What Every Parent Should Know About Raising Creative Children

As a parent, it is vital to realize that all children have the capacity to be creative children. Learn to spark the creativity that dwells in a child.

In order to encourage parents to raise creative children, there first must be at least some understanding of what creativity is and how it develops.

What is Creativity?

Defining creativity, much like defining intelligence, is difficult to do. Creativity is a term that is open to many interpretations. Additionally, creativity is not easily measured or tested; this is due in part to a lack of consensus on what creativity is and how it functions within our brain.

Frequently creativity is viewed as a trait limited to a select few gifted individuals. However, creativity is more than art, music, and poetry; it is much broader and more encompassing than just the arts. Creativity is more about a thought process; it is about having a questioning mind, an exploring mind, and a mind that embraces imagination and new ideas.

Based on this idea of creativity as a way of thinking and perceiving the world, it seems feasible that creativity resides in all of us. Marilyn Lopes, who is the Extension Specialist at the University of Massachusetts, stated in the October 1993 CareGiver News article “Creative Play Helps Children Grow”, “ Every child is born with creative potential, but this potential may be stifled if care is not taken to nurture and stimulate creativity.”

How to Raise Creative Children

Parents can help their children to tap into their creative abilities by providing them with a wide range of creative activities for children. Along with presenting their children with diverse creative experiences, parents must also be open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, and to alternative solutions.

Some easy activities and experiences that will help to facilitate the development of creative children are included below.

Provide materials that are apt to inspire creative experiences for your young children.

Supply children with a variety of art supplies, which include paper, paints, clay, markers, yarn, and material. Allow children the freedom to explore and create with these supplies; while parents will need to offer guidance at times, it is important to keep the activity child-directed as much as possible. It is important that parents realize that the act of creating is what children value the most; children are more concerned with the creative process than with the final product.

Incorporate sufficient time for spontaneous, child-directed play into a child’s schedule.

Creative play for young children presents them with the opportunity to utilize their imagination, to express their thoughts, to problem solve, and to discover unique solutions.

Select toys that can be used in a variety of ways.

Some good examples of open-ended toys are blocks and other building materials, dress-up clothes, vehicles, dolls, or a toy kitchen. These types of toys present a child with many possibilities for using them and also encourage the child to pretend.

Involve the child in creative movement activities.

Creative movement for young children can range from dancing to music, to pretending to be other things, or to role-playing. Through creative movement, a child will discover many ways to express their creativity.

Encourage your child to think creatively.

It is vital to encourage children to seek their own solutions and to draw their own conclusions whenever possible. By allowing them time to explore and to experiment with various ways to solve problems, they will learn to try novel ideas and as a result, expand their creative thinking.

Ask questions.

Ask questions that do not have a black and white answer; instead, ask questions that have more than one answer. Good examples of open-ended questions are “what-if questions,” “what do you see,” “what do you feel,” or “how can you improve or change this.” Along with asking children questions, encourage them to also ask questions, and to consider alternative answers.

Why Raising Creative Children is Important

By making available diverse creative experiences and creative activities, parents provide their children with many opportunities to express themselves as unique individuals. The chance for self-expression will promote emotional well-being along with cognitive development.

Through encouragement children who engage in creative activities will more likely learn to develop new ways of approaching problems, exploring possible solutions, and discovering innovative solutions. The development of the creative capacities of children will hopefully translate into positive steps forward in the constantly evolving world.

Parents are in the position to facilitate the very early development of their children; it is crucial that all parents address the need to raise creative children. As pointed out by Robert Fisher in “Expanding Minds: Developing Creativity in Young Learners” which was published in CATS: The IATEFL Young Learners SIG Journal in spring 2006, “Creativity cannot be left to chance, it must be valued, encouraged and expected – and seen as essential to all teaching and learning.”


PBS (The Whole Child) Website. Creativity and Play: Fostering Creativity (accessed April 16, 2010).