The surprising benefits of nurturing your child’s creativity
A child’s imagination is a pretty incredible thing – from the fantastical characters they invent to paintings they create and more, a little one’s innocence and sense of wonder can really lead to some magic.
“They say that ‘play is the work of childhood’ and in such a busy world we need to allow kids to have space to get bored in order to get creative,” says Gen Muir of Connected Parenting. “Sometimes this means carving out time to ‘do nothing’ at all so that children get the chance to really get creative with play. Sometimes our children will struggle at first and not know where to start, what we can do is stay close and try to join in and follow rather than lead the play.”
While getting creative is a tonne of fun, the beauty of it is that it’s also helping your child develop some pretty impressive skills and could even have an effect on their future success (more on that later).
Creativity with your child doesn’t have to be limited to finger painting and stick drawings, either – it can encompass any number of activities such as:
- Building things
- Make-believe games
- Music and dance
- Science experiments
- Culinary experiments
- Field trips or walks
- Free play according to your child’s interests
So, the next time you sit down to engage in some interactive, creative play with your child, remember that you are not only sharing a valuable moment of connection with them, but giving them the following benefits.
When kids engage in imaginative play, it allows them to imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes – which can be a pretty powerful way of exploring situations and circumstances that are typically foreign to them (and provides a great chance for you to spark conversations around these topics).
With creative activities, kids learn different perspectives, observe the needs of others and manage their own emotions – all of which sets them up for some pretty strong empathy skills. Sets like the LEGO® DUPLO® Growing Carrot can further support this type of play, by prompting children to care for the carrot in order to help it grow by choosing the weather and giving the carrot a drink with the watering can toy.
Sense of identity
When we celebrate and encourage what makes our children unique, we equip them with a strong sense of self. Creative play allows kids to discover what it is they enjoy doing and what they have a knack for, which in turn builds confidence – and who doesn’t want a child who is confident in themselves!
Especially as that confidence can then translate into…
Self-expression is so important – particularly for kids as they learn to navigate all of the big feelings that come with growing up.
Self-expression also promotes better health and well-being in children as they can express their feelings, likes and dislikes constructively – this, in turn, is really beneficial for mental health.
It will come as no surprise that problem solving, collaboration and negotiation are pretty crucial life skills, but did you know that creative play can give children a big start in developing them?
For younger children, activities such as the LEGO DUPLO Organic Garden set can provide the chance to think creatively and to problem solve as little ones learn how to make the garden thrive, stack the bricks to make the fruits and vegetables grow and even swap the little faces to indulge their creative expression.
Creative play can involve building or designing things which encourages children to think about how something works and then figure out the stages to get there.
“Narrate the problems but don’t fix them,” suggests Gen. “For example: ‘It’s tricky connecting all these LEGO bricks, I can see you are focusing hard’. We want to be close and offer just enough, but not too much help and before you know it your child will be lost in their own ‘little world’ creative juices flowing freely.”
Many creative activities involve some degree of co-operation – which can sometimes be a pretty tricky thing to get your kid to do! Creative play makes co-operation fun and demonstrates to young children that working together in a team is exciting and that seeing the finished result is really satisfying.
Toys like the LEGO DUPLO My First Organic sets are designed to teach kids about the different stages of where food comes from, from growing in the garden to harvesting with a tractor to selling at market and can be used to encourage co-operative play between siblings or little friends.
Says Gen, “When kids play often everyone wants the one LEGO brick at once, and this is an opportunity for our little ones to learn all about conflict and negotiation.”
Now, all of the skills that we’ve listed above are very useful and certainly pretty relevant in the majority of workplaces. Interestingly enough, new research shows that childhood creativity predicts economic success in adulthood.
How’s that, you may be wondering? Well, according to Victoria Prowse Ph.D., her studies found that “creativity in childhood predicts success later in life.”
In an article published in Psychology Today, she explained that “Those who tested as more creative children earn more and reach higher levels of education, and tend to work in better-quality jobs that require experience. All this holds true after controlling differences in social background, school characteristics, parental education, and parenting styles.”
If you’re looking for ways to further support this development, the LEGO DUPLO Organic Market can inspire even the tiniest of entrepreneurs and start teaching them about counting money – which, apparently, is a skill they will definitely need in the future thanks to you!
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