Nurture your child’s creativity with just ten minutes a day

Nurture your child’s creativity with just ten minutes a day

Child creativity can be nurtured in a variety of ways. Here's how parents can be part of this interesting learning process too!

When it comes to building child creativity, the key is continuous effort. Ten minutes a day, every day, can have more effect than spending five hours doing crafts on a once-in-a-blue-moon Sunday. Here’s what you can do:

Creativity means constantly seeking fresh perspectives, even on mundane objects

Ten Minutes a Day, Every Day

Why every day? Because like most skills and traits, creativity is best nurtured through constant effort. There’s no point “blitzing” at a single all-day creative workshop, and then doing nothing else for the next year or two.

In this sense, building creativity is like the reverse of building muscle: constant practice matters more than sporadic bursts of intensity.

The good news is, creative activities don’t have to take all day, or require expensive equipment. Here are some that can be done in under ten minutes, with materials you probably have at home:


1. Creative Re-Phrasing

child creativity

Careful listening sharpens the child’s senses which aids in improving comprehension skills and linguistic abilities.

This is best for children who are ten and above.

Sit in front of your child, and announce you will be playing a game. Each person will talk for two to three minutes, about any topic they want (if your child draws a blank, pick a topic like “What I did today”).

While one person talks, the other has to listen and remember as much as possible. When they stop, the listener has to try to continue what they were talking about, for another minute. At the end of it, check how correct the imagined “continuation” was.

Then switch sides and do it again. Who’s better at extrapolating (guessing the ending)?

Intended outcomes for this exercise are:

  • Developing articulation
  • Developing listening skills
  • Fostering parent-child interaction (Bonus: Each side will know more about the other)


2. Game Box

Some of the most unexpected items around the house can actually turn into tools that get those creative juices going. Source: pinterest

Some of the most unexpected items around the house can actually turn into tools that get those creative juices going. Source: pinterest

Fill a box with old nick-knacks and paraphernalia. Everything from buttons to old name cards will suffice, just be sure to avoid pointed or sharp objects.

Have the child pick five to ten items out of the box, either randomly, or by choice. The child’s task, over the next five minutes, is to create a game with the assorted items. The game must be winnable (i.e. it must have a clear goal), it cannot involve physical contact with the other player (no slapping someone with a ruler!), and it must be as fun as possible.

Then spend the next three to five minutes playing the game with your child. Talk about whether it was fun (and why).

Intended outcomes for this exercise are:

  • Learning to invent systems (i.e. rule sets and codes)
  • Learning to extrapolate and improvise (using objects for things besides the objects’ intended purposes)
  • Fostering parent-child interaction through play


3. Mystery Picture

child creativity

Getting snap happy helps child discover interesting findings and spot new sights.


This game will require two simple cameras. Old camera phones or inexpensive “play cameras” for children will suffice.

Mystery Picture can be played indoors, but it’s better in a familiar outdoor area. Public playgrounds or well illuminated walking trails are ideal. Do ensure that the area is safe though (i.e. no open drains or dangerous litter), because the child will have to wander a bit.

First, specify the “game zone”. Do this by using familiar landmarks (i.e. the game zone is from the big angsana tree to the playground swing).It is not advisable to choose an area size that would take your child out of hearing range.

Next, both of you have five minutes to walk around the game zone, and take pictures of things at odd angles. For example, the leg of a bench, or an upside down shot of a bicycle rack (If your child doesn’t “get it”, take such a shot as an example, before the game starts).

Once the time is up, both sides have five minutes to walk around, and identify where the photographed images come from. Remember: all images must come from the game zone.

You’ll be surprised how challenging this is, even in familiar places like your own living room.

Intended outcomes for this exercise are:

  • Observational skills (this exercise builds the ability to notice small details).
  • Defamiliarisation (learning to see the things we take for granted in a new light).
  • Persistent puzzle solving skills (the child will have to stay focused and keep thinking, to work out the source of the images).
  • Getting to know the neighbourhood and surrounding areas

This exercise involves less interaction than the previous two, and is a bit more competitive. It’s not as useful for parent-child interaction, but it does give your child “alone time” to see and ponder things.


4. Multitool Madness

child creativity

Sharpening your kids’ observation skills can help with child creativity too!

This game is best with at least three participants. We sometimes play it in classrooms too, which go up to 20 players.

In this game, you place a simple object where everyone can see it. They cannot touch the object, only look at it. Some ideal items include:

  • A brick
  • A newspaper
  • An empty drink can
  • A towel
  • A cardboard box

In the next ten minutes, every participant has to write down as many possible uses for the object as they can imagine. The rules are: (1) The idea must be possible (e.g. you can’t write “I will use the towel as a parachute”), and (2) the idea must serve a purpose, not just look cool.

At the end of ten minutes, the person who came up with the most number of functional ideas wins.

Intended outcomes for this exercise are:

  • Learning to extrapolate and improvise (using objects for things besides the objects’ intended purposes)
  • Demonstrate the true extent of our innate creativity (look at all those ideas in just ten minutes!)
  • Teachable moments (some children may not realize, for example, that enough rolled up newspapers can become simple furniture)

Do you have any creative games you play with your child? Comment and let us know!

Republished with permission from Monsters Under the Bed.

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