Nurturing creativity in children opens up an assortment of innovative paths—be it through art, music, storytelling, dance, or otherwise. It becomes a significant responsibility of parents to foster and nurture their child's inherent desire to express themselves as enthusiastically and as regularly as possible.
Creativity is nothing short of a vast landscape filled with diverse expressions. They provide children the golden opportunities to explore, create, and voice their thoughts and ideas, quite often via art or music-related activities. For babies, toddlers, or older children, these activities could vary, from engaging in scribbling or finger painting to enjoying the rhythm of music or dancing on their favorite tunes to sculpting a figure out of playdough.
Creative activities have a free, open-ended nature. You start by equipping your child with easily accessible materials such as paper and crayons, a few musical tools, or some scarves to whirl around while dancing. Your mission is to let your little artist leap into the sphere of fun. Though a gentle guidance or navigation helps in maintaining an organized environment, it's certainly not a requisite.
Engaging in creative play is about more than just indulging in the joyful mess or making noise. It carries many potentials and benefits. When children take part in creative activities, they convey their feelings and ideas. As a result, they learn how to interact and bond with people around them.
Creativity goes beyond the surface level by allowing children to stimulate their cognitive functions by thinking unconventionally and resolving problems. These activities also assist babies and toddlers in acknowledging and comprehending patterns—such as identifying how to bop to a song's rhythm, that experts believe can contribute to language acquisition!
But there's more to it. Activities, such as gripping a crayon or paintbrush or beating a drum, foster healthy physical growth. These fine motor activities aid in building strength in the little hands, as well as enhance hand-eye coordination.
Creative play is suitable for kids of all ages. Of course, its forms will differ based on the child's age. Toddlers that are able to handle a crayon or marker are apt to try crafting their first artwork. Older toddlers who can bang a wooden spoon against a pot are all set to practice percussion.
Even for younger infants, creative play might not involve actively creating art or music. However, they can still learn about self-expression through your eye contact with them, making faces, “conversating” with them, or by using or shaking toys.
To foster creative play in babies and toddlers, there is no right or wrong. You ought to concentrate on supporting where your child currently stands. Offer him things suitable for his age, encourage him to independently explore, and resist any urges to meddle with instructions or suggestions (unless it gets unsafe or the mess gets out of hand).
You do not necessarily need to give art supplies for the creative activities of babies. Although you can introduce them to your little one as they become more active. Your focus should be on offering plenty of opportunities to your child to express himself and explore his surroundings safely.
Chat during tummy time can be highly stimulating. Lay facing each other on your bellies and communicate with each other using expressions and sounds. Mimic your baby's expressions and sounds, chat with your baby about your thoughts, or narrate what is happening around and observe his reactions.
Easy musical instruments such as egg shakers, maracas, and chimes enable babies to grasp the concept of cause and effect. Read colorful board books, touch-and-feel books, and let your baby's imagination take flight. Sing or play your favorite songs while carrying your baby and sway rhythmically to the beats.
Although enjoyable, playing with finger paints is a raw, sensory treat. Put a large craft or butcher paper that the baby can paint on and engage with him. Be ready for some messy fun! Creative play varies for each age and development stage and becomes more explorative and imaginative as your child grows.
At one year of age, your toddler can start to engage in simplistic art-making activities, though do not anticipate any identifiable masterpieces at this stage. The toddler will begin by creating doodles with drawing and painting, but nearing the second birthday, they may start assigning forms to their doodles and even describing them to you.
And as your toddler grows into the second and third year, their fine motor skills enhance, and their imagination starts to bloom, consequently, causing them to indulge in creativity with a sense of direction. Now is the time to expose them to examples of art happening around them in the world.
Provide your toddler with instruments and stimulate them to make music that reflects different emotions. Introduce playdough pizzeria or bakery to your toddler or give him a set of paintbrushes and a small bucket with water. Encourage him to paint designs on the sidewalk or schedule visits to age-appropriate art museums, plays, music or dance performances, or puppet shows. This sparks your toddler's creativity and nurtures a love for the arts.
As a final note, creative play, apart from its fun, messiness, and significant developmental benefits, provides a space for your child to probe and express his thoughts and ideas. Hence, always give your child room to engage in hands-on activities without directing it yourself. When given a free hand to probe and explore, you never know what creative wonders your child might churn out.