All parents want the best for their kids, that’s why making sure that they stay creative and imaginative is an important part of everyday life. Creativity and other similar experiences allow kids to fully communicate and deal with their emotions, while also promoting mental growth. Sometimes though, it might prove a little bit difficult to encourage your youngster to use their imagination.
We reached out to parents from all across the country to find out how Australian mums and dads encourage their children to be creative and use their imagination. We were inundated with responses, and have compiled some of our favourites into a few separate categories.
Making the most of the outdoors
“We go out on nature walks. It's amazing watching my little one discover something for the first time and watching her interact with it in completely new and unexpected ways. Seeing the world through her fresh eyes even brings back the wonder, creativity and boundless possibility to my old and jaded life!”
- Natalie Chan
“We live on a property, so learning is very hands on, from collecting eggs, and planting their favourite veggies, watching sheep being sheared, and learning how to preserve water, they love sharing their experiences, especially when new chicks & ducklings are born. We have picnics by the dam, they love making the sandwiches to take and picking out drinks & snacks. When we get rain it’s all about the mud, mud pies, mud fights, mud slides, they paint the dogs in mud & themselves. We encourage them to use their thinking caps and use the resources that are around them on the farm. There is no limit to their imagination.”
- Tracy Doust
“Gardening! My 4 year old daughter is obsessed with Bunnings 😂 We take her once a fortnight and she gets to choose a new plant that she gets to plant, water & watch grow 🙂 Great, healthy activity or her especially since she’s chosen to start planting some veggies! She also enjoys panting some Garden gnomes to decorate her space!!”
- Cleapatra Dove
Why not try jumping on your bike’s (or balance bike if your child is too young for a ‘big kid bike’) and enjoy the outdoors with your child this weekend?
Singing their hearts out
“Singing!! 🎶We sing everything from nursery rhymes & disney tunes to classic rock anthems. We make up songs too, about everything.🎶 Now my three and a half year old will make up on her own while she plays or in the car. 🎶 Entertaining for everyone 😁😉”
- Jade Carruthervits
“From a very early age, I have encouraged my children to participate in music - singing, clapping, songs and nursery rhymes with actions, dancing, percussion instruments and even some songs accompanied by basic Auslan signing. My (almost) three year old has a small ukulele and will make up songs, or sing songs he already knows the tune of, but make up new words to fit.”
- Meran Byleveld
Encourage music in your child easily by providing them with a range of musical instruments. You can start with a toddler-appropriate musical centre when they’re toddlers all the way to a toy piano.
Reusable items and materials
“We encourage our kids to be creative by collecting recyclable materials from around the home. We store it in a large wheelie bin and from there they take what they want and use the pieces to build things, spaceships, boats (which they test in the bath to see if it floats); roads and ramps for their cars, the creations are endless and all unique. They are super proud of each one...best part is, it costs us nothing, teaches them about the benefits and uses of recycling, and it challenges their creativity and imagination. Win-win for all. 😊”
- Gisela GH
“My kids like to find inspiration in the recycling bin and the craft box, we imagine and create all sorts of scenarios and create new uses for old junk 🙂 sometimes we use the old containers and go bug hunting, or create dinosaurs out of egg cartons or parrots out of bottles.. whatever they are inspired by!”
- Bernarda Robinson
Arts & craft
“I encourage my son to paint and draw. This is something I also love doing myself. He is quite fascinated by all my paints and art supplies. It's also a great way to teach him the colours! He becomes very calm when he's being artistic 👨🎤”
- Bella Arkinstall
“I cover a table with paper and let my three year old paint. Her imagination runs wild as she paints. She chats away as she creates and makes up little stories. I love listening to her imagination and creativity as she talks during this time. The next day when the artwork is dry she adds drawings to her painting.❤️🎨”
- Kathryn Foster
Make sure your child is set up for art and craft activities with a HipKids crafts activity table, and give them free rein with pipe cleaners, crayons and paper.
Cooking & creating
“We bake together, she loves cooking and helping out! She has a wooden stand mixer toy and every time I use the real one she will bring hers and pretend cooking next to me, but we must put real ingredients into hers as well. Imagine the mess! 😂.”
- Clara Llerena
“Anything and everything. We bake, we make and we create. We go on adventures and make up stories as we go. They’re only little for such a short time, you have to make the most of it ❤️”
- Laura Ackroyd
If your child is too young to help with the real cooking, or they are an independent soul and wish to do more themselves, a toy cooking centre can be the perfect compromise to keep everyone happy.
Thank you to everybody who gave us such beautiful insights into how they ensure their kids are creative on a day-to-day basis! We hope this article offers you with inspiration on how to make sure that your youngsters are using and developing their imagination.