Creativity is a skill that can and should be explored from an early age. Although most people associate creativity with artistic skills, being creative goes beyond drawing a pretty picture. People need creativity for every single task in life: from fixing a kitchen sink to figuring out what to cook for dinner.
For children, play is fundamental to learn relevant life lessons and skills. And since play is a good opportunity to be creative, why not use games and hobbies to its full potential? You could start by giving your children or your friends and family's children games where they use their imagination... no wonder how messy it can get.
And by messy, we mean stepping on building blocks, having paper and pencils scattered all over the house or finding rubber ducks in the kitchen sink. And all of that is fine. Messiness helps creativity thrive. Of course, such messiness works as a good opportunity to teach valuable lessons on discipline, cleanliness and consideration towards others.
So use this coming holiday season to give your children open ended toys and games to help them design, create, build and solve problems on their own.
Open Ended Toys with Words
The more words your child comes across, the broader vocabulary they will acquire. Word puzzles are great at this, as they help your child learn new words while they play. Also, these types of games require a great deal of creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
Crossword puzzles and word-making games usually require more than one attempt to reach the correct answer. Because of this, word puzzles require persistence and concentration: two skills that will help your child later on through all sorts of challenges and difficulties. What's best, winning a difficult game or solving a very tricky word puzzle (especially after several attempts) can do wonders to your child's self-esteem.
Finally, although any type of word problem requires little materials, the use of letter blocks (or any type of table word game) make for a great present. Why? Besides being easy to play, it looks great as a centerpiece. Also, it serves as healthy entertainment whenever you're waiting for someone or just trying to avoid doom scrolling on your phone.
Any of Mey&Co’s notebooks works for journaling or doodling.
On Doodling and Journaling
Journaling is a powerful activity that most health experts are now swearing by, as it brings many psychological benefits. For all those children who wish to be artists and writers, jotting down a few lines a day as part of their daily routine does wonders to their creativity.
How? Well, first of all, journaling boosts self-discipline and self-confidence, as children are motivated to explore parts of their mind that they usually don't access on a daily basis. Creative thought is a daily exercise, and requires consistency to achieve visible results. Within a couple of weeks, children will start developing a closer relationship with their creative side.
It doesn't always have to be an essay, though. As a matter of fact, as long as it's consistent, your child doesn't have to worry much about the content itself. The notebook can include doodles, lists or anything that suits the mood of the day. As we said before, it's a tool used to boost creativity and not a finished artwork.
Here’s an idea: What if you and your kids retold the story of La Tulevieja from her point of view?
Plushies and Stuffed Animals
One of the most notorious benefits of open ended toys lies in their ability to transform themselves into whatever the user wants. Building blocks are a good example of an open ended toy, as your child can turn a handful of dull wooden blocks into a swimming pool, a house or a furnace.
The same can happen with a stuffed animal. You only need a little bit of imagination and a plushie to create a world of fantasy that will ensure hours of entertainment. Pretend play - or role play - using stuffed animals not only encourages creativity, but it also allows kids to reflect on how they experience the world around them.
Finally, pretend play with stuffed animals teaches children about cooperation and conflict resolution. If two kids want to play with the same toy, or want the same role, such games are an excellent way of helping children learn to compromise and negotiate.
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