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Sparking Your Child's Imagination: Ten Ideas You Can Use Today

Apr 15, 2008
Some kids seem to naturally get lost in the wonder of their imaginations. Others need a little more prompting. In any case, there are many things that parents can do to encourage their children's creativity. Here are ten ideas you can use today:

1. Keep your toys simple. Though it's sometimes difficult, my husband and I try to steer the kids away from two kinds of toys: those made entirely of plastic and those that require batteries.

2. Keep TV and computer games to a minimum. Some television programs help us to learn more about the world, and can be really enjoyable to watch and discuss as a family. But anytime a child is zoning out in the screen for too long, they are not thinking for themselves as much as they are spacing out in a story that has already been created for them.

3. Stock up on art supplies. Make sure to have a box of all kinds of simple items, from cotton balls to craft sticks, rhinestones, and beads along with a variety of glue, paint, markers, colored pencils, paper, old catalogs and magazines. Before you throw away or recycle small items or containers, ask yourself if they have a place in the art supply box. Keep the box in a place where the kids can get to it easily and encourage them to create their art often.

4. Value art and creativity in your home. Frame some of the pieces that your children are most proud of and display them prominently. Display your own artwork, as well. Talk to your children about what it means to be creative and how the process has enhanced your own life.

5. Create art with your children. Sit down next to your children and draw together or write poems. Help them to see the artistic process as something that will be with them for their entire lives.

6. Ask your kids about the artwork that they do. Whether it's writing or painting or drawing, stay engaged with them as they show you their work. Ask your children questions about their artistic process and the choices that they made. Ask them to tell you the "story" behind the art.

7. Encourage pretend play. Stock up on dress up clothes, for example. Young children love to play make believe. It's fun to have a closet or trunk filled with items that can help them jump into a new role. Thrift stores, garage sales and after-Halloween sales are great times to stock up. Throw in jewelry, hats, sunglasses or anything else that can help kids enter that world of make believe whenever they like.

8. Read to your kids as often as possible. Make the moment magical. Turn off the lights and read by flashlight. If your kids have a favorite story that they want to hear again and again, ask your kids to draw the characters and scenes as they imagine them.

9. Encourage your child in any artistic pursuit they seem to enjoy, even if it's not one you would have considered. Your child might want to explore acting, dance, music, sculpting, writing, or any of a number of things. The summertime is a great time to explore a new artistic pursuit with your child with a local children's workshop.

10. Help your child to see the fun of imagination. Turn on music and dance around the house with the kids. Sit down and fingerpaint. Help them to see that a creative, imaginative life is great, great fun and can be enjoyed independently or together.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Susies-Coupons.com, where she shares the web's best coupons for discount art supplies and discount craft supplies.
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