Most of our children’s rooms are brimming to the top with toys. However, what are the right toys to help develop their problem solving skills and nurture their creativity? Read on to find out more…
The dictionary defines creativity as “the use of imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work”.
Leave your toddler with some wooden blocks, or hand them some paper and sticky tape and you will see this very definition come to life. All children are inherently creative, but we as parents don’t often do enough to nurture this. We often fall into the trap of giving structure to their creativity through organized play, structured activities or formal instruction.
What we should be doing instead is playing with them using the right kind of toys and materials. Given the right stimulus, we will see our children hone their creative skills from a very early age.
However, do remember whatever tools you choose to use, the most important factor is you – the parent, and how you engage your child.
#1 Go old school
You don’t need expensive toys to encourage creativity in your child. If you are lost for ideas, think back to your own childhood and bring out utensils for them to bang on (to experiment with sounds) – torn newspapers, ice-cream sticks, cardboard boxes and loads of sticky tape.
You will suddenly find yourself in the middle of a dragon’s castle or on a space adventure with your child, where ordinary looking things would have been transformed into magical objects.
Of course, your child will take their cues from you, so remember to shed your inhibitions and let your imagination run wild.
#2 Stock up on art materials
Thick crayons, chunky paintbrushes, water-based colours and plenty of paper are just what you need to encourage lots of scribbling, free drawing and doodling. These allow the child to experiment and give him the freedom to explore and experiment with colours, shapes and textures.
Structured art work such as colouring within the lines and doing dot-to-dots hampers their creativity.
When I was first told to write an article on this topic, I was slightly taken aback. Truth be told, I believe ANY toy has the ability to encourage creativity in young children. Apart from your typical LEGO and Play-doh “creative stimulation” toys, almost anything and everything can be just as stimulating if not more!
#3 Blocks, blocks and more blocks
Wooden blocks and lego blocks (without an instruction manual) are the best things you can give your child to play with. Kids love blocks – stack them together and it could be a plane, an ice cream truck, a zombie, or a princess.
Never question what they have made, but go along with your child’s imagination. In fact get in there and make your own block wonders with them.
#4 A play-kitchen is a must
Kids love the act of preparing a meal and serving it to you. They watch the adults in the house do it, and love this role play.
Make matching chef hats for yourself and your child and get cooking. You don’t really need a fancy play-kitchen, a basic one with plenty of pots and pans, some wooden fruits and vegetables and basic cutlery should be just fine.
More toys to promote creativity in your child on the next page.