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A Parents' Guide to Fostering Creativity in Children

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/2/2012

Parents want to make sure their children are intelligent. Creativity is as important as intelligence. Success is directly related to creativity in many cases. Parents have the ability to foster creativity in children. Here's how to make your child more creative.

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    Why Fostering Creativity in Children is Important

    Why should parents encourage creativity? Think of successful adults. What characteristics do highly successful people share? One is definitely creativity. Creativity is necessary when thinking of the next great invention or simply coming up with good ideas on the job. Creativity is also a big part of enjoying the arts. Creative people tend to be drawn to the arts, and are willing to create on their own. Parents can encourage creativity in children in simple, yet effective ways.

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    Provide A Variety of Art Materials

    Parents can foster creativity in children simply by making sure that a variety of art supplies are available. Art supplies that encourage creativity should be open-ended, allowing the child to use them in their own way. Play-Doh, crayons, paint, markers, colored pencils, sidewalk chalk, bathtub body paints, and pastels are perfect. Keep several types of papers handy, like construction paper, drawing paper, and card stock handy for creative works too. Art sets are also fun and foster creativity.

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    Show Interest

    When your child draws a picture, be sure to display it. The refrigerator is the perfect place to put kids' artwork. It's visible to all, and you'll show your child that you care about his artwork. The more interested you are in your child's art, the more your child will want to create. One way to show that you are interested in your child's art is to keep school art projects. At Christmas, put those hand-made ornaments on the tree. Rave over that Mother's Day card your child made. Show your child's artwork to other family members and friends who visit. This will make your child feel proud.

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    Encourage Special Performances

    Some children love to play music. They'll bang on toy drums or blow on a toy trumpet for hours. Don't fuss over the noise or tell them how terrible they sound. If you see that your child has a love for music, encourage them to play for the whole family. Maybe your child enjoys dressing up and pretending to be someone else, or makes up his own play or dance routine. Be more than willing to take the time to sit down and attend to your little performer. Invite the whole family to watch, and don't forget to clap and give a standing ovation!

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    Don't Be Critical

    Never be critical of anything your child creates. Don't tell them what they should have done differently. This frustrates a child, and soon he won't associate being creative with anything positive. He will just be worried that you will have something negative to say. Parents should not ask children to color in the lines when using a coloring book. Kids may naturally enjoy coloring in the lines, and most will eventually do so. Still, if you demand that a child color in the lines, you'll just upset him. He will may even decide to stop coloring. When your child draws a picture, don't fuss over whether things are the proper color. So what if your child made the sky pink and the grass yellow. Teachers and parents alike can get stuck on preaching to kids to color the grass green and the sky blue. This does nothing but stifle creativity. You can rest assured that your child will not grow up thinking that grass is supposed to be yellow since you let him color a picture that way when he was younger. Simply accept anything creative that your child makes, and applaud every effort.

    Remember, fostering creativity in children will also foster a love of the arts that will last a lifetime. Someday, your child will thank you!