“Play builds the kind of free-and-easy, try-it-out, do-it-yourself character that our future needs.”
James L. Hymes, Jr
We all want to help our kids develop the skills they need to achieve great things in life. One of these is the ability to think creatively. It’s not a rare gift bestowed on the few, but it’s a skill that can be learned and improved. Giving your kids an early start is a great way to help your kids hone their creative thinking techniques.
We’ve listed a few different exercises you can do with your children to improve their creative thinking.
Use Board Games
Board games are often underestimated as a tool for teaching kids how to think creatively. They are fun while also teaching kids how to communicate, solve problems, and develop their creative thinking skills.
Guess Who, Scrabble, Pictionary, and Uno are fun games that use color and words to stir both creativity and logical thinking. Story Cubes, on the other hand, focuses more on storytelling, something that many kids love to do.
If you have slightly older kids, you can try games like Monopoly and Dungeons and Dragons. The D20 Collective has amazing D&D journals to help you take notes on your characters while developing their stories.
One of the most significant benefits of using board games as a creative teaching tool is that it’s a family activity. You’ll be helping your kids develop useful skills, but you’ll also be having hours of fun as a family while they learn.
Dress Up Games to Stir the Imagination
Think back to when you were a kid. You likely played ‘pretend’ at least once, becoming a superhero, princess, brave knight, or fair cop. Children have a wonderful imagination, and they should be encouraged to explore their pretend worlds and personalities.
Playing dress-up is an excellent way to have fun with your children while they explore their creativity. By turning something as simple as a sheet into a mask and cape, your little hero can save the world in a wide variety of ways.
Better yet, turn the broomstick into a sword, the dog into a steed, and the backyard into an obstacle course. Together, you and your brave knight can save the princess – that is, if it’s not your little princess saving Sir Teddy instead!
On a final, and vitally important note, don’t react negatively if your kids want to pretend to be the villain. Some movie bad guys are beautifully written and have a lot more depth than the heroes.
After all, who wouldn’t want to be Maleficent or Darth Vader at least once?
Complete the Doodle Challenge
When you think about being creative, one of the first activities that come to mind is likely drawing or painting. However, asking your kids to paint something specific can curb their creativity rather than develop it.
A fun and, interestingly, a creative way around this is the Finish the Doodle Challenge. It’s such a popular activity amongst artists that you’ll still find many adult creators doing this challenge to help them practice out-of-the-box thinking.
You can create lots of different doodle cards, containing only a few simple scribbles. You can give these to your kids and allow them to create anything and everything – as long as it includes that doodle.
If you want to give your kids a bit more of a challenge, add a short phrase to the cards. Better yet, create prompt cards that go with the doodle cards, and have your kids pick two at random. These can be words, like ‘adventure,’ or phrases, like ‘A watched pot never boils.’
Steam is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It’s a fun system that uses various activities to help kids develop creative and problem-solving skills. Using simple things you have at home, you can give your kids everything they need to have hours of educational fun.
Pendulum painting, marshmallow and spaghetti sculptures, and paper roller coasters are fantastic ways to help your children develop their creativity. You can even set challenges, like building a tower with nothing but mini-mallows and pasta.
You can also create galactic oobleck or colored crystals with sugar. Combine art, engineering, mathematics, and science, all in one fun collection of games and experiments!
There’s a lot of fun and easy ways you can help your kids develop their creative thinking. Playing board games can help teach communication, while doodle challenges and dress up can stir their imagination and creativity.
We understand that finding time to play with kids while juggling work and home duties can be challenging – these ideas are designed to help you get the most out of the quality time you have together.
Try to be involved in the process. Do the challenges with your children, or play pretend with them. Challenge them but participate at the same time. That way, you’ll both be teaching your kids and bonding with them!
Article by: Ashley Lipman
Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart – all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.