Cultivating Creativity in Young Children

Cultivating Creativity in Children

After I published my age-appropriate chore chart several months ago, I had several people accuse me of robbing my children of their childhood by having them pitch in with household tasks. So to demonstrate that I don’t believe life should be all work and no play, I came up with this matching printable devoted to encouraging creativity in children.

Encouraging Creativity in Young Children | free printable from www.flandersfamily.info

Encouraging Creativity in Children

Indoor Activities

  • Work puzzles
  • Play with play dough
  • Read or look at picture books

    50 Best Picture Books
  • Make construction paper chains
  • Draw with washable markers
  • Cut and paste magazine pictures to make scrapbooks
  • Build words with magnetic letters
  • Play dress-up
  • Throw a quilt over a couple of chairs for a makeshift tent
  • Have a tea party
  • Make recycled crafts from tin cans, shoeboxes, toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks, etc.

    Toilet Paper Tube Crafts
  • Sort beads or buttons by color
  • Make pipe cleaner creations
  • Turn a big cardboard box into a fort
  • Cut out paper snowflakes
  • Spread shaving cream on a table top and use fingers to draw in it
  • Make crayon rubbings
  • Build with blocks or Legos
  • Punch holes in recycled greeting cards and use for lacing

    Christmas Card Crafts - Lacing Cards
  • Make sock puppets
  • Paint with water colors

Outdoor Activities

  • Draw with sidewalk chalk

    Chalk Portraits
  • Blow soap bubbles
  • Dig in a sandbox
  • Build “fairy huts” from sticks, stones, and moss
  • Jump rope
  • Play freeze tag
  • Pick dandelions
  • Swing
  • Ride a bike (or tricycle)
  • Try walking on tin can stilts
  • Make mud pies
  • Practice cartwheels
  • Lay in the hammock and think
  • Play hopscotch
  • Go on a nature hike

    Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Cards
  • Paint on sidewalk with water
  • Climb trees
  • Hunt frogs or lizards
  • Collect leaves or rocks

    Clever Leaf Crafts for Kids
  • Balance on one foot like a pink flamingo
  • Chase lightning bugs
  • Play in the water sprinkler
  • Go cloud or star gazing

Keeping a Balance as You Raise Your Kids

Asking a child to make his bed or set the table is not going to drain his upbringing of all wonder, joy, and merriment; however, I can think of another common practice that might: overindulgence in digital media.

We are raising a whole generation of children that spend far more time propped in front of a computer or television screen than they do playing outdoors or reading books or becoming actively engaged in creative activities of any sort. Lots of little ones learn to use a tablet or smart phone long before they learn to ride a bike or climb a tree, some even before they learn to tie their shoes or keep their diaper dry.

But life doesn’t have to be like this. There are countless ways to keep little ones occupied that don’t involve screen time — plenty of tech-free things kids can do if we will be intentional about unplugging our children (and ourselves) and leading the way.

Family Fun Bundle

[NOTE: This post is linked with Montessori Mondays]

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  1. My eldest son is almost 5. He know how to put toys away, make his bed and he knows how to put his clothes in the dirty clothes hamper. He’s not consistent with either of those things because we’re not consistent in encouraging him to do so. I think we should also add a few chores to his days like feeding the cat, and putting his washing away. He wakes at 5:30am, and goes to bed at 7pm. If he has 5 chores in total, that all take approximately 2 minutes to complete, how is that robbing him of his childhood? Good on you for posting that chore chart. I think having a balanced routine of work and play helps keep kids on track from an early age and teaches them there is fun to be had in life, but there are also jobs to get on with and boundaries.

  2. Seriously about the books? I’m 12 and it takes me under 2 weeks to complete a 4 book series with approximately 2900 pages! Wow, kids…… READ MORE!

  3. Agree totally. It’s been proven that too much time in front of TV robs the child’s brain of growth. They lack consentration and they are unable to focus on a subject for too long. If they’re not taught to help in the family home they grow to be lazy & expecting everything to be given to them instead of doing things for themselves or even working to earn their own living, to be an active part of society instead of a burden to society.

  4. Not having children help with household chores is robbing them of a sense of responsibility and competence. I think of what Maria Montessori has said about children’s development….

  5. Sarah, I don’t think Jennifer is denouncing technology and she’s not just stating an opinion. There are real, physical changes happening in our children’s brains and they are NOT positive–and they are directly related to how much time a child spends in front of ANY screen. This is especially critical in the under age six group when the brain is truly developing at a phenomenal rate. Check out this Huffington Post article and all the research surrounding it for just a snippet of how technology affects the young brain:

    Technology is a wonderful tool, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all that I have to make my life more convenient. But as a teacher, I can truly tell the difference between the child who never has screen time and the child who spends hours a day in front of a screen–and it’s not good. It is imperative the parents understand the pluses and minuses of technology in the life of their children, don’t you think?

    Here is one more Washington Post article that you might find interesting.

    The greatest gift you can give your child is time–free time, mommy time, daddy time. Living is the best teacher of all and living is a dynamic word, not a sit-by-and-watch-the-world-go-by word.


  6. How about some musical fun? Put on sone music and dance, or make a story to go with it! Make a drumbeat from household objects, or a “xylophone” from glasses of water!

  7. Dear, thank you so much for this graphic and all your words, i believe it is posible to enjoy life reinforcing creativity constantly. Hugs from Bolivia!

  8. i shared your chart as well and people were appalled that a child might have to carry some wood…im sure it was more like kindling, but its funny how ‘soft’ parents are on children….I put it down to guilt..for some reason they see helping as punishment rather than bond building and skill learning.
    i worked for a paediatrician, and her first advice for unhappy, angry children, was to severely limit media time – parents reported great results.

  9. I think my five- and seven-year old have literally done all of these! We watch TV maybe once a week (family movie time), so these things are what my two children gravitate to when they come home from school. Right now, my porch is full of sidewalk chalk; there’s a fort made out of random things in my back yard, a cardboard box was converted into a house last night, and cars, figurines and animals grace a scene on my family room floor–and that’s during a week when the kids are at school until 4 pm each day!

    Excessive screen time really is detrimental to very young children–not only because of the direct impact of today’s high-speed shows on their growing brains, but also because they miss out on all the benefits of the activities in this list: fine motor skills, problem solving, creativity.

    Here’s more on the impact of excessive screen time on young children–why it is so bad: http://leportschools.com/blog/know-excessive-screen-time-may-harm-childs-brain/

  10. I couldn’t agree with you more! I didn’t see your list of chores, but it doesn’t surprise me that people got upset. Children are spoiled these days and are raised feeling entitled to everything and not being taught responsibilities, or the feeling of accomplishment by earning allowance and then learning how to budget their money. So sad.

  11. I believe children should have a balance of activities – there is nothing wrong with technology as long as it is not used exclusively. There are many ways to use technology creatively and productively. To denounce them medium of TV or or computer or tablet or similar device is to deprive and potentially disadvantage our children. They should be allowed to choose for themselves, who are we to dictate what they will enjoy/learn from/create? Open their minds to all things – technological and traditional!

    1. I’m not denouncing technology, Sarah, just cautioning against the overuse of it, especially for young children who need a balance of activities for their minds and bodies to grow healthy and strong.

  12. Your advice is right on target. You are to be commended for encouraging all of us to help raise caring, compassionate and helpful children who,hopefully, will do the same someday!

  13. I could not agree more with you. We are baptist. My husband I agreed before we were married to NEVER own a TV. Twenty-one years later we still do not have one. We have raised our three girl without the TV in the home. My girls all play instruments, very active in sports, very active in youth group and church. They stay quite busy. Now that they are getting older 19, 18, and 12 they all agree that they are glad we do not have one.

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