some of the activities as I join you in getting 2022 off to a creative start!

Until next time, stay creative!

Debbie x

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