My daughter is happiest on the stage. She has been dancing since before she could even walk. No, really. We have videos of her pulling up on furniture and bopping to the beat before she was even able to stand on her own.
When she was two, we enrolled her in her first dance class. When it came time to for her recital, I thought that my normally shy little girl would get stage fright and freeze up on stage in her adorable little pink and purple tutu. Instead, she perfectly tapped her way through her class dance while I beamed with pride from the side of the stage.
Now at four (and a half – she would be certain to correct me here) she has danced her way through four recitals and a performance at Starlight on the Spotlight Stage and has joined her studio’s competition team. Even on non-dance days she is dancing. If there is music she says, “I just have to dance.” Even if there isn’t music, she will sing so that has a reason to dance. When she isn’t dancing she is drawing, painting, or otherwise creating. She is an artist through and through.
As the mother of a creative child, I feel it is my job to nurture her creative spirit as much as possible. Here are some fun and easy ways we have found to inspire her creativity.
A few years ago we surprised our daughter with a rack of dress-up clothes. Lots of dresses, skirts, shoes, jewelry, feather boas, hats, and more. Everything she needs to play pretend and inspire countless hours of pretend play.
Now this is where I’m going to caution “know your child.” For us, we leave paints, scissors, glue sticks, markers, crayons, and the like all easily accessible for our daughter. She has an art table and an easel where she can craft and create. She knows that paper is where paints belong not walls and that scissors are for paper not hair. I realize not every child is able to navigate the difference, so use caution and your best judgement here. While it is creative to give little sister a mohawk or repaint the living room wall, it is not always ideal. Parental discretion (and supervision) is advised.
Now this is one, that while I encourage and we do allow, I must admit, it does drive me a bit crazy. Our daughter has a box full of bells, tambourines, shakers, and other very loud noise makers. She loves to sing and make music. I will be the first to admit that this box of noise is often restricted to “in your room only” as I am prone to migraines and well loud drums are not great for helping when mommy’s head is aching. We also gifted our girl with her own Amazon Echo Dot for her room this year. With Prime Music (set up with parental controls of course) she is free to play music and sing along to her heart’s content. Taylor Swift is her soul mate.
Our daughter takes dance and tumbling classes twice a week. If dance isn’t your kid’s thing, there are lots of other creative classes to explore: music, art, theatre. Find what sparks your child’s creative spirit and run with it. Maybe computers or STEM is more your kid’s thing. We are lucky here in Kansas City to have such a wide range of opportunities for children to explore their interests.
Open Ended Toys
Blocks, Legos, dolls, kitchen toys. There are so many toys that inspire creative play. My daughter loves to be a doctor, a chef, a ballerina, and an architect all in an afternoon. Screen time is fine. I’m a big fan of technology and I admit she gets tablet time and loves watching Disney Jr., but she also loves to play and make up stories for hours on end. Giving your kid toys that allow that them to stretch their imagination and explore their creativity is such a great thing.
Reading with your child, I believe, is one of the best ways to help nurture creativity within your child. Books are where imaginations soar. They allow you to travel to far off lands and explore places that you’ve never been. They encourage you to dream, to dance, and to create. Read with your child. It is so good for the soul.
Show an Interest
Ask questions about your child’s latest art project, song, dance, or play. Have a date night or day with your kid. We live in a great city for art! I know, many might not think of Kansas City when you think of great art towns, but hear me out. We have some phenomenal museums, the Nelson-Atkins, the Kemper. We have the Kansas City Ballet, the Repertory Theatre. First Fridays, Starlight Theatre and more. Seeing you enjoying something they are passionate about will encourage them to keep pursuing their dreams.
Lead by Example
Turn the music up and have a dance party in the kitchen. Get your hands dirty and paint a picture. Let your children see you being creative and doing something you love and they will want to join in the fun too.