Boosting Your Child’s Creativity

By Emily Spaeth

Editor’s note: Helping children discover their natural creativity can lead to the joy in lifelong learning that we all want to encourage. We asked Emily Spaeth, music teacher and guest on the latest episode of the Appleseeds Podcast to tell us how to do that.

Surround them with great examples of creativity.  Take them to art museums and ask questions like “Why do you like this painting? “How do you think the artist made this sculpture? “What do you see in this picture?”  

Expose your children to live artists.  Take them to the ballet, the opera or a broadway show.  Help them notice not just the performers but the set design, the costume design and the lighting.  When you take your children to a concert or show, prepare them ahead of time by listening to the music and telling the story at home and talking about what they hear and how they feel.  

Listen to good-quality music together. As a music teacher, I would remind you that good-quality music can be found in every genre.  

Encourage experimenting with other uses for materials. Giving children a wide variety of craft materials and allowing them to experiment and use those materials in non-traditional ways is a great way to spark creativity.  

Encourage playing around with language.  My daughter is developing into quite a strong writer, and I think it comes from not only the fact that she is a voracious reader, but that our family regularly plays with words and language.  We have one game where we take a word or phrase and try to think of as many rhyming puns as possible.

Give them time to be alone with no technology. Unfettered access to books, drawing materials and non-electronic toys like LEGOs, marble runs and building blocks help spark creativity.  

Don’t overschedule your children.  If kids are constantly running from activity to activity, especially if many of them are structured and teacher/coach centric, they don’t have the opportunity to explore their own imaginations and creativity.  

Love your children unconditionally.  Comment on the effort that went into making the art, not the art itself.  Congratulate them when they try something new or “think outside of the box.”   This is valuable in building your child’s confidence in their creative process.