Creative expression is rightfully associated with the visual and performing arts, but it can be any constructive activity that offers someone the opportunity for personal exploration and inspiration. Creativity goes hand-in-hand with imagination and, for kids, the best time to discover their talents and how to express them is when they’re very young.
Kinds of Creative Outlets
There are various types of creative outlets, some obvious and others not so much. Traditional children’s arts like sketching, colouring, and painting can start as soon as your child is able to hold a crayon or paint with their fingers. Handcrafted works like clay sculptures or beaded jewellery is good to introduce to pre-schoolers that understand the concept of crafting but also know not to eat the art supplies!
Preschool is also a perfect age to being musical activities like singing, dancing, or playing an instrument. As kids learn letters and phonics, encouraging them to write creative stories or keep a diary can help them master a new form of creative expression alongside language skills. Sports and performing arts such as gymnastics, ballet, or martial arts instil confidence and help kids discover their natural talents.
Promote Developmental Skills
At an early age, involve your child in engaging creative activities that aid in development. Hands-on tasks like drawing on paper, building with blocks, and dancing to music introduce the idea of self-expression while honing gross and fine motor skills. Through colouring and drawing, a child has an opportunity to create imagery that reflects and responds to social encounters and visual observations made throughout the day.
Wooden building blocks or plastic interlocking toys give children a chance to replicate the things they see in the physical world like their home or school. Dancing to music builds physical endurance and is great for vocal expression and aerobic exercise.
Taking Time for Them
Creative activities give children a chance to take a break from their normal tasks and busy, repetitive schedules. There isn’t much room left for imaginative thinking or inspirational idling within the confines of school schedules and demanding home life. As children get older, they have more burdens on their time, more structure to their day, and less opportunity for creative exploration.
In some ways, our imagination tends to shrink as we get older, making it easy to forget how important it is to have space for creative expression. Instilling healthy outlets and open creativity at an early age will teach your child that it’s okay to take that time out for themselves when they’re older too.
Emotional & Physical Growth
Be sure to offer your child lots of opportunities to express themselves during their early years. They need to learn to share emotions, ideas, and conflict in a healthy and productive way while also discovering their own value and sense of self-confidence.
Talk to your child about their artistic interests and offer them several different types of activities to try out. Provide them with chance to explore natural physical talents through performing arts like theatre, dance, or singing. Help further their language comprehension and literacy skills by giving them simple creative writing prompts or setting aside time to write in a journal.
Encouraging participation in creative outlets helps keep young children mentally stimulated. As we get older, we spend more and more time thinking about the real world and less and less time exploring the imaginary one. Tap into this period with your child while they’re young and give them the tools to discover how far their own creativity reaches throughout life.
Far too many young children are missing the proper amount of physical activity and exercise. As of 2012, evidence from the Department of Health says that “ “Only one-third of children… undertook the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.”.” Keep in mind, the recommendations for physical activity for children 5-12 years are:
- For health benefits, children aged 5–12 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
- Children’s physical activity should include a variety of aerobic activities, including some vigorous intensity activity.
- On at least three days per week, children should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
- To achieve additional health benefits, children should engage in more activity – up to several hours per day.
In addition to encouraging expression, plenty of creative activities require children to have increased movement and overall physical fitness. You can get your child involved in sports, ballet, or gymnastics while still providing them with an effective creative outlet.
Establishing Life Skills
Having access to creative outlets puts your child in touch with their emotions and permits them a safe place to explore how they feel about different things. As they move from childhood to adolescence, children often begin to question things like their appearance and their social standing among peers. This occurs alongside trying to reconcile various emotional and hormonal responses that can be difficult to express and work through.
At this time, it’s good for children to have existing creative outlets that they’re comfortable and familiar with. There will be times when they seek solace in their artwork, dance, or music as a means of dealing with their problems. It’s much better for them to have previously designated outlets than to try finding them in their teens. Well before adolescence, children need to have developed good coping skills and the ability to manage outside stress in a constructive way.
Personality also plays a big role in the ways children choose to express themselves when they’re growing up. Your child might be reserved, thoughtful, and introverted with a tendency to pick quiet, independent forms of creativity.
At the same time, you might know one of those children that seems born with natural confidence and excels in performing on stage or being the centre of attention. Either way, giving children the opportunity to explore many different creative outlets will help them discover their own personal preferences, natural talents, and sense of self.