Many people believe that you are either born with creativity or not but this is not true! Creative thinking or critical thinking is a skill that can be developed. Encouraging creative thinking for your toddler is an excellent way to begin preparing your child for their success later in life. We have no idea what the future holds for our young learners. Technology, jobs and industries most likely have not been invented yet or will look much different than they do today.
So, how do you prepare your child for an unknown future?
Encouraging creative thinking and teaching your child how to be a problem solver are skills that can translate to any job, career or industry. Toddlers are naturally curious as they start to explore the whole world around them. They want to discover, learn and try new things. By encouraging your child to follow their natural curiosity you can help cultivate their love to learn and help them become successful life long learners.
10 Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking for Toddlers
1. Read to your child. Reading to your child everyday for 20 minutes (or whatever you can) is one of the best things you can do for them to help them be school ready and develop a love to learn. Here are 8 tips for reading with toddlers from Teach Preschool.
2. Allow time for imaginative free play. Play is how toddlers learn. Here is a list of 25 pretend play ideas you can easily start today from No Time for Flashcards.
3. Move and Groove. Play music and have a dance party. Here is a great list of fun songs for young kids to get up and moving from Pleasantest Thing
4. Cook together in the kitchen. Here are 10 easy recipes to cook with toddlers from Childhood 101.
5. Explore new materials. Set out art supplies and let your toddler explore how to make marks on paper. Crayons and markers work great but so do unconventional materials like this diy sponge brush from Hand Made Kids Art.
6. Model your own creativity. It might be painting, crafting building model trains, cooking, or gardening. Whatever you like to create let your toddler see how do make it. Need some inspiration? Check out making space for a creative life from Crafting Connections.
7. Allow messy play (or manageable messy play). Try this baby safe cloud dough recipethat only uses 2 ingredients from Lemon Lime Adventures.
8. Keep supplies out and on low shelves so it can be easily accessible for your toddler. You don’t have to keep everything accessible but by having age appropriate materials out for your young learner to explore it will foster their curiousity and encourage independence. Montessori on a Budget gives a great example of nature inspired discoveries on open shelving for toddlers to explore.
9. Play with open-ended toys (building blocks, dolls, trucks). Toys that encourage creative play rather than rely on batteries. The Imagination Tree has a great list of open ended toys for ages 2-6.
10. Praise their effort. When your toddler tries something new praise the effort rather than the outcome. Instead of “good job” try “I really liked how you used your best effort”. Love Play and Learn has a great post on tips for praising your child.
For more information on creative thinking for toddlers check out our guest post over at Lemon Lime Adventures, 15 Games for Toddlers that Promote Creative Thinking.
You may also like our posts, How to Raise a Creative Thinker and 10 Open-Ended Questions to Ask Your Child about their Artwork.