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How Adults Can Nurture Children's Creativity

“I’m not creative enough to do this.”

Sound familiar?

This is the phrase we hear most often from caregivers and educators who join our programs.

Their perceived lack of creativity has prevented them (and you?) from offering creative opportunities to their children or students.

For those “non-creatives'' out there, this one's for you. While you may not label yourself as creative, trust us, YOU ARE!

Here’s how you can support your children or students in their creativity without being afraid of your own level of creativity.

  • Keep it open-ended! Just explore with the materials. You don’t have to make anything specific or produce something that replicates a famous artist’s work. Show curiosity about how the materials or mediums work, how they feel, how they mix or combine together. Think about the actions of creating, rather than the products. Your own exploration with the materials might inspire your child or student to also show curiosity.

  • Remember, there is no right or wrong way to create! The colours you use, the paper you choose, the shapes you make, or the structures you build are all right! If they speak to you, if you are drawn to them (no pun intended ha!), then they are the right choice and the way you use them is right. If you - or you student - wants to mix the purple, green, and blue paint together, let it happen! Yes, they will get a nice brown, muddy colour. So what? Mud is fun.

  • Show pride in your work! What you - or you child - make is unique. It’s a personal expression of your actions, your curiosities, and what spoke to you. When children create, it is often a reflection of their own wonderings: how does a material work, what colours they prefer, what their bodies are capable of. There’s so much to be proud of! Speaking positively about our own work (and encouraging others) inspires confidence in creativity and reinforces the value of children's own thoughts and ideas.

Hot Tip... not sure how to verbally support creativity? Here are some easy, go-to phrases:

You did it!

You are very proud of your work!

Tell me about what you made.

Would you like to display it?”

“Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.” - Earl Nightingale

Being creative isn’t about the product. The final piece means so much less than the actions, the behaviours, the thoughts and ideas that occur during the creative process.

The next time you come across a paint brush, don’t get caught up on WHAT you’re going to make, but rather focus on HOW you’re going to create.

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