Young children are almost always bursting with energy and the best thing you, as parents can do for them is to channel this endless stream of energy in the right places and you will see how your child develops. By the time your child is 4 years old, you will notice that she engages in a lot of pretend play, pretending to be mum on the phone, or dad moving the lawn. She will show you how she uses her creativity and imagination to play, interact, make decisions, and solve problems. You could go back to your childhood and remember the days spent pretending to be someone else. Imaginative and creative play is very crucial to preschoolers.
Here are some top ways to promote creativity and imagination with your children.
Never criticize your child’s ideas. They would feel as dejected as you would if your partner criticized your ideas. A child once wanted his dog to mow the lawn just like he does in pretend play. Instead of telling him that he was wrong to have such an idea, all his mother did was to ask the dog to do it and when the dog didn’t do it, the mum simply told her child that the dog probably didn’t feel like doing it. The child saw for himself that it was not going to happen, without being told that his idea was not so practical. Your child, uninhibited, will keep thinking creatively and share his ideas with you!
As tempted as you may be to help your child out of a sticky situation where her toy is stuck in the sofa or he cannot find the spot for a piece of puzzle, don’t do it for her. Although you should not leave her to her own device totally, encourage her to solve the problem herself. If she is trying to get a toy out from a place deep in the sofa, help by suggesting ‘I wonder if you can get it out from here?’ instead of just doing it for her. Always allow your child to creatively find different approaches to problem solving, they may surprise you with what they can do. Also, it's a good idea to let them have a few attempts at solving their problems. This way, your child can develop critical and creative thinking in an encouraging environment. This goes a long way when your child is an adult.
Allow your child to always make their own choices, when it comes to what they want to wear or what they want to do, get them to make the decision. Hold you two or three different shirts and let him decide what he would like to wear that day and let him choose the pants to go with the shirt too. This allows him to think again, and this is being creative and independent, two things you want in your child. When it comes to food, you may not be happy when he picks rice with apple sauce, but hey, maybe that’s what he wants to eat. As long as you let him pick from a list of healthy choices, you both are fine.
This will take up some of your time, but it is perfectly worth it. Read to your child, read with your child or listen to him read and watch him act out bits of the book to you. Nothing can make a child’s imagination and creativity blossom as much as books can. Books with illustrations are perfect for preschool aged children as this takes their imagination to new levels. Incorporte different voices and accents along with face expressions. When your child is able to emote what he or she reads, it will help them to be creative and imaginative.
Arrange play dates with other children who are the same age as your child. When two children play, they come up with imaginative and creative ways of playing. Their room becomes fairyland one minute and the next they are in a forest full of wild animals. Peek into the room once in a while and you will see it for yourself. Don't forget to exercise some basic ground rules and check on them every once in a while.
While your child should not watch too much TV and be overly dependent on it for entertainment and ideas, limit TV time to an hour or so each day and let your child watch programs that will pique her interest and creativity. There are many programs today that teach creative art, play and cooking. These shows act as a bank of ideas for children and they come up with better ideas of craft, art and play.
You will notice that your child has a particular interest. Some kids love cars and trucks, some like dolls, some love books and others enjoy painting and the arts. Whatever your child enjoys, feed his passion. She will pair up creativity with this passion and will always have something new to do or show you. This will be the child who is never bored.
Above all, remember to have fun. Don't force creativity onto your child because you want him or her to be the best student in class. If you let your child grow through his or her own creativity and passion, you will find little reason to ask your child to learn something.