Fostering creativity provides opportunities to put ideas together in new or unusual ways. Using imagination builds problem solving skills. Here are a few ideas to spark that creativity:
Gather a collection
It could be nuts and bolts, buttons, or seeds. Then with your child, sort them in as many ways possible. Take turns coming up with the characteristic to sort by: color, shape, or length.
Look at an Escher print book together
Pick a book like The World of M.C. Escher, to follow the different pathways in the prints. Talk about how you think he created the picture.
With a box of colors and some blank drawing paper, create patterns of color with your child. Fill up the whole sheet.
With older children, play the homonym game
Think of as many possible words that sound the same, but mean different things. When taking your turn, if you run across a pair of words that your child doesn’t know the second meaning, take some time to explain what it means and how it’s spelled.
Find a few flashlights
Experiment with light and shadow.
Gather some recyclable materials from around your home
Find soda bottles, paper towel rolls, newspaper, cardboard, or used plastic containers. With your child, make an imaginary machine with the gathered objects. Think about its purpose or function and together come up with what that might be.
On a summer day, go for a walk and collect nature objects
Look for sticks, pebbles, and fallen leaves or plant material. On a blank piece of paper, create designs and patterns with the collected objects. When finished, don’t use glue, instead take a digital photo to preserve the design and then use the materials to make a different pattern.
Discovering how sounds are made and how sounds combine to make music can be intriguing. Try these activities to inspire young musicians.
Make simple instruments with your child
You can make a kazoo out of a toilet paper roll, waxed paper, and a rubber band. Then play them and talk about the vibrations you both felt.
Stretch out a larger rubber band and watch the vibrations
Listen to the sounds and how it changes as the rubber band is stretched tighter or looser.
Stretch out a slinky and hold it as straight as you can between two family members
Have a third family member moving the center coils back and forth. Watch the coils as they squeeze together and move far apart, making waves. Talk about sound traveling on waves, just like the slinky’s waves.
Together make a “telephone” with two paper cups and about 8 feet of string
Put holes in the center of the bottom of the cups and tie the two cups together with the string. Then stand far enough apart to pull the string taunt. Have a conversation in whispers with your child; see if you can hear each other through the telephone as the sound waves move along the string.
Make your own instruments out of found objects
Find objects around your house and have a parade in your backyard or around your neighborhood.
Creative expression provides a great deal of fun and satisfaction. Taking time to create together is a memory-making recipe.
With your child, make a collage
Cut pictures out of old magazines. Create patterns or designs with the pictures.
Make a sculpture out of toothpicks and marshmallows.
Make paper snowflakes together
Fold white paper in half, then in quarters, and then fold again to make a triangle. Cut small shapes from the edges or make slits to create a wonderful design. Finish off your masterpieces by decorating a window.
Create a picture by tearing paper to make the objects
Layer the pieces of torn paper; decide exactly where to put each piece and then add glue.
Create a layered tissue paper collage of your favorite object or pet