8 Ways to spark kids' creative and critical thinking

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Many parents think that creativity is something you’re either born with or you’re not. However, there are ways you can spark your child’s creative and critical thinking and foster their creative behaviors. While there’s absolutely no way you can do one thing that will guarantee your child will grow up to be the next Picasso or the next Tesla, encouraging creative and critical thinking will definitely help them later in life. Here are a few fun and easy ways you can spark your child’s creativity while spending some quality time together. 

Look up to the sky

Space is a huge mystery even for the greatest brains of humanity, but it’s always fun to contemplate what’s out there. Learning about space will definitely spark your child’s imagination and stimulate their creativity while also preparing them for their science classes when they start school. You can try to draw aliens or come up with interesting adventures of your imaginary astronaut who travels to different planets. Older kids will love making their own solar system models out of Styrofoam and paper mache. Or, why not take a short trip to a planetarium and see whether they host some programs or play movies about space. 

Make toys

Being crafty is always a great way to promote creativity as well as teach kids about repurposing, recycling and reusing. Most projects require creative thinking and exercise not only the brain but also motor skills. Plus, every time your child makes something with their own ten fingers, they will feel a great sense of accomplishment. If you need some fun toy ideas, you can start with simple things like advent calendars and kites and then gradually go to projects like foosball and labyrinths.

Play outside

Photo by  Sven Brandsma  on  Unsplash

Spending time outdoors is a great way for your child to practice their creativity, especially if you hit the playground or a jungle gym. Encourage your kids to imagine various scenarios: they can be soldiers swinging on monkey bars, kings and queens of their jungle gym castles and Olympic athletes sliding down the slide. Plus, getting some fresh air is great for their development, both mental and physical. 

Ask the right questions 

This is one of the greatest skills a parent can have, the ability to ask the right questions. So, instead of just answering every question your kid asks (and there are certainly many) help them think critically by asking the questions yourself. So, next time your kid asks for help, see if you can encourage them to solve the problem alone. Try asking questions like “What do you think needs to be done here?” or “What do you think will happen if we do this?” or “How would you solve this?” Encouraging them to come up with different scenarios and develop different perspectives is a great way to spark your child’s creativity in a healthy and easy way. Stimulating your kid’s ability to use divergent thinking is one of the best gifts for the future you can give them as a parent! 

Be patient

Your child needs time to think, make mistakes, attempt tasks and generate responses. So, make sure to be patient give them a chance to consider things on their own before intervening and offering help. Try counting to 60 or 100 before you do anything. This time will give your child time to reflect, think about their problem, refine the solutions and answers yet know that you’re there to help them if they truly need some assistance. 

Try cooking

Think about the way you usually cook. Most of us control the kitchen alone or with our partner and keep the kids away from the entire world of fun hiding in that room. While letting kids help with cooking can get messy, it’s also a great opportunity to teach them important life skills and spark their ability to tackle problems and solve them creatively. You can start with baked goods which are always yummy (cookies and muffins) but you can continue with more complicated meals and introduce the concept of substitutions and other cooking processes. 

Play creative games

Another way to encourage your kids to be creative at home is to engage in creative games and activities. For instance, good old board games are still pretty fun, so whip out your old Scrabble or Cranium and play a game or two. Even games like Monopoly and Risk promote creative and critical thinking and exercise their problem-solving skills. If your kids love to draw, you can buy Pictionary or try playing drawing Charades. You can even upgrade these classic games and perform actions on your tablet or smartphone. If used correctly, technology can be a great motivator and provide your kids with a practical platform to express their creativity. You can even use photoshop to design your own matching games and try them out in real life or play them in a virtual environment. All in all, these games are all a great way to encourage your kids to flex their creative muscles for very little money and minimal waste. 

Give handmade gifts

Giving thoughtful gifts is something every child needs to learn from their parents. So, no matter if there’s someone’s birthday coming up or whether holidays are getting near, you can always organize a little workshop and come up with some creative gifts. Making something is always more meaningful and eco-friendly than picking something up from the store, plus it can also exercise their creativity and teach them a thing or two about problem-solving. You can try making something small like cheap bracelets and house ornaments or go a bit bigger with useful wood building projects. You can also try practicing lettering and create all sorts of decoration gifts for their friends and family members. Lettering is a great art that engages their creativity and practices their motor skills, plus it’s just fun and relaxing! 

Encouraging your kids to be creative and critical is one task you can’t neglect as a parent. If you foster creativity, you will not only make life more fun but also provide your children with an upper hand at school, college and their future job.