We all want our kids to be thinkers. We want them to have ideas, make plans, and figure out a way to make their plans come to life. I love to see my kids play creatively. Yes, sometimes their plans make a mess or take up half the living room. However, no matter how much time I have to spend helping them clean up or help them finish up their projects I love their crazy ideas. I love to see them use their brains, and figure out ways to invent, build, or make something! There are many things I have found that work well to encourage creativity in my kids. If you are looking for some ways to get your kids to be creative, here are 5 things that help out at our house!
1. Invention Box
Recycle your empty boxes, and containers by choosing things to put in an invention box for your kids. My boys love to repurpose toilet paper or paper towel tubes, empty boxes, oatmeal containers, lids and plastic bottles. I like to keep a box of stuff that may otherwise be garbage and let my kids make whatever they think of out of it. Also, I usually add a few basic craft supplies like glue, tape, scissors, pipe cleaners, string, rubber bands and paper to their invention box. Using the things I put in their box, they build their own robots, Pokemon, cars, boats, houses, or even costumes
Our invention box is really just that, a box. You could get creative and cover a box or buy a nice tub. I prefer to just use a box I would recycle. Then sometimes my kids can actually use this bigger box in one of their creations. If that happens, I just grab another larger box that would be headed to the recycling bin to use for our invention box. This is a great, inexpensive way to encourage creativity in your kids.
2. Fort Building
When my kids were younger a great rainy day activity was always fort building. I would set up chairs, cover them with blankets and instantly they would have their own little fort. They would drag their blankets and pillows in their and play in it for half the day. Now as they are getting older they have their own ideas for fort building. Almost every week, my 7 year old asks me if he can use some blankets from the closet to build a fort for him and his brothers. Sometimes he requires some assistance, however, he now plans out these much more elaborate forts than I ever built for him. Often they have at least 3 rooms (one for him and each of his brothers), and a chair as a lookout. I have found that letting them have the freedom and encouraging them to build forts, gets them thinking and playing creatively!
3. LEGO Bricks
LEGO building bricks are one of the best toys to encourage creativity. Also, the great thing is, almost all kids love LEGO! My boys love to follow the instructions to build LEGO sets. Building these sets really encourages kids in thinking skills and following directions. However, they also love to take their boxes of LEGO bricks and just build whatever they think of. When they build with LEGO bricks creatively the kids are using thinking skills, problem solving and using their imagination!
This post contains affiliate links please see my disclosure.
4. Building/Design Video Games
Now I don’t believe that video games should be the only method we use to teach our kids to think creatively, however, I have recently seen that there are many games that can be good for kids. There are several video games out there that I feel have done a good job inspiring our kids to think, build, and be creative in addition to giving them entertainment.
The first game I saw do this was Disney Infinity. If you are not familiar with this game, it is one of the toys-to-life franchise games that enabled kids to purchase different character figures, place them on a portal and play with these characters in a video game. However, the game doesn’t stop with just that. Within the game’s open toy box mode, kids can build anything they can imagine. What I like about disney infinity is that it encouraged my kids creativity by giving them a blank slate where they could place objects, build houses, buildings, or castles, design roads, and choose and place vehicles for their characters to use. Additionally, they are given the options to add to and change the land they can build on. Also, they have objects kids can place that you can easily program (with very basic settings) to do different things. By playing, kids can actually design and program their own games within this video game.
Another game, Dragon Quest Builders, we found just before Christmas. This is my son and husbands favorite right now. This game has a story and quests you need to complete. Also, within the game you are able to design and build your own rooms, castles, and villages. In addition to designing places, you also have to gather the right materials, and follow directions to build or make your own weapons, food, armor, and clothing. The look of the game and the story has been very kid friendly. I have enjoyed seeing my kids explore this game and design some amazing things!
I think the final thing we need to give are kids to inspire their creativity is Time. Let your kids get bored every now and then. This will force them to actually be creative and think of something to do. If we plan almost every minute of our kids days or always help our kids find something to play and keep them busy, they will never have to use their brains to figure out something to do. If we keep our kids too busy with organized activities then often they don’t have time to just play, use their imagination, and develop their creativity.
What works your house to encourage creativity in your kids? Comment below with some of the things that you do to get your kids thinking and playing!