Encouraging Creativity Every Day

Cerys Parker

As a new year starts it’s time to set goals and reflect if you can improve on what is already present in your life. One of my goals for myself and my kids is to be creative – and I don’t just mean we will be doing loads of crafts, but in our whole life. We can encourage creative thinking to solve problems, think outside of the box to help them learn new words, math problems and get a grasp of scientific concepts that may elude them. We can get creative outdoors by designing our garden, growing our own fruit and vegetables and then making delicious food. We can remodel our home as well as continue the creative crafts and activities that we do – providing an environment for my kids that encourages them to explore their creative sides is one of the first steps in the process.

For years – well until my eldest was four –  I kept our craft supplies under lock and key in the garage and brought them out as and when we needed them.  I was terrified of them drawing all over the walls, crayons on the carpet and marker pens on the furniture.

A visit to the preschool that they both have attended changed my mind. In the classroom, all art and craft materials were easily accessible and the children could go and use the equipment when they wanted. At home, I wanted something like this. I knew that changes had to happen. I am not going to give my 5 and 3 year old access to ready mixed paints when they want them; however, there are materials and equipment that can be out everyday and that will encourage them to be creative.

Working out which materials the children needed and that I could handle was my first step. I wanted them to be able to explore and develop their creativity in lots of different ways and make decisions about what sort of materials were best for the job through experimentation and exploration.

Crayons, Pencils, Chalks, Pastels, Washable Marker Pens and Water Colours, with a variety of different paper on hand, would all be easy to clean up and let the children explore different media when they felt inspired .

Sticky Tape, Glue Sticks and children’s safety scissors that moved them past the 2 dimensions of drawing to creating collages and pictures. Materials for junk modelling from the recycle bin and  items collected from nature.  Combining these with the other easily accessible materials, the children have free access to supplies that can be easily cleaned up, but allow them explore their creativity with free expression and no set agendas.

I store the materials in boxes and an upcycled art caddy on the side in our kitchen, as we don’t have a playroom or art studio. Over the last year, the children have used these daily. When they wake up, they rush downstairs and pull out paper and the art caddy to draw before breakfast images from their dreams or something that they had to get on paper from the day before. We clear up quickly before school and they head out. When we get home, after a snack, the materials come out again and models are made, pictures are drawn and cards made.

Creativity is now part of our daily lives, could the majority of things thatthey make be featured on Rainy Day Mum or BonBon Break as a craft for kids – probably not. They are process art, drawings of worlds far away, dreams for the future, letters that my youngest has written in her preschool scribbles to relatives and friends.  My children are exploring, experimenting and allowing that creativity to flow. What is a simple picture for a 3 year old now could, in 20 years time, be a new design for a car. She will have the wiring and tools to think “outside of the box” and to creatively solve problems.

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Encouraging Creativity Every Day

Cerys Parker is a marine biologist and teacher as well as a Mum to 2, she is the founder of Rainy Day Mum, sharing Creative Family Fun, come rain or shine inspiring ideas for art, play and activities that the whole family can enjoy together.