By Kimberly Miller
Creativity—it’s something most parents would say they want to foster in their children. After all,
creativity leads to ingenuity and innovation, which we’ve seen in our modern world can lead to
helpful and important developments in technology and the arts (STEAM fields). Creativity also
has benefits beyond what it can produce; the act of creative pursuits can make us happier and
more fulfilled. And what parent doesn’t want that for their child?
As homeschooling parents, we have a huge impact on our children’s creativity and how it is
developed and utilized. We can encourage it, or we can stifle it. We must make sure we are
doing the things that will foster our children’s creativity and help it to grow and flourish.
But how can we best encourage creativity in our children so that they will be free to invent,
explore, and create throughout their lives?
Here are a few tips to get you started in helping your children develop their creativity:
Everyone is creative in some way. Creativity is a natural, God-given inclination.
Creativity is an attribute of God’s character, as well as an expression of our humanity. God is a
creative being, and as humans, we are made in His image. We have an innate desire to be
creative ingrained in us by the very design with which we were made. We reflect God’s image
when we practice our creativity. Children naturally enjoy making things. So do adults. In fact, I
would argue that most people are in some way creative—they may just not see it in themselves.
If you claim that you or your child are not creative, stop and take a look at what you love to do
and you just may discover that it is a creative activity at its heart.
Even parents who think they are not creative can raise creative kids.
Yes, that means you. I guarantee you are a creative person, even if you do not see it in yourself.
Look for that spark of creativity, and fan it into a flame—in yourself as well as in your child. You
may just find that it enhances your life in ways you could not have imagined. And it will inspire
your child as well. But even if you never accomplish anything you would consider creative, you
can still have an influence in fostering creativity in you children. They will thank you for it, and
the world will be enriched by the gifts they share with it.
Give them the tools and time to be creative.
One thing that is absolutely essential to creativity is time. We must have the time it takes to be creative. Give your child plenty of free time to spend on things they are interested in. Don’t be afraid to let them feel a little bit bored sometimes—that is truly the best soil from which creativity can sprout and grow. And when you give them time, also provide them with the tools they need to practice being creative. These will vary, depending on your child’s age and interests. Have on hand lots of paper, crayons, paint, wood, canvases, musical instruments, glue, stickers, games, and anything else that might spark an interest for your child. Provide them with the resources they need to make and do, and they will be drawn to it.
Model creativity for them.
Don’t stand by and watch while your child has all the fun. Get involved and do a little bit of creating yourself! Write, knit, paint, draw, cook, sew, build, fix, design—the sky is the limit! Show your kids how much fun it can be to make things.
Start when they are young, if possible.
It’s important to give your children a chance to be creative starting when they are young. Little ones love to make things. Let them have a chance to get their hands busy. Young children can color, cut and glue pictures, help with baking and cooking, and so many more activities. Get them involved and the joy of creativity will carry them along.
Encourage their initial attempts.
Be sure to show an encouraging attitude when your child tries something new. Sometimes creativity can be messy. They might even try and fail for a while before they are able to succeed at something. Remind them that it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s all part of the process. The real enjoyment comes in the process itself. If you want to foster creativity in your child, never be overly critical of their attempts. The fastest way to squash creativity is to discourage the one creating so that they won’t want to try again. Keep a positive and encouraging attitude toward what they are doing, and they will keep trying and getting better and better.
Access lessons/videos/experiences that teach them creative skills.
Giving your children the skills they need to do the things they are interested in will help them to be able to stick with it and develop their abilities and interests. One-on-one instruction, classes, online courses, Youtube videos, and observing someone in real life are all excellent ways to get hands-on learning in a myriad of creative skills. You might have to think outside the box, or go the conventional route, but if your child has a creative interest, I can guarantee there is an opportunity out there for them to learn more.
Emphasize creativity for it’s own sake.
The real value of creativity is in the experience and expression of it. Teach your child that just by trying, making, and doing, they are accomplishing something important. Even when the finished product isn’t exactly what they envisioned, they can be proud of the effort they put into it and find joy in the process itself.
Be open to accepting however they might express their own creativity.
Don’t discourage genuine interest—remember your kids’ interests might be different than yours. Let them pursue what intrigues them, whatever that may be. If they have an interest in something, it is often because they have a talent in that area. Trying and finding that they didn’t enjoy it as much as they thought they would is better than never getting a chance to try at all.
Creativity takes time, effort, and interest. Value the process enough to encourage your child as he or she dedicates their focus and attention to being creative. It will be a benefit to both of you. One of the biggest blessings of homeschooling is that it gives us as homeschool families the opportunity to try lots of different things we might not otherwise have the time or inclination for. Take advantage of that blessing and get creating together!
Kimberly Miller is the mother of nine children and has been homeschooling them for over twenty years. She has served HOME for almost fifteen years as the Publications Coordinator and a Regional Representative. In addition to those roles, Kimberly is also a freelance editor and a published author of several books, both fiction and nonfiction. In her spare time, she loves reading good books, sipping tea, working in her garden, and enjoying the animals on her family’s hobby farm in Western Maine.