Children's creativity is unique just like they are!
There is more than one solution to get your kids' creative juices flowing. You can encourage children's creativity in more ways than you might have guessed!
To encourage children to develop creativity we should teach kids there are activities, crafts, and games that jive with their personalities! What does your child like to do best? What do they really not like?
Children's interests matter. If you want your kiddos' "buy-in" on getting creative, check out this list. Maybe you will find some new ideas here and let go of the idea that the creative process looks any set way.
Creative play comes when children use familiar materials in a new or unusual way, and when they engage in role-playing and imaginative play.
Catherine Thimmesh tells parents not to limit their children's creativity to any one field. “Creativity is openness,” she says. “It's flexibility, finding new perspectives, risking failure, making connections.”
This list of all lists will get YOUR creative juices flowing so that you can raise creative kids!
Creative activities for ALL the kids!
These activities are not divided by age or gender. Interests will overlap so check out all the categories!
Make a birdhouse
Make a bird feeder
This is a cool way to make a treat for the birds. It's heart-shaped for Valentine's Day but could be in the shape of a clover (for Saint Paddy's Day) or a Christmas Tree.
Create a scavenger hunt for a sibling or friend
Do a scavenger hunt or adventure walk
This is a great one that focuses on a sensory experience outdoors!
Paint rocks to place on a neighborhood walk
Collect leaves and preserve them in wax paper (and other ways!)
Not sure how? Check this link out!
Make an outdoor kitchen where the 'chef' uses pine cones and moss, etc to create the menu
Make homemade nature paintbrushes
Go on a nature walk and collect sticks and plants and flowers. Piece them together to make textured homemade paintbrushes.
Role-play with nature crowns
Make plantable seed paper
Seed paper is produced by mixing the recycled paper pulp with seeds and pressing the mixture into a shape. You can use plain white paper, newspaper, tissue paper, cardboard, and most other types of paper (besides paper with a glossy finish) to create the pulp.
Create fishing poles, swords, and wands
Journal about a nature walk
Have a picnic under the stars. Observe the sky. Write or draw in a notebook
Make stick animals and leaf faces. Create insects with acorns, and sticks
Build fairy houses using only natural materials
Need some inspiration? Here is a fairy house made from twigs and moss
Arts and Crafts and Messes Yahoo!
Make elephant toothpaste
Haven't heard of it? It's so cool and great for creative thinking. Here is a recipe!
Experiment with salt painting
On a paper plate, add a few drops of food coloring on some Epsom salt and mix. Do all the colors your child chooses.
Draw shapes and patterns on paper, apply glue to the designs, and then pour the salt on the glue.
Try a little finger, water balloon, or marble painting
Dip finger, water balloons, or marbles in paint and roll, press, and create on paper!
Make a mud kitchen that serves up mud pies, mud muffins, and mud soups. Yummmmmy
Help aspiring architects get creative
Go to the playground and talk about what could make it more interesting. Suggest kids design an original jungle gym or swing set.
They can use graph paper and draw diagrams and plans with the placement of each piece of equipment.
Then even create a visual representation using straws, cardboard, toilet paper, and paper towel rolls.
Create a planet or galaxy
Make up the name, characteristics, and where it will be placed in the sky. Go further by making a paper mache version of the planet. Splatter white paint on black paper for constellations and then suspend the planet against the "starry background."
Make shaving cream play dough. You only need three ingredients and it's such messy fun
Here is an easy-to-follow recipe.
Make cosmic cloud dough. Another fun playdough that isn't so 'every day.'
Not sure how to start. Check out this pin!
You might need a kit for this, but tye-dye projects are always a hit.
Paper mache ANYTHING from a blown-up balloon to a bunch of crumpled newspapers. You probably have glue and flour (and a wee bit of water to thin it) at home.
Make slime! "Please, mom???"
Cut up all the old papers sitting on the corner of the kitchen counter, put some glue on paper, and THROW the "confetti" in the air. Watch it as it lands and see if it sticks!
Use food coloring in your ice cube trays to create icy paint cubes. After they’re frozen, little hands can move them around the paper to speed up the new paint "utensils!"
Do a mixed media art project. It will be so cool you'll want to hang it on the wall. Check out this website to learn how to start
Make an ART BUFFET. Yep! Put all varieties of glitter, googly eyes, confetti, glue, finger paint, modeling clay, backyard nature collections, paper, string, etc. You'll make your kids' day!
Book Worms and Writers
Create a persona
Children love to transform themselves into characters. Maybe a superhero with superpowers? Create a name, write a script, and draw a picture of the character or superhero logo (that might lead to make-believe play or performing arts!).
Create an original comic strip
Explore the comics section of the local newspaper and discover what makes them laugh. Then, help them create an original comic strip, with characters and illustrations.
Create a storyboard and fill in each box by drawing a scene with a speech bubble. Come up with a name for the comic strip and each of the characters.
Form a family book club
Gather other families from the neighborhood/school and take turns choosing age-appropriate books each month and writing a list of questions for discussion about the characters, plots, themes, and settings.
Make the meetings a fun potluck-style event if that works for you! You could even theme the food to relate to the story if possible. For example, if you're reading James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, each dish could use peaches - like peach pie or salsa (source)!
Launch a family blog
Sign-up for a private family webpage and add photos and videos from trips/special events.
Each child could add personal (not too personal) information to the page about things like hobbies, goals, and school activities.
Write letters to friends and family around the world, address, stamp, and send snail mail. Get out a map and put a star on the places you are mailing letters.
Create your own mad libs story. Then just blank out some verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and nouns. There are always lots of giggles with mad libs!
Find some writing prompts online.
Make a library (this is make-believe fun too). Kids can make stacks of books that they think are in the same category (by theme or type of book), create library cards, and a system for check-out
Read with a flashlight under the covers or in a tent set up in the basement. Why not?
Make a character from a favorite book come to life ... now is the time for crafting, acting, or drawing.
Write a sequel or a prequel to a favorite book
Start a journal. Kids can have one that is their own private journal, and/or you can write back and forth to each other
Get kids to make a fun slideshow or speech about a book and present it to the family
Make a fun, creative book report using a fav book. You could make it into a mobile, board game, crossword puzzle, and more. Check this out
Invest in or make a quiet book. Want to make one for your child? They might even like to help make it. Here are some great suggestions!
Bring Hollywood to the living room
Put together a television show or movie. Create a name, outline a concept, and write the script.
You could also assign specific roles to each family member: scriptwriter, director, camera operator, actor, etc.
Then use a video camera (or phone) to film scenes.
Craft DIY cardboard cars and host a drive-in movie theatre night. Need some inspiration to make the car - go here
Have a family movie night and then plan a STEM activity that goes with the movie. Here is a fantastic list of movies and creative activities that go with each one
Make a stop-action LEGO movie. You can do it! Here are some helpful tips to get started
You can also make stop-action movies with clay figures.
Go to Pinterest and find a craft that goes with a fav movie. For example, have a child who loves the Trolls movies? Make origami troll dolls, like these ones!
Watch a movie and then act out the scenes together
Make a scrapbook with photos, drawings, and quotes from a favorite movie
Draw storyboards for your favorite scenes from a movie
Start a movie club. Kids could take turns picking the movie or everyone could put their choices in a hat and movie titles could be selected at random
Create a playlist of movie soundtrack songs you love!
Play charades based on scenes from movies or titles of movies (google is your friend for this)
Make your own movie trailer using a video creator tool like iMovie, or make a big movie trailer poster!
Find fun movie-themed coloring sheets and printables like "can you guess the movie" from emojis? Here is one for you
Compete in the "popcorn Olympics" with games like popcorn mouth toss and straw blow. Not sure what the heck we are talking about?! Go here!
Decorate the TV room for an extra-special movie night
Host a neighborhood potluck and have your children help with the cooking!
Have a family "bake-off" or "cookoff"
Work with your child on menu creation, grocery store shopping, preparation, and serving the meal.
Play "nailed it" (like the TV series)
Set kids up with some ingredients and a challenge to assemble in the kitchen, like cupcakes with something drawn in icing on top, or cookies cut to a unique shape.
Make easy JELLO popsicles, like these ones
Let your kids go kitchen-wild with expired baking/pantry products. They will love to mix old food/spices/etc with water, add a little salt, maybe some lemon, and create a non-edible-masterpiece!
Make homemade scented playdough like lemon, chocolate, or peanut butter. Here are a whack of playdough recipes
If you dare, do a blind taste test or let the kids do it with their siblings! Someone picks the food or the food combo and the taster has to guess what it is (while wearing a blindfold)
Make pasta noodles. Kids will learn about what goes into noodles and about the value of time. Here is someone who can walk you through it
Bake and mold soft pretzel numbers and letters
Here is the 'how to' of it.
"Washing the blender is another opportunity for learning," Heinecke says (source).
"To teach your kids about a chemical reaction, add 1 cup white vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda to the blender and put on the lid. The explosion of carbon dioxide bubbles will help lift out the gunk." (Just watch out for overflow!).
Make healthy yogurt UNICORN bark. Here is a recipe
Do a kitchen science experiment like making butter. You've never made butter? Follow these instructions
Make stamps out of potatoes!
Put crackers in a Ziploc bag and give your kids a rolling pin. You can use macaroni, cereal, or something you actually need to be prepped for dinner
Allow kids to choose some items you know they can make and you have ingredients for.
They can draw menus and even set the table.
Friends or family are invited to eat, order, and review!
“When used correctly and in moderation, using technology can help to develop kids’ creative thinking skills through apps, games, and gadgets” (source).
But it's nice to have a mix of ideas, not all of them on screens, right?!
Apps, games, and gadgets.
Video games can help with creative thinking abilities. Pick games that are stimulating and age-appropriate. They can help with problem-solving too!
Gaming devices, telescopes, and toy robots are great tools to explore (source).
For those Minecraft gamers, play this lego grid game
Make a toothbrush robot
You can get fancy robot-making kits or keep it simple. To make the toothbrush robot check this out.
Watch art videos with your kids to spark creativity
Videos about art and artists can stimulate kids' interest in art (source)
Make a cardboard box magnetic Pac-man game. It's like gaming with a twist. Here is a link
Do some LEGO coding. Get started here
Craft a mini ball (or balance bead) game from scratch like this one
Sign-up for a local or online course on coding
Make an AMONG US cardboard game by following this youtube video
Recreate the Nintendo classic Tetris with a free printable here
Draw or paint with an electronic drawing pad
Design and print your own T-shirt
Put a video of your child reading a fav story on youtube, if you're into that!
Take virtual tours of different places around the world
Create your own website! Here are some common website builders
Kids Who Like a Little Less Mess, But a Whole Lot of Fun
Tic tac toe! You only need paper and a pen
Play MASH (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, or House). It is a throwback game for predicting the future, all in good fun. Don't remember how to play?
Make fortune tellers (or cootie catchers). It's origami and a game all in one. Here's how
Back and forth drawing. This can be done at home, at the coffee shop, or while waiting at a restaurant or doctor's office
Easy and fun. Not sure what this is. Check it out here.
Homemade paper plate animal masks, like these ones!
Play memory with objects from around the house
Collect a wide variety of trinkets, gadgets, and silly items. Lay them out and have your partner study the items for a few minutes. Then hide them under a box or sheet and sneakily remove one item. The partner will guess which item is missing.
Make a memory game by drawing or on the computer. Print it on cardstock and laminate it if you can!
Play the floor is lava. There is a Netflix show. Check out four ways to play here
Play board games like Cranium, Scrabble, or Monopoly
Play Pictionary online or the physical game
Make chin faces. We dare you not to laugh at these
Set up a toy "car-wash." You just need toy cars, soapy water, and some sponges
Have a "minute to win it" family fun night. This will get you started
Make a fort out of blankets, pillows, and chairs
Create an obstacle course using everyday objects
Give kids the chance to take photos of their backyard, the forest, parks, and on walks around the neighborhood
Make an "old-school" photo album or scrapbook
Make an online photo book using the pictures they have taken
Play online with tools like photoshop, collage-makers, etc
Create a photo booth (source)
Gather up old clothes, costumes, and interesting props from around the house.
If you need some extra supplies, check out a local thrift shop.
Set up an area for your kids to take photos. You can clear a wall space or hang a sheet for a good background.
Dress up and snap away!
Use sidewalk chalk to make a photo "walk." Friends have to stop for a picture and strike a pose in each chalk circle or square following the instructions (written in chalk). For example, "do a lunge" or "pretend you're sad."
More creative chalk picture ideas here
Send your kids on a photo scavenger hunt like this one
Capture reflections in puddles or streams
Experiment with light and shadows to make cool photos
Try this LEGO minifig photo idea. So fun!
Follow these 15 Photography Projects so kids can practice taking close-ups, scenery, and even shoes
Make a cardboard camera. Some instructions here
Take a photo and turn it into a popsicle stick puzzle. This is a great gift idea too. Check it out
Make rock photo holders. Another good gift idea. Like this
Dramatic Play Virtuosos
Play doctor, house, zoo, farm, space station, school, or store. Join in the imaginative play by taking on a role yourself
Play with stuffed toys or puppets (make simple puppets by putting your hand in a sock). Let your child lead your playtime together
Start a neighborhood theatre group. Kids can write and perform their own plays
Play charades. Come up with creative scenarios for your kids to act out
Get a large cardboard box and cut out windows and doors and turn it into a playhouse
Draw portraits of each other and act out the scenes
If your child is into superheroes, tell them to think of the power they might want as their own superpower feeling
Create a cardboard puppet theatre
Put on a magic show. Here are 20 easy magic tricks for the kiddos
Pretend to be different animals and make animal noises
Plan a political platform
You can teach how political campaigns work by holding your own election.
"Suggest two child-friendly opposing topics (i.e. Candy Land vs. Monopoly, cats vs. dogs, ice cream vs. Popsicles) and have two children choose which topic each would like to represent. Talk about the debates that happen during a campaign and create posters, slogans, and arguments to illustrate why one choice is better than the other one. Then hold a campaign period at home for a week or two, and work on formulating arguments. Set aside a day to have a real debate and have friends or family members as the audience (source)."
Cut out shapes from colored paper and create a collage backdrop for a stage for all the make-believe fun!
Find some scripts online and have fun role-playing and practicing those acting skills! Here is a source for you
Start a YouTube channel to share your talent!
Make your own shadow puppet theatre. Here is a video
Create a music video or recreate a famous one with the family. Add original lyrics and even costumes!
Start a music club with weekly get-togethers or video chats for the kids to listen to new music and talk about their fav artists
Expose your kiddos to classical music with a twist like the 2Cellos (do YOURSELF a favor and check them out here)
Sign-up your children to learn how to play an instrument or teach them yourself if you're a pro!
Video games like guitar hero and just dance will be a hit
Craft your own instruments and make a band
Here are 20 ways to get started. Think water xylophone, homemade harmonica, and plastic cup noisemakers!
Create a song about your family or your friends
Try tap dancing by following a Youtube video like this one
Draw pictures to go with your favorite songs
Use musical instrument picture cards and form the instrument on the card using playdough. Older kids can try and group the instruments by category like brass, woodwind, string, and percussion
Here is a great free printable.
Play a game where kids listen to songs from around the world. They guess where they are from and put a musical note on a map to show the spot. Not sure where to start, check this out.
Play musical chairs or hot potato!
Give kids ribbon wands and rhythm sticks to use when listening to music. They can try to echo the sounds they hear with the way they use their bodies and noisemakers.
Compose songs using GarageBand and other music software
Make a sparkly microphone craft for all the rock star moments ahead. Here's one
Creative expression is beautiful!
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." ~Maya Angelou
Encouraging children to express themselves and focus on activities that they love leads to a creative process that is unique just like they are!
Creativity correlates to high emotional intelligence in young adults. Activities like drawing can reduce stress.
Pretend play gives an opportunity to practice original thinking. Art and creative expression can even help children recover from trauma.
When you foster creativity children learn to use their imagination, they develop fine motor skills, and they grow up to be creative people with more self-confidence!
Short on time or money? Just pick something from the list that works for you and your children. There are many creative ways to help your kiddos grow up to be creative adults!