Over the next several weeks, we’ll share 10 Ways to Inspire Creativity During the School Year. With easy project ideas and Kiwi printables on their way, your kiddos are in for a treat!
Back-to-School Creativity Tip #2: Design a Discovery Zone! Creating space around the home for your kids to…well, be kids will help open up a world of imagination. Here are some ways that you can make room for creativity in the home:
- Encourage your budding engineers. By making forts and tinkering with construction toys, children learn how to find creative solutions, think independently, and imagine new uses for common items. Somehow, some sofa cushions and a bundle of blankets are all it takes to keep kids occupied for hours!
- Send the message that it’s okay to get dirty! By creating an area where your kids can play to their hearts’ content, you’re also setting up healthy boundaries. You’re making it clear that there’s a time and place for different kinds of play. You can concoct a crafting corner, put together a pea gravel sandbox, or even stock up on supplies for a marvelous mud pie kitchen.
- Give kids a blank slate to create. Did you know that Maria Montessori was one of the first educators to put child-sized furniture in classrooms for very young kids? She believed in the importance of tailoring a child’s learning environment to the child.
Thankfully, creating a kid-friendly environment doesn’t mean filling a room with expensive toys and video games. Instead, it simply means giving imagination room to grow. Basic supplies like crayons and paper (or, in the case below, chalk and one very nifty desk) go a long way in encouraging creativity. Keeping activities and crafts open-ended gives kids a sense of security; since there’s not one “right” way to do or make something, kids feel free to think outside the box.
- Stock up on pretend props. Imaginative play helps kids brainstorm new possibilities, express emotions, and consider situations from other people’s perspectives.
You can build up your child’s treasure trove of pretend props in simple ways. For example, donate that silk scarf or old pair of sunglasses you haven’t worn in years to the dress-up bin. Or visit neighborhood garage sales for play props, like small briefcases or costume jewelry. (A garage sale junkie’s insider’s tip: Forget about the early bird getting the worm; the later you get to a sale, the more likely it is that the proprietors will just be giving stuff away!)As your child starts thinking about returning to school (or going to school for the very first time!), you can role play together about what being in a classroom might be like.
- Support your child’s interests—and see where it takes them. When I was watching Spencer work on his train puzzle, I was reminded of an acquaintance whose childhood fascination with choo-choos inspired him to build a business that manufactures historically accurate model trains.By letting your child take the lead on exploring new topics, you’ll be certain that his or her interest in a subject grows organically. If your little one’s obsessed with maps, then by all means let her be if all she wants to borrow from the library this week are atlases. Who knows—you may have a future cartographer on your hands!
What are some ways that you’ve created a discovery zone in your home?
About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.