Fostering Creativity in Your Preschooler is essential for a healthy appetite of exploration! Each child is wonderfully unique. The ways in which they express themselves creatively are part of their individuality. Providing opportunity for preschoolers to respond creatively to their experience of the world is an important way caregivers and parents support their child’s development.
Whether such expression is through music, movement or mark making – fostering creativity in your preschooler is likely to support their overall wellbeing and resourcefulness. In this article, we explore practical ways to foster creativity in your preschooler through a range of media.
Offer a Range of Materials:
Ensure your preschooler is exposed to variety and richness in the materials they have to hand. That needn’t mean spending a fortune. A simple creative task of model making can include a range of recycled materials – bottle tops in a range of colors, different textured wallpapers and boxes of varying shapes and sizes, for example. Add in yarns and scraps of fabric to turn a simple junk modelling project into a really enriching experience.
You can also offer a range of inspirational prompts for your preschooler in the form of other artists’ work. Even young children can benefit from a trip to a local art gallery or museum, or a musical concert. Picture books and musical streaming services also allow you to share other artists’ creativity with your child if you have limited local options.
Allow Free Access to Creative Materials:
Avoid the temptation to hide creative materials out of sight to limit mess. Whilst you may want to be selective in what you offer – try to provide some options that are freely accessible for preschoolers. Simple building blocks allow for creativity, as can musical instruments and modelling clay materials, for example.
Ask Open Ended Questions:
You can encourage a sense of imagination in your preschooler by asking open ended questions as you engage in activities together. Chat about what your preschooler is doing and how they feel about the creative task. Such questions encourage your child to reflect and imagine other alternatives. Try out some of the following question prompts:
- I wonder what happens if….?
- What do you think (a character in story) will do next……?
- What questions do you want to ask…..?
- How do you feel about the picture you’ve drawn….?
- What does this piece of music feel like…..?
Music can inspire creativity in preschoolers, with many children enjoying listening to music, singing, and dancing and also making music themselves. Look to offer your preschooler a range of musical activities. Simple ideas include:
- Listening to music from different genres on car journeys.
- Singing along to songs together. If you’re stuck for inspiration, look out for nursery rhymes and children’s songs playlists to get you started. Many songs have actions that also foster movement to the music.
- Put on your favorite tunes and get dancing! Stretch, twirl and sway in time to music together to encourage your child’s free expression. You can also try dancing or moving like different animals – try using your bodies to express a tiger, fish, or butterfly, for example.
- Set up a simple “jamming” session by creating some musical instruments. Shakers can be created from containers filled with rice, and pots and pans can be enlisted to create a makeshift drum kit. As with any of the activities listed in this article, you can talk through what you are doing with your preschooler as you enjoy the activity together. Use language to describe what you are doing. Can you play quietly? Loudly? Quickly? Slowly? This supports language development and another form of self-expression for your child.
There’s a myriad of ways to make marks. Your child need not be limited to paper and crayons. Consider other ways you can support your preschooler to express themselves through mark making. Creative ideas include:
- Visit the beach and use a stick to draw in the sand.
- Put paint in a squirty bottle and use this to drizzle paint onto large sheets of wallpaper rolled out onto the floor.
- Try hand or foot painting or printing using household objects. Bubble wrap makes interesting patterns.
- Use water and a paintbrush to create a time limited artwork outside on patio slabs. You can then observe how the artwork changes as the water slowly evaporates and the image fades.
Avoid Focusing on Set Goals:
It can be tempting to encourage towards your own set goal. This can take the form of coloring within the lines of a coloring book, or drawing a face with the features proportioned in the ways you expect to see in a photo, for example. However, focusing on a set goal can restrict creativity. Give children the opportunity to experience and explore in their own way and try to let go of your own need to correct or show how to draw or express things in a certain way.
As we’ve seen here – there are countless ways to engage your preschooler in creative activities. Foster their (and your own!) imagination by building creativity into your daily schedules. You will soon be creating your own ways to foster this important strand in your child’s development. Enjoy!
Be sure to check out more ways to build your preschoolers confidence: The Best Social and Emotional Activities for Preschoolers, The Best Self-Esteem Activities for Preschoolers
Our Lead Contributor, Claire Law has a background of almost 20 years of teaching experience. She now works as a relational psychotherapist, writer and trainer. Claire is passionate about supporting children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.